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How to make a patio door slide easier

sliding patio door

Sliding patio doors are beloved for their elegant aesthetic and uncompromising ability to maximise the appearance of a space. 

Sliding glass doors welcome sunlight and expansive views of a home’s garden all with simple, stress-free maintenance duties. Unlike hinge doors, sliding doors have a lot less nuts and bolts to worry about. But even so, the occasional disruption might occur. 

So keep reading for Framemaster’s industry insights on how to keep your patio doors sliding slick and smooth.

Why is my sliding patio door hard to open?

When you’re having trouble with your sliding glass door, it’s most likely due to a disturbance in the dynamic between the roller wheels and the track. These parts facilitate the sliding motion, but dirt and damage can interfere. 

The roller wheels are typically located along the bottom outside corners of the door, but larger patio doors sometimes have them along the top and bottom. 

What you’ll need

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Bristle brush
  • Silicone-based lubricant
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Hoover
  • Prying equipment (this could be a flat-headed screwdriver or butter knife)


For the roller wheels to operate effortlessly, the tracks must be free of dirt and debris. Targeting the tracks with a hoover will be able to pick up all the loose dirt and it’s especially easy if you do this regularly. For stubborn examples of grime, it’s more effective to firmly scrub at the tracks using a sturdy bristle brush. 

Make sure you alternate which parts of the track are exposed by occasionally opening and closing the sliding door. This guarantees you’ll be able to spot any areas that need more attention. 

If you’re confronted with some particularly tough grime, applying a silicone-based cleaning solution will help you along as you scrub. 

Once you’re happy, wipe dry any leftover cleaning product and go over the surrounding area with the hoover. Now that you’re immaculate tracks are unblemished, your sliding patio door should breezily open and close without any resistance. 


If friction continues after cleaning, you might have misaligned or even damaged tracks to contend with. Over time, tracks can become bent or dislodged, which ultimately block or throw the roller wheels off track.  

You’ll usually be able to tell if you have a track in need of repair just via a quick inspection. Any minor bending can be fixed fairly simply with some pliers, a hammer, and a block of wood, which you can use to manipulate your track back into the correct position. 

However, if there’s evidence of major morphing, snapping, or missing tracks all together, it will likely necessitate professional help. Our friendly team at Framemaster are veterans in repairing and installing sliding doors, with our own range of window and door accessories able to meet any need and style. 


For an extra smooth finish, some homeowners take to anointing their sliding doors with a silicone-based lubricant. It’s vital to stick with a silicone solution since these blends don’t become joined and sticky in the vein of petroleum-based lubricants. Otherwise, you might find that the oil simply gathers more dirt, grime, and debris to begin with. 

Tend to the roller wheels

As with the tracks, tear and wear over the years can throw a sliding door’s roller wheels out of place. The majority of sliding doors contain adjustment screws hidden behind small plastic caps. A simple prying tool can be used to expose these. Then you can take a screwdriver to rotate the screws anti-clockwise, ultimately lowering the roller wheels back into place. Use this method again to ensure the wheels are even on both sides of the door for a nice orderly finish. 

If you notice excessive damage to the roller wheels that can’t be fixed via the adjustment screws, then you might need to remove the entire door in order to investigate further. As you may know, glass sliding doors are simultaneously heavy and delicate, so don’t hesitate to consult a professional for a little extra help. After purchasing new rollers, fit them into the correct position. After this, you’re free to reinstall the door. 

If problems persist after attempting each of these maintenance methods, it’s likely that your door is suffering from structural issues, such as a sagging wall. If this is the case, speaking to an expert is a must. 

sliding patio door

Patio doors with Framemaster

Framemaster is a specialist team of suppliers and installers based in Solihull, Birmingham. From luxury orangeries to matching windows and doors, we are experts in all areas of home renovation. To see for yourself, visit our impressive fully operational showroom located on the Robin Hood Island, Hall Green, or contact us directly today. We’re happy to help get you on route to achieving your dream family home. 


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