Thursday, April 10, 2014


There is something you should know before you call a painter to spruce up your sliding patio door.

If the operating door is not removed prior to painting, it will be difficult for the painter not to get paint on the weather-seal and this will adversely affect the ability of your door to keep out the cold.  And, after the paint hardens onto the weather-seal, you will likely notice a scrapping sound as the door is moved open and closed.  First removing the door will actually save the painter a little time as well.

Have a handyman or contractor remove the door for the painter, place atop some sawhorses and then return to replace the door when the paint dries.  This will cost you a few extra bucks, but the job will be done right and have a professional appearance.

Without the door being removed, it will be impossible for the painter to reach the seven-foot by three-inch vertical area (from top to bottom) on the operating door and the stationary panel where they interlock.

You may not notice the unpainted strip when you go in and out, but your guests will notice it.  It is apparent from inside and out when the door is opened at least three inches.  Additionally, there are other areas on the door that cannot be reached to paint, but they are not usually seen when the door is in place.  However, having the ability to access these other areas can help reduce the deterioration of un-clad wooden doors.

If this was never done years ago, take the opportunity to paint these sections and replace the damaged weather-seal the next time the door is removed for service.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Some sliding patio door systems have experienced the problem of rain water seeping behind the exterior cladding at the bottom of the glass.  To prevent such problems, we recommend running a bead of clear silicone caulk along the horizontal seam where the bottom of the glass meets the cladding.

If the water has saturated the wood beneath for some time, the wood will swell and the cladding will bulge out.  This can cause the operating door to scrape the cladding at this point.

To remedy this situation, it is recommended that the edge of the door be trimmed with an angle grinder (enough to clear the bulge) at the level where the scraping occurs.

But, after providing enough clearance to eliminate the scraping, you will find that you now have a slight air gap when the door is closed and interlocked with the bulging panel.

What we need to do is close the air gap with something flexible that will smoothly cross the bulge as the door opens and closes.

We recommend cutting a short piece from a length of door sweep that is designed with stiff nylon bristles.  Close the door completely and screw the "short sweep" to the edge with the bristles fully touching the stationary panel

This "bulging" situation has been observed more frequently on some models of Pella doors.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


The majority of sliding screen doors have rollers (wheels) that ride upon a raised track rail and the door itself is merely held onto the track rail with gravity.  Occasionally, there may be some spring-loaded rollers or devices at the top of the screen door to provide additional downward pressure.

If the screen keeps popping off the track, it usually needs new rollers.  However, there is another common situation which causes the screen to pop off... even when the rollers are new.

The stationary panel of the glass patio door is designed to be securely attached to the jamb and be parallel to the screen track.  The glass stationary door is usually held in position by brackets at the edge of the door.

If the bottom bracket is missing, broken or loose, the stationary door, over the years, can creep outward enough to encroach upon the path of the sliding screen.  Then, every time the screen moves past this point, it hits the bottom of the glass stationary door and pops off.

Solution:  Push the stationary door back into position so it will not interfere with the screen door and properly secure it with a bracket.


The immovable stationary panel(s) of a wood-core sliding patio door system should be secured to the jamb, however, over the years, if not secured properly, it can work its' way out of the jamb revealing an air gap.

These panels are usually kept in place by angle brackets at the top and bottom of the panel edge where it meets the movable sliding door.

Often, these angle brackets are missing, broken or bent.  Small galvanized angle brackets found at the hardware store may not be a sufficient replacement to secure the panel.  We recommend using brackets supplied by a sliding door manufacturer.  They do not necessarily need to be from the specific manufacturer of your door.

Some vinyl systems have nylon brackets where the panel meets the jamb at the top and bottom on the room side of the system.  These often break and, if they are from a "Republic" door, they are no longer available and must be retrofitted with a stronger alternative.

Once the panel has been re-set in the jamb, install the brackets to prevent a recurrence.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


In the typical home, the sliding patio door track sits atop a wooden support over a concrete foundation.
It is important that rain water not seep under the track and degrade this wooden support.  Such constant dampness will cause the wood to deteriorate and soften.  Then, the weight of the door will cause the track to sink.


The track often sinks unevenly, causing the weather-seal to become misaligned and reduce the ability to keep out the weather.  Also, doors that are no longer plumb can be difficult to move.
With the doors removed, leveling the track will remedy the situation for at least another decade.
Once the sinking track has been leveled with composite shims, caulk or repair any cracks or openings that would allow water to again flow under the track.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


In the mid-1970's safety glass became the required standard for all sliding glass doors, however older annealed plate glass still remains in some homes today and can be deadly.

Friday, February 28, 2014


Cloudy Glass?

There are a few small businesses, which have the ability to remove the moisture from between the thermal panes of glass in windows for less than $150 each.

Using a special tool, they drill a small hole in the glass at two opposite corners, pump in some chemicals, rinse with a drying agent and plug the holes.  They claim the moisture will not reappear for at least 20 years.

It is important that the business have enough liability insurance to cover the cost of glass replacement should a crack or chip in the glass occur during the procedure.

Please note that this service removes only the moisture and will not remove any milky streaks.

Also, this procedure cannot be performed on tempered safety glass, which includes all sliding thermal pane glass patio doors.