How do I Repair a Sliding Glass Door?

Malcolm Tatum

In many homes, sliding glass doors allow for easy access to a patio or veranda. Unlike traditional doors that swing open, a patio door of this type utilizes a system of tracks and rollers to move easily from a closed to an open position. Over time, it may become necessary to make repairs to the door itself or the mechanism that allows the door to move with ease. If the time to repair a sliding glass door around your home has arrived, here are a few tips.

It's a good idea to get assistance when disengaging a broken sliding glass door.
It's a good idea to get assistance when disengaging a broken sliding glass door.

Before you begin to repair a sliding glass door, it is a good idea to secure the help of a friend or another family member. Glass doors can be heavy as well as bulky. Since most problems with these types of doors have to do with the ability to open and close them properly, you will need to disengage the door from the frame. Two people will be able to handle the heavy door with greater ease.

Suction cup lifters make it possible to safely lift panes of replacement glass.
Suction cup lifters make it possible to safely lift panes of replacement glass.

One of the first things to do is inspect the structure of your door. Depending on the configuration, you may find that it is possible to lift the sliding door out of the track. To accomplish this, stand on the inside of the door structure. Firmly grip each end of the door and lift upward. This should lift the door panel off and out of the bottom track. Swing the panel bottom slightly toward the inside of the room. This should disengage the rollers along the top track and make it possible to detach the sliding door completely.

Keep in mind that other glass door configurations may require that you remove a side rail from each track in order to lift the patio door out. Normally, these detachable rails are also found on the inside, along the top and bottom. Use a screwdriver to remove the rails and set them aside.

Your door repair may focus on two specific areas: the rollers or the tracks. In order to determine if the rollers are the problem, place the detached sliding door on a pair of sawhorses. This will allow you to inspect the rollers found along the top and the bottom of the door easily. Should you find that the rollers are damaged or warped in any way, use a screwdriver to free the damaged rollers from the framing of the door.

Make sure to take the detached roller to the hardware or home store along. This will allow you to make a precise match. Taking this simple precaution will save time and allow you to repair a sliding glass door with less trouble. Upon returning home, attach the new rollers to the door framing.

Inspect the tracks before placing the door back into position. Normally, they will require nothing more than a good cleaning. Use a vacuum to remove any loose dirt or grit, then wash the rails with mild detergent and warm water to remove any remaining residue. Once the tracks are clean and clear of any dirt of debris, you can reinstall the door.

Glass repair is another common issue with sliding glass doors. If the crack is relatively small, it may be possible to use a resin based repair kit to seal the crack and prevent it from growing larger. For larger cracks, you will need to replace the glass pane in order to repair a sliding glass door.

Remove the door from the tracks and unscrew the side panels on the door frame. This will allow you to lift the broken glass from the body of the door. Make sure to take exact measurements, as you will want to new glass panel to fit snugly in the body. Keep in mind you may have to order the new panel in advance. However, there are some home stores that are able to cut panels to specifications with no more notice than an hour or so.

The time needed to repair a sliding glass door will vary, depending on the nature of the problem. If you are able to secure replacement parts easily, there is a good chance that the job can be completed in two to three hours at most. However, if you have to order parts, keep in mind that you may need to re-hang the door until the parts arrive.

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Discussion Comments


Sliding doors are easy to use and you can manage them in a small space.


One of the great things about sliding glass doors is that you get a great view of the outside, unfortunately, these doors rely on a seal to keep the outside, well, out.

If you are finding that your glass doors are getting foggy, developing condensation, or have a strange milky film, it is time to get new doors, or replace the glass. In this case, the former may be cheaper.

Most glass doors have to panes with a moisture seal in between. This can break down over time, and unfortunately there is no quick fix. This insulated glass is important to keeping your house safe from the elements so it's best to take care of the problem right away.


If your sliding glass door is making a strange grinding sound, that is progressively getting louder, I would check the rollers. These small metal wheels are under a lot of pressure and wear down over time. Once they start to grind it time to replace them.

Luckily, this is a fairly easy fix and not expensive to do on your own. All it takes to remove them once you have the door safely down and flat is a screwdriver.

Do this before you go to the hardware store. It is best to take the old rollers with you so it is easier to match them. Also, they are cheap, and you'll need to buy a couple.

Also pick up some WD40, as you will need to oil the track to get your doors sliding nicely again.

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