Repair sliding or bifold doors
Sliding doors can slip suavely and stealthily if running well, but if not, they can buck like a rodeo bull. Occasional maintenance and a wary eye can keep you free of problems.
Because there is quite a weight in full-height sliding doors, the sliding systems are robust. They usually have a set of rollers running along a specially designed channel at the top of the door with stops on each end to control the way the doors cross each other. At the base of the doors there may be a guide screwed to the floor, which runs through a groove cut in the bottom of each door, or there could be more guided rollers.
To lift a sliding door out for repairs, first check to see which way the channel at the
top opens. Holding the door on each side, lift it and release it forwards or backwards depending on the channel opening. In some instances you might need to pull the bootm of the door towards you before you lift.
If the door isn't running freely check that all screws in the channel are well seated and not interrupting the flow of the rollers. The rollers should all be set at a common height on the door. Oil them with light oil if necessary. Check that they aren't worn or damaged. Buy replacement ones if they are.
Also check the rollers at the base of the door. Often they can become clogged with lint or webbing from carpet. Clear the webbing and you may need to trim a little from the carpet as well.
Small plywood or glass sliding doors
These doors are often only a piece of plywood or glass running along wooden,
plastic or metal grooves at the top and bottom. They can be lifted uout by holding the door at each side, lifting it until it'll lift no more, and pulling the base out towards you.
Check that the grooves top and bottom are firmly attached. lf they are, apply some soap or candlewax to the top and bottom of each door to help it run smoothly.
The jamming of a wooden door might be caused by a swelling of the plywood
timbers, in which case the door should be taken out and the bulges filed away with a wood file or sanded away with sandpaper.
ln some cases there are ball bearings under a sliding cover at the top and bottom, or small rollers at the top, and sometimes at the bottom. Check that no balls have found their way out and that the rollers are free-spinning and not worn. Lubricate the bearings or rollers if necessary.
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These can become a real headache if left uncared for because they have so many moving parts: hinges, rollers and handles. lt is well worth responding to their needs and oiling the moveable bits each year with a light oil. And at the very first sign of trouble, locate and remedy the problem before parts twist and problems multiply. Make sure the rollers at the top are round and set at a common height. Check that the channels are firmly attached and all screws well seated.
Keep the hinges moving and firmly attached. See the manufacturer of the doors
for replacement hinges or rollers if necessary. Also check the pins in the hinges. They should be firmly seated and evenly spaced top and bottom. lf they are out of alignment you can loosen some screws on the top hinge to change their placement. The top hinge is usually spring-loaded so you can lift the bottom pin
and adjust its position.