How to Rehabilitate Your Sliding Patio Door's Track to Restore Speed and Smoothness to Its Functioning

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How to Rehabilitate Your Sliding Patio Door's Track to Restore Speed and Smoothness to Its Functioning

11 February 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


Sliding patio doors work beautifully when new, but over time, they will often gradually lose their ability to slide smoothly and evenly. It is not unusual to attribute this loss of smooth functioning to worn-out or damaged rollers; however, while those are the causes in some cases, it is just as likely to be the door track that is causing trouble. Bent, warped, corroded, or worn-down tracks prevent rollers from moving smoothly, and they can cause doors to stick or jam during operation. Replacing the entire track can be expensive and entail a lot of work in some situations. The good news is that you probably will not need to replace your sliding door's track; instead, you can install a track cover to get your door functioning as good as new. Here is how you can install a track cover:

What you will need

  • Replacement track cover section

  • Mineral spirits

  • Cloth scraps or rag

  • Fine-tip magic marker

  • Tape measure

  • Hacksaw or multipurpose cutting tool

  • File

  • Foam sanding block with 100-grit surface

  • Small piece of scrap wood

  • Claw hammer

  • 5-minute epoxy

Step-by-step procedure

1. Determine what type of track cover to purchase. Before beginning, you will need to determine the length and type of track cover needed for your sliding glass door. To calculate the length of the track cover needed, simply measure the existing door track's length.

As for the type of track cover needed, you will need to take a close look at the size and shape of the existing track. If the track is relatively short in height and has a rounded top, then you will need to purchase a ¼-inch rounded cover. For sliding doors with tracks that are taller than about one-half inch above the baseplate and no discernible rounded part, you will need to attach an inverted "vee" shaped figure above the track.

When buying a track cover, keep in mind the best track covers are installed in one piece. Sectional track covers don't possess the long-term durability of single-piece covers and also are much more likely to be dented or damaged at the joints between sections.

2. Measure and cut the track cover to fit. After measuring the track's length and making a decision about which type is needed, purchase the appropriate type of track cover from an online retailer or a suitable hardware store. Next, measure and mark off the length needed on the track cover with a fine-tip marker. Hold the track cover firmly in one hand against a well-supported structure, then cut it to length using a hacksaw or cutting tool.

3. Prepare the existing track for covering. To ensure the best fit possible, and to help epoxy to adhere to the track, you will need to clean the current track thoroughly using mineral spirits soaked into a rag or scrap cloth. Moisten the rag with mineral spirits and vigorously rub the metal to remove any oil, grease, dirt or other matter that has accumulated on the track.

After cleaning with mineral spirits, use a small file to remove uneven areas of the track. File off any areas that are sharp or that might interfere with a track cover being added. Lastly, use 100-grit sanding blocks to provide a smooth, finished surface.

4. Attach the track cover to the track. Once you have cleaned the track, the next step is to install whichever track cover is needed for your door. 

Attaching the track cover to tall tracks is straightforward: Begin by mixing a small amount of 5-minute epoxy and apply it evenly to the inside of the track cover. Next, push the track cover down on top of the existing track structure and hold it in place until the epoxy sets. Keep the track cover level and even across its run.

If your door's track is short in size and contains a rounded edge, then installing the track cover is fairly simple. Align the track cover on top of the existing track, then place a small piece of scrap wood on top of the track cover. Lightly tap the wooden block with a claw hammer, and the track cover should slide down over the track and "lock" into position. Move slowly along the track cover while tapping to avoid damaging the cover or underlying track.

If you need assistance or more advice for this process, contact a representative from a company like Fas Windows and Doors.