What if the difference between a confrontation with an intruder and a safe, restful night of sleep was something as simple as cleaning debris from your sliding door? Or if the difference between losing your dog in traffic and getting out of the door in time to catch her was simply reinstalling your sliding doors properly? 

If your sliding  door is left without maintenance, it is liable to  get caught on a faulty track or built up debris  without you even realizing it. That could mean someone mistakenly leaving it open  just enough to catch a burglar’s attention, or getting it stuck closed to prevent you from getting out in time for any event you wouldn’t want to miss—whether that’s catching an escaped pet or witnessing a shooting star. 

It’s easy to overlook the little things as we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our busy worker bee lives. That’s why we want to make sure you keep your home safe by letting you in on some basic precautionary steps you can take immediately.

How Your Sliding Doors Could Get Damaged 

The truth is, it doesn’t take much for your sliding doors to get stuck or damaged. One of the primary causes leading to damage is simply prolonged use. The longer and more often you use them, the more wear and tear they accumulate. It’s also a common problem for dust and dirt particles to get caught inside the track, making it difficult to open or close the door. This really takes a toll on the rollers and has a high probability of leading to a need for professional repair. 

The important thing is that you address any minor issue as soon as you can, because the longer you leave a problem with your doors unresolved, the more likely it is to graduate to a much more serious situation. Using the doors while there is damage can also exacerbate the problem, so it’s best to keep use to a minimum until you can tend to them.

Installation & Inspection

Thankfully, while it doesn’t take much to run into a problem with your sliding doors, it also doesn’t take much to maintain them to avoid any problems altogether. One of the first things you should do that can help prevent any cause for concern is perform regular inspections

If you notice the door struggling to operate properly or any misalignment on the track, you know you’ll need to act. Should you run into this kind of situation and repair it quickly, the problem might still persist. In this particular instance, it is likely the result of having been installed incorrectly to begin with, so  you may want to try the installation process again. Make sure when you are inspecting your doors to use them gently so you don’t cause any unnecessary harm to the tracks or glass.

Regular Cleaning

For most people, a regular cleaning will do the trick to keep doors in good condition. Depending on where you live and how often you use them, you may need to clean them more or less frequently. If you live near the ocean, for example, the salt and humidity can lead to damages on your doors’ exterior,  so best practice would be to clean them once a week. For most people, aim for once a month at least. 

To clean the doors, just wipe the frame inside and out which will help  protect them against weather damage. Be sure to avoid any harsh chemicals as they can harm the finish on your frame. Just start with a regular dusting followed by warm water and a little soap.

A lot of wear can come from bits of fallen food, dirt and mud brought in from shoes, or even just pet hair landing on the track. There’s also rust, grime, and debris that gets blown in from the outdoors. You’ll want to clean your track and rollers monthly for proper maintenance. 

First vacuum out any of the junk that’s lodged in the track, then use a screwdriver, wire brush, hanger, butter knife, or whatever you have handy that will  fit inside the divots to scrape out anything the vacuum didn’t pick up. Be sure to pay special attention to the wheels as anything that gets caught inside might be easy to miss. Afterwards, use the warm water and soap solution from earlier to clean off the leftover dirt and an old toothbrush will make for a good finisher.

Lubricate the Tracks 

Finally, make sure door opens and closes smoothly by lubricating the tracks. You’ll prevent running into a sticky situation where your doors are tough to open or close fully and you can sleep sound at night knowing those sliding doors are keeping you safe. Lubrication will allow the wheels to  run easily across the track, but make sure you focus on the bottom wheels as they will require more attention than the top since most of the weight is resting on them.

If you have it handy, a silicone lubricant is your best bet. Just apply using a clean cloth or rag. Since not everyone has access to silicone lubricant, a  mix of baking soda and white vinegar will be just as effective. You can put it in a squirt bottle to make it easier to use. Be careful not to use too much or the floor around it might cause someone to slip. It’s important to wipe away any extra lubricant that leaks away from the tracks and keep use toa minimum. Once you’ve applied the lubricant, it’s time to use the door—open and close it a few times to get that lubricant in every crack and crevice so you can be certain it’s going to slide with ease.

You may also want to lubricate the door locks and handles from time to time. A light spray of WD40 should suffice. Keep in mind, the lubrication process should come after cleaning and never before or it will do more harm than good. If you have aluminum tracks, lubrication is not necessary and can create other issues that are much more severe, so we would avoid using it at all costs. Aluminum tracks don’t rust, so a light cleaning is plenty.

Additional Maintenance

If you’ve gone through the above process and your door still isn’t cooperating with you, you’ll need to hire a professional. When replacing your sliding doors, it’s worthwhile to have your locks checked as well. 

Not only can Pop-A-Lock rekey and replace your locks, we’ll even do a security audit to make sure your home is safe– from your locks to sliding doors to the lighting outside your home. Afterall, your safety is our number one priority! For all your locksmithing needs, your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help.