Sliding Glass Door Roller

happsOctober 12, 2012

I have a forty year old 48"Wx80"L sliding glass door that's difficult to slide back and forth and "catches"/makes a scraping sound in a certain spot halfway across the track. The top of the track is bent slightly downward in the middle due to 40 years of house settling. I'm shocked at the high cost of roller replacement (parts plus labor close to $300 for a 1.5hr job). Is this something a "handyman" with a suction cup can do? I would hate to pay $300 only to find out that the door doesn't slide any better because the upper track is slightly bowed in the middle. How does one know if it's a roller, track or setting issue causing a door to slide poorly?

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is it possible to add some powdered graphite or garage door spay lubricant to see if that helps?
Maybe you have already, but you didn't mention it

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:17AM
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usually the doors just lift up and swing out of the bottom track to remove them. Take a look at the rollers and see what shape they're in. Is there a manufacturer's name on the door? check online and see if repalcement parts are available and what they cost.

It should be visibly obvious if the frame is racked or otherwise distorted from settlement.

Just curious, how do you know it's a $300/ 1.5 hour job if you don't know what the problem is?

If you got a quote over the phone with only the information you provided here, the estimate likely includes time to determine the make of your door and look for a suitable replacement part. It might only take 1/2 hour to replace the rollers but could take a day plus to try to locate the correct part.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:15AM
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I cleaned the track and sprayed it with silicon spray to no effect. Two people came over and told me it would be $300 and take about 1.5 hours to remove the door and put new rollers on. They said it's difficult to remove the door because there isn't much space to lift it up and they would have to "shave" off some of the track. They have the correct parts on their truck.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:03AM
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That seems high. An experienced and resourceful handyman should certainly be able to do it, but that depends on availability of replacement parts.

I suspect the door needs to be removed and the lower rollers need to be replaced and/or adjusted (height-wise).

As for that bow in the top, my first thought is to put a block of wood on it and hammer it flat. But that means little without seeing what's going on.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:12AM
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If the top track is bowed it is most like because the header sagged and no block of wood and a hammer will fix that. If this is what is contributing to the issue in addition to the rollers being shot the header sag should be addressed as well. As far as "shaving the track" not a good idea in my estimation. Look for someone else, try calling a local glass shop as they should have availability to the parts. As far as the top track being "bowed" the exterior wall itself may have settled causing the issue, of course this is an assumption on my part butt should still be investigated.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 12:13PM
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$300. seems high? Hmmm. What would you charge? For all that needs to happen that seems fair to me. Try it yourself and you'd probably agree.
The settling is a problem because there may be shims above the head jamb making the head jamb sag with the settling house. Consider removing the trim, jacking the head jamb to true and level and installing screws to keep in there.
THEN, work on the track and roller system [because now you can actually remove the panels and get to the rollers]. Some mfg's actually make a replacement track cap that can be snapped on to make a new track. Install new rollers and slide away.
Now after all that, is $300. still too much?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:32PM
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It depends on the work that is actually required, doesn't it? If you can determine that from the info thus far, you've got a great skill.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:53PM
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high yes..
does the top track have rollers.most don't..its just guided side to rollers..

why shave the track? if you can remove the door to change the rollers shaving isn't needed the door has all the clearance needed..

have you tried to adjust the existing rollers? things do wear..near the bottom of the door you should find screws using to adjust the rollers on the bottom..
does the bottom drag? raise the rollers.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:20PM
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Back in days of yor, I crowned the top track of sliders 1/4," However, both Ador-Hilite and International used to install rollers both top and bottom and the rollers were adjusted to prevent easy removal, for security reasons.
You can verify wether or not there are top rollers by inserting a #2 pencil.

Shaving the top track slightly should not take more than 15min. or so (they may take longer to find their grinder).

Find a competant handyman. this is two hrs. max. including chasing psrts.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:36PM
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