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Take the Rattle Out of Your Sliding Glass Door's Roll

By Brett Freeman
Take the Rattle Out of Your Sliding Glass Door's Roll

Sliding glass doors have an inherent weakness--the tracks on which they run are constantly being stepped on and stepped over. This means the door's rollers are constantly having to go over things like dirt, grit, and pet hair. Over time, the sliding action can become more of a rattle than a roll. Sometimes this is the result of damage to the tracks, but more often it is because all that dirt and debris has clogged the roller mechanisms. Before any serious damage results, take your sliding door down so you can thoroughly clean and lubricate the track and rollers.

Removing the Door
Taking a sliding glass door down is a two-person job, because the door itself is heavy. While you work, have your helper gently push the door toward the center of the frame to ensure it doesn't start to fall before you are ready. To begin, turn the roller adjustment screws all the way counterclockwise. These screws are located toward the bottom of the door frame. They may be on the side (the part facing inside or outside), covered by a plastic plug or located at the ends of the door's inner edge. Doing this retracts the rollers, lowering the door.

On some models, this allows you to tilt the door inward and lift it off of its frame. On others you need to remove the head stop, which is a strip of wood, plastic, or vinyl screwed to the frame adjacent to the top of the door that holds it in place. Remove any screws holding the head stop in place and then remove the door. Once you've removed the door, place it on a work bench or a pair of sawhorses.

Clean, Lube the Rollers
You should be able to gently pry the roller assemblies out of the door frame using a flathead screwdriver. Once out, clean the rollers with alcohol and a clean cloth, being sure to remove any visible dirt or grit. The rollers should spin easily when you are done. Also clean the pockets in the door, where the roller assemblies sit, with alcohol. An old toothbrush can help get all of the grit out of these areas. Finally, spray the roller assemblies with a silicone lubricant and push them back into place in the door. Make sure the adjustment screws are aligned with the screw holes on the roller assemblies, and manually retract the rollers as much as possible.

Clean, Wax the Track
Vacuum any debris out of the track, then clean thoroughly with alcohol. You can use silicone spray to lube the track, but if you go this route, re-spray at least once a month. A better solution is to rub the track with paraffin wax.

Reinstall the Door
Place your sliding glass door back on the track and push it upright. Have your helper hold it in place while you reinstall the head stop (if you have one). Next, turn the roller adjustment screws clockwise, bringing the rollers down so they bear the weight of the door. Continue adjusting the screws as necessary so that the door slides smoothly and the door lines up properly with the door latch.

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