Thursday, November 13, 2014


Caulking, when exposed to the weather for a number of years, can dry out and chip away.  If you don’t re-caulk the outside edge of your sliding patio door track where it meets the cement, rain water will seep in and rot the wood below.

As the wood softens, the track sinks about 3/4″, just enough for the door to clear the track above. Then, when you open the 200 lb door, it falls on you! We have seen this more than once.

If your patio door track feels a little squishy when you step on it, you might consider a little maintenance before it becomes an issue.


Friday, July 18, 2014


Many problems with sliding patio door screens not moving well and popping off the track can be attributed to broken or rusty rollers (wheels)... However, there is a common situation that causes the screen to become repeatedly dislodged... and, there's nothing wrong with the screen.

The screen moves along a small track parallel to the stationary panel of your patio door.  Over the years, this stationary panel can shift slightly outward at the bottom and encroach upon the screen track, interfering with the path of the screen.  When the screen gets to this point, it pops off.

The solution is to move the encroaching bottom corner of the stationary panel back into position and attach a bracket to prevent a reoccurrence.

This may not be as easy as it appears.  Often a utility bar and/or a rubber mallet is needed.


When your sliding patio door was new, it moved left and right along a level track.  But, now it sinks in the middle and on one end.
The track is so low at one point that there is now an air gap at the top of the door.  And, every time the door moves across a low point it scrapes.
This type of situation is not uncommon and could have been prevented with $4 worth of caulk.  Now, it will take hundreds of dollars to fix.
The sinking of the track is typically due to the deterioration of the underlying wood foundation support.  You have "wood rot".
Although the edge of the patio door track on the outside may be atop a cement ledge, the majority of the long track is supported below by wood.


If this wood is soaked with water every time it rains, it will soon deteriorate and become so soft that it will no longer be able to support the weight of the door as it rides along the track.
To keep rain water from reaching this supporting wood, a bead of caulk is run from one end of the track to the other along where the edge of the track meets the cement.
Since shifting over the years and harsh weather can cause the caulk to crack and lose it's seal, it needs periodically to be removed and replaced.  While your at it, caulk the joint where the track meets the vertical jamb at both ends.  Sometimes, settling can create gaps that will allow the permeation of rain water.
A sinking track can be level once again in a matter of hours.

The track can be unscrewed and separated at both ends to expose the rotting wood.  Then, the wood and track replaced.  This typically requires a skilled individual.
If the sinking has not yet become severe, composite shims can be used as the track is merely pried up a each depressed location.  Then the caulking must be addressed.

(Also read the posts about Pella Wood Rot and Weep Holes.)

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Our experience has shown that the elderly have more difficulty opening the sliding door to their patio or balcony than any other door they would encounter shopping downtown.

That's because all the downtown businesses conform to the A.D.A. requirements that specify no more than five pounds of pressure is required to open or close any door.

We make sliding patio doors compliant with A.D.A. (actually exceeding their requirements) in your own home.  We carry a special tool that measures the force required.  

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 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.