Sliding patio doors can be a beautiful addition to your home, but they can also be an annoyance when they don't close and open properly or easily. Often, the patio door track is the culprit. Constant wear, use, and foot traffic can leave your door track dented or damaged. There are several options to consider when repairing or replacing your patio door track, before resorting to the costly venture of buying and installing new doors.
Step 1 – Assess the Damage
Before deciding how to proceed, it is necessary to determine whether repair or replacement is the best option. If your patio door track is bent out of shape, the repair is usually possible. If your patio door track is physically broken so that the metal is ripped or worn away, it is time to consider a universal replacement kit.
Step 2 – Prepare the Door
Completely open your sliding patio door. Take the flat head screwdriver and insert it into the track channel, using it to loosen any dirt or debris that may be present. The corners and the area where the track borders the door jamb will require the most attention. Use the vacuum to remove all of that loosened dirt and debris—if you have a crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner, it will come in handy for this task. Make sure that all of the screws in the track channel are tightly secured to the floor. If there are any screws that will not tighten or seem to be stripped, replace them. If the replacements will not tighten, try using slightly larger screws. Loose screws can prevent the door from opening and closing properly. If you're lucky, this step may even resolve your door track problem.
Step 3 – Straightening the Track
If your door track is dented, measure a portion of the track that remains intact. Use your measuring tape to determine the width of the channel inside of the track. Take your scrap wood and saw, and cut the scrap wood to that measurement. Insert it into the undamaged portion of the track to be sure that it is the correct size, then gently slide the wood towards the damaged area until it won't go any further. Once it reaches this point, use a hammer to gently tap the wood, opening up the dented area so that the door can slide properly.
Step 4 – Replace the Track
If the repair doesn't work, there is still the option of replacing the track itself. Most major hardware stores sell universal replacement tracks that can be laid over the existing track for less than $100. It's an easy installation process. Simply mount the new track over the worn or damaged one, and secure it according to the package instructions. These kits will work with almost any door and will have your sliding patio door working again in no time.