How to Adjust your Sliding Patio door for Better Locking and Operation

How to Adjust your Sliding Patio door for Better Locking and Operation

Renew your sliding patio door by showing it a little care and attention.

The chances are that when you first met your sliding patio door, that you loved it.   It both let the light of the world shine on you and helped you see the world better.   It was probably smooth clean and well adjusted….

But… after years of taking it for granted… it may not charm you so much any more.    It may be a bit grubby, whine a bit and not be as easy to operate.     You might dislike it and think about replacing it.

But…  all might not be lost.  With a little extra  care and attention for about half an hour, you can probably significantly improve the performance of your door.

  1. Quick fix… vacuum the track.  Rub it agressively with a brush and rag and vacuum again.
  2. Test how hard you have to push the door open and closed using a bathroom scale or fish scale.   One that I just tested took 10 lb ( 4kg) of force.   That is too much.
  3. Check for square..  open the door slightly and see if the door panel’s frame is parallel to the outer frame.
  4. Check for whether your door lifts out or not.  Don’t actually remove it yet though.   With the door slightly open,  see if you can lift it up a bit and out off the roller at the bottom.   If it doesn’t that is most likely a good thing.   Now open the door almost fully.  leave just enough for your hands to grip the panel.   Lift and see if it will tilt out at the bottom.
  5. Adjust the rollers.    First make sure that you can get your screwdriver in to the adjusting screw.   If you can’t you will have to lift the door out and flip it on its side to inspect this.     A door that I just adjusted had to have the access hole opened up a little with a drill to enable the rollers to be adjusted.
  6. At the bottom of the edge of most aluminum sliding doors is a hole of about 3/8 of an inch / 6mm.    Insert a screwdriver (probably a phillips)  into either hole and turn the screw head  to adjust the height of roller at that end of the door.   Experiment to determine whether clockwise or counter clockwise  lowers the roller (raising the door) or the reverse.  Adjust the rollers to lift the door a little bit on each side to raise the door up a little at a time .   Keep checking to ensure that the door slides easily and is not binding at the top.   Also check to make the door edge parallel to the outer door frame that it closes to.    You want to adjust the rollers down and the door as far as you can without binding (less half a turn for variation over different humidity and seasons)  so that the door doesn’t lift out at all or as easily.
  7. If you adjusted the door height you will likely have to adjust the height of the catch or fitting in the jamb where the latch attaches.
  8. Vacuum the track.  Rub it aggressively with scrub brush, vacuum, rub it with a rag.   Vacuum. Vacuum.   Try the door again.   It should slide better.   The door I just adjusted now takes about 5lbs  / 2kgs of force which is a 50% reduction in effort to operate.  Now a  45 year old.. operates like a 20 year old!!