How to Remove Sliding Patio Doors

Lead Image
  • 4-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Phillips head screwdriver
Utility knife
Pry bar
Reciprocating saw with bi-metal blade

Sliding patio doors not only serve as an outdoor exit but also let the sunshine and natural light into your home. Sliding doors come in a wide variety of styles, so if it comes time to update your decor, you might want to update the doors as well. Removing a sliding patio door is only moderately challenging, but by using the tools and steps below, you can remove one with little difficulty.

Step 1 - Unscrew the Interior Casing or Trim

Since sliding doors are generally heavy, with a considerable width of six to eight feet, you might need to ask for help from a friend when lifting it out. In order to make your task easier, you can disassemble the door before you try to remove it.

First, do away with the interior casing or trim (found around the inner side of the door) with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Do this cautiously, so as to not damage it in the process. If there is dirt stuck in the casing, you have to remove it before you can insert the screwdriver. Also, if you have any decorative trim at the top of your door’s frame (called a head-stop) remove that as well before you proceed any further. Having done so, locate the roller adjustment screws in the sliding panel and raise them by rotating them in an counter-clockwise direction.

Step 2 - Lift the Sliding Door Panel Out

Sliding patio doors have two separate units, namely the sliding door panel and the stationary panel. In order to remove the sliding one effectively, lift it upwards into the upper track and ask a helper to push the bottom gently and carefully toward you. Keep lowering the panel until it is completely out of the upper track and free.

Step 3 - Remove the Stationary Panel

Once the sliding panel has been removed, the stationary unit can be taken out by cutting away the seam (metal piece) connecting it to the door’s side jamb with a utility knife. Continue by removing all the screws, brackets, and trim pieces (both internal and external) holding the stationary panel intact. Then, fit a flat pry bar between the base of the panel and the lower track to pry it out. Ask your helper to lift up the panel while you apply pressure on the base. It should come off from the opening without much difficulty.

Step 4 - Pry off the Exterior Trim

After the panel has been removed, use a pry bar to lift the trim enough to make the nail shafts detectable. They are pretty difficult to locate, as they are usually found underneath the door trail or behind the strike coat. However, once they are visible, you can pry them out using the pry bar or a hammer. After that, you may easily remove the trim surrounding the door.

Step 5 - Cut Away the Jamb

Using a reciprocating saw with a bi-metal blade, cut away any nails, caulk, or paint holding the door jamb to the frame. The jamb should come out after only a little sawing and prying if the frame is rotten, or if your old door is damaged somehow.

Step 6 - Remove the Door

Pry up the sill of the door frame using the pry bar and hammer forcefully. Apply sufficient pressure and lift the frame out. Be sure to remove any old nails or shims in the frame before fitting your new door, and discard your old door and framing responsibly.