Interior sliding doors are a great feature in a home. With limited space, you can make a door disappear into the wall. Do you need to close the door? Just slide it back and you have privacy. It’s that slip-and-go characteristic that causes some special problems. In this article we will identify the problems you may encounter with a sliding door. Most problems can be repaired without too much difficulty. Can you fix a door that has come off the track? Do you need to replace the rollers? How do you get into the wall to solve a problem? Can you lubricate the rollers? These are all questions you may be asking. The following paragraphs will address them.
Most problems with sliding doors will be related to the roller suspension assembly. The rollers hold the door on the rail, provide adjustment for door alignment, and support the weight of the door. It is no mystery then that most repairs will involve doing something with this assembly.
Interior sliding door lubrication
For stiff, difficult-to-operate doors, lubrication is probably the answer. The door rollers are a moving part with bearings that can become rigid. Lubrication can loosen them up and save your back. A word of caution, this should be controlled lubrication. Don’t go out to the garage looking for a grease gun, you’ll be sorry. Remember that this is a finished part of your home and the grease or oil that runs down the door will not be pleasant.
Get a good quality silicone spray lubricant. You should be able to get a suitable one for this purpose at a home supply or hardware store for around $ 5. This type of spray usually comes with a narrow plastic tube that allows you to surgically apply the lubricant. It should say on the tin that it is suitable for interior home hardware applications.
For interior sliding doors, the wheeled suspension assemblies are located at the top of the door near each end. You will need to have the door closed to see them both. There is a narrow space between the top of the door and the track. Use a flashlight if necessary, but you should be able to see the rollers. Most sliding doors have four rollers for each hanger. With a cloth in hand, carefully spray the rollers with the lubricant. You will probably need to stand on both sides of the door to reach all the rollers. Move the door back and forth until the rollers move smoothly. Add a little more spray as needed, until you are satisfied with the operation.
Adjusting the interior sliding doors
Another major issue with interior sliding doors is alignment. Does the door touch the ground? Latch refusing to latch? Is there a gap along the side of the door when it is closed? Yes to any of these questions means you have some alignment issues. Adjusting the hooks on your sliding doors will solve most, if not all, of these problems.
You can see the hangers in the space between the top of the door and the rail. The hangers are threaded and will have an adjusting nut on the bottom near the door fixture. The hardware that came with the door probably had one of those special fine keys. Do you have any idea where that key is now? No, don’t feel bad, it’s probably in your builder’s warehouse. A thin-profile open-end or adjustable wrench should work.
You will need to have the door closed to see both hangers. Note that any adjustments to the hangers will affect all four sides of the door. If you adjust the front hanger up, the bottom of the door will move to the lock side of the frame. The two hangers will work against each other. An adjustment on the rear hanger will work in the opposite direction from that of the front hanger.
So are you confused at this point? Don’t feel bad, it’s common. You just need to have a mental picture of what you are trying to do. If the door is straight in the opening and you just need to lift it up? In this case, adjust both hangers by the same amount. Does the door hit the door frame at the bottom before the top? For this situation, you need to adjust the front of the door down or the rear of the door up. It only has a limited fit on each hanger. Sometimes you will need to adjust a little on one hanger and a little in the opposite direction on the other hanger.
Getting the interior sliding doors back on track
Obviously you need a way to remove an interior sliding door when necessary. As a result, a pull-out function is incorporated into the suspension assembly. The downside to this is that the sliding door can come loose and come off the hanger. Putting them back on isn’t too difficult.
Again we have to go to that narrow space between the top of the door and the track. The door will have a hanger clip that is attached to the top of the door. This clip has a preformed pocket that allows the door to slide over the threaded hanger. There should be a hold function next to it. Release the retainer and then lift the door and slide the clip onto the hanger. With the door in place, you can reset the retainer.
Wait a minute, is that the back hanger? Is it lost somewhere in that cave that you can’t get to? Take a breath, it’s not that terrible. However, it is a bit more work. You will need to remove the door completely to solve this problem. The door shouldn’t be that heavy, but help is a good idea. Release the front clip retainer. Slide the front of the door off the hanger and set it aside for a minute. Support it against the wall so you don’t tip it over.
The other hanger is somewhere inside that pocket that you thought was a great idea until now. Fortunately, the other hanger is on rollers and you can use something to slide it to a place you can get to. A broomstick or some other long, stiff, rather thin object will work. Try to find the end of the track with the broom handle and then slide it into the groove until you reach the roller. Keep moving forward until you can get to it.
To re-hang the door, first release the rear hanger retainer. Place the door on this hanger while employing the services of a helper. Slide the retainer back into place to secure it. Align the door with the opening in the wall and slide the door several inches into the pocket. Place the door on the second hanger and secure the retainer. The door should slide back and forth now.
Interior Sliding Door Repair Summary
This article covered three interior sliding door repair topics that should cover most of the problems you will face. Lubrication is an important factor, keep the rollers lubricated and your door should run smoothly. Door alignment can also cause problems. Adjusting the hangers is not difficult, it just requires a little patience. Finally we talk about a door that has fallen off the hanger. None of these repairs should be that difficult or require the services of a professional. Hopefully, you’ve saved yourself a few bucks.