Slide, Baby, Slide

Our “sliding” glass doors in the living room, leading out to the back patio and pool, require the strength of ten men to move. Or one The Girl, bracing myself against the door frame, and using the weight of my body to drag the door open. Sometimes, when trying to close the door, my hand slips and I accidentally punch the wall and/or door frame. This makes me very unhappy, as you might imagine. Yet after over a year of living here, with the doors getting gradually worse, we have done nothing about it (unless complaining counts!). Well, nothing is an understatement. I have looked at stuff on the internet a LOT. If I got credit for all of the sliding glass door removal/cleaning/replacement/roller greasing tutorials I have read, pinned, or emailed myself, those doors would glide open operated only by my mind.

Since the weather was cool enough today that I could leave the door open without “air conditioning the neighborhood,” I decided to tackle it. A lot of what I read suggested taking the doors off, putting them on saw horses, checking for broken rollers and cleaning them. My aversion to anything coordinated makes me hesitant to handle large quantities of glass. Well that and The Boy said no (much more colorfully). So I resorted to a tutorial I read over on Home Repair Tutor, which involves cleaning and lubricating the doors as a first resort. Jeff has a lot of helpful tutorials for relatively fast and cheap fixes to common household needs. His post on sliding glass doors had me at “leave them on their tracks.”

I used a stiff bristle brush, the shop vac (a/k/a Snuffaluffagus), and some lubricant I bought at Home Depot, which says “sliding doors” right on the container. I assembled my tools and got down to business.


I used the brush to loosen up dirt in the tracks, and then Snuffaluffagus to get it all out. There was a massive amount of dirt and dog hair in these tracks! Ew.

After about 30 minutes of work, I did not notice a huge difference in how well the door slid. We played with the lowering and raising of the rollers, and lowering them definitely made the door much harder to slide, but raising did not seem to help. Not surprisingly, having the door actually sitting on the TRACK was helpful. Huh, who’d have thought? Once I was sure I had removed as much dirt as I could, I squirted the lubricant all over the tracks, moving the door back and forth to get it on the rollers too. This did help, and the door moves a lot easier than it did. Unfortunately, though, I think the rollers are just so gummed up with crud that we are eventually going to have to take them down and clean everything. For now, though, it is a vast improvement, so I am happy.

Sliiiide to the right. Now sliiiide to the left. Criss cross!! (I HATE that song but cannot get it out of my head now. Dang it!)

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