Sliding glass doors are a beautiful and functional addition to any home. People love them for the admittance of abundant natural light and the increase in fresh air, and in summer they invite increased traffic in and out of the house. The increase in light creates a sense of greater indoor space and yet protects from unwanted sound. However, with all of their pleasures, sliding glass doors can present their own particular challenges for home maintenance and cleaning. If you live with sliding glass doors, here are 5 things to watch for.
1. Difficulty Opening Or Closing Sliding Glass Doors
Sliding glass doors should move smoothly in the track. A homeowner should be able to open the door with one hand. If a door is sticky, the most common cause is dirt in the track. Vacuum the track of your sliding glass doors whenever you clean the room, to keep the track clean and the action smooth. Once a year or more, lubricate the tracks with a silicone spray to prevent future problems and keep the door gliding on the track.
2. Blown Glass
If there is fog or condensation trapped between the panes in sliding glass doors, it means the seal is broken. There are some consumer-level DIY solutions to repairing the seal, but many of them don’t work as well as having a professional replace the seal. Check the warranty on your sliding glass doors and see if you are still entitled to repair, and call a professional for a consultation.
3. Leaking In Adverse Weather Conditions
If your sliding glass doors are leaking and allowing rainwater inside, check the track. There should be holes that drain out excess water, but they may have gotten clogged with debris. Cleaning the track and unclogging the holes may solve the problem. If the track is clean but your sliding glass doors are still leaking, check the caulk seal around the frame. A small leak might be a DIY repair while a larger leak may require a professional.
4. Lock Alignment
A misaligned lock may mean that the lock mechanism is bearing part of the weight of the door, increasing strain and inviting the lock to break in time. Sliding glass doors have height adjustment screws that are necessary for maintenance and repair. The location of these screws differs in different models of doors, but they control the height and the reveal of the door, and may need periodic adjustment. If the lock on your sliding glass doors is no longer engaging properly, or is more difficult than it used to be, check the height adjustment on your doors, using a screwdriver to re-align the lock.
5. Wobbling In The Track
If the sliding glass doors are wobbling and sticking in the track, it may be time to repair or replace the rollers. Use the height adjustment to lift the door free of the track, and then remove the door so you can inspect the rollers. If the rollers are damaged, remove the rollers and take them to a home improvement store when shopping for a replacement, so you get the right match. It’s important to purchase replacement rollers from the original manufacturer of your door. Replacing rollers on sliding glass doors isn’t difficult, but does require two people to lift and handle the door.
Ultimately, keeping your sliding glass doors and tracks clean and occasionally lubricated will go a long way toward extending the life of the door. The average sliding glass door lasts about 20 years with proper care and maintenance, although, depending on use, the rollers may need to be replaced every decade. Sliding glass doors are a lovely way to invite more light and air into your home, and need only a little regular maintenance to continue adding value to your summers. Keep an eye on these 5 things, and enjoy your doors for years to come.