Keep sliding doors right on track

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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I recently started using a wrist-based pedometer. I figured it would be a good way to motivate myself to take some extra steps whenever I could. I have been taking extra-long walks with my dog Lilo, and haven’t batted an eye to taking two to three trips to unload the groceries from my car. Every step counts, and every step puts me that much closer to beating my friends and family in our daily challenges.

However, I still can’t help but get frustrated when extra steps are forced. For example, I must take the long way around our house to get to our storage shed outside. We have a sliding door that opens right up to the shed, but it is so fussy that it takes longer to use it than it does to walk around.

It is time to take action. To get a stubborn sliding door of your own “unstuck,” follow these steps:

First, remove the door from the track. If you have a screen door, take that off along with anything else that might be in the way, such as window treatments. Then, enlist a friend or family member to help you. Loosen the screws on the bottom rails, lift from the bottom and push up then pull toward yourself. The wheels on the bottom should come up before you start pulling. Place the door carefully down in a safe spot.

Then, assess the situation. Look at the wheels on the bottom of the door. If they’re broken, you’ll need to replace them. If not, you can move on to cleaning. Use a wire brush to loosen any debris or dirt from the wheels. Follow that up with a vacuum. Then, clean them with warm, soapy water. While you are at it, clean the whole bottom of the door and the track you just lifted it from.

The track often becomes a magnet for debris, so there is a good chance some of that debris could be causing the door to stick. Remove the debris with the wire brush and vacuum before cleaning with soapy water. Then, allow everything to dry.

Apply nonstick silicone lubricant to the wheels. Spin the wheels as you go to ensure thorough coverage. Apply the same lubricant to the tracks in the door opening.

Next, with the help of a friend or family member, place the door back on the track. Tighten any screws you may have loosened earlier. Slide the door back and forth to spread out the lubricant. Repeat this process at least once a year to keep things sliding smoothly.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.