The downside of a sliding glass door mechanism is that if they ever hit a technical fault, finding a way to fix them can be an intimidating, difficult task. If the rollers pick up debris or the door comes off its tracks, it can be challenging to figure out the problem without removing the door altogether.
Removing a sliding glass door can be daunting, but there’s no need to worry because today, we’ll take you through this procedure step-by-step. We’ll cover all the tools you need to remove a sliding door. And add some essential need-to-know pointers to ensure you get this job right from start to finish and maintain the functionality of your sliding glass door.
Tools and Materials
Flathead screwdriver/Putty Knife
The flat edge of either of these tools will help you tuck the sliding door rollers out of the way as you remove sliding glass doors from a door frame.
Phillips Head Screwdriver
Use this to remove the inside head stop or any angle brackets, and it can also help when removing the glass from the patio door.
Blankets or foam sheets
Use these to prepare your work area and ensure you keep mess to a minimum.
You’ll only need to use one of these if the caulk holding your stationary door in place is tricky to cut through.
This can help loosen the caulk that secures your stationary panel.
If the screws of your sliding glass door are stuck too tight, you may need a power drill to remove them.
Pry bar/claw hammer
You’ll need either of these tools if you require assistance lifting the glass door from its tracks or removing the entire frame.
How to remove a sliding patio door from its track
There could be several reasons why your sliding glass doors have stopped working; unfortunately, you can only tell precisely why once you remove the door.
If your sliding glass door isn’t locking, visit our guide on how to fix a sliding patio door lock.
The good news is that once the door is removed, you’ll quickly understand the source of the problem.
Step 1: Prepare your workspace.
Lay your blankets or foam sheets around your door to avoid losing any pieces or making a mess.
Remember, your sliding glass door might look like a manageable size when it’s stood up, but it will require plenty of space once you remove them and lay it down.
Step 2: Adjust the adjustment screws
Sliding glass doors have two adjustment screws that control the height of the rollers on either the side or the bottom of the door. These screws are usually hidden behind a fixed panel; use your flathead screwdriver to unscrew and remove it.
Once you’ve got access to the screws, turn them in a counter-clockwise direction. This will lower the glass sliding door onto the rollers, giving you more room when you lift the door off its tracks.
Keep any fasteners or screws you remove safe, so they are easily found when it’s time to reattach your door.
Step 3: Remove the head stop
If your sliding glass door has a head stop covering the inside edge of the frame, you’ll need to get your screwdriver handy to remove it.
Be careful here as your sliding doors will not have anything hold them in place and may fall out. Keep a grip on it and keep it steady to ensure it’s stable.
Step 4: Remove the sliding panel
Depending on your door size, you may need a helper for this step. In any case, sliding doors are large and unwieldy, so it’s wise to have someone stand by.
As you tilt the door out of the frame, gently lift it simultaneously. The sliding glass door should lift free easily if you’ve adjusted the screws to raise the rollers. They might look light but be ready for them to be a little heavier than you expect.
Once you’ve safely removed the door, lay it flat on your prepared space.
Step 3: Inspect the rollers
If you’re lucky, the problem will be a debris build-up or blockage along the bottom track. At this point, you can inspect the rollers and see if they need to be cleaned or lubricated.
We have a guide on how to clean sliding patio doors here if you’d like to find out more.
Step 4: Remove the screen door
Some patio doors will have a screen door outside the sliding glass door. If yours does, now is the time to lift it out of place or use the screwdriver to loosen the screws holding it.
Step 4: Remove the stationary door
Patio doors usually have a solid stationary door that the sliding door glides in front of. If you’re planning on removing the whole frame, you won’t be able to do this until the sliding door is free.
Stationary doors are held in place with screws that attach to the door frame and an L-bracket on the corner. Unscrew both of these.
The stationary door will be held with caulk at the door jamb, so you’ll need to cut that away carefully. Once you’ve removed the caulk, have your partner hold the door in place as you use your pry bar or utility knife in an upward motion to loosen the panel.
Ensure your partner is handy to help you lower the panel onto your prepared space.
How to remove a sliding patio door frame
If your plan is a complete refit, all the previous stages are necessary to get you to this point. You’ll need your pry bar or the claw of a hammer a lot during this job.
Pry the panels around the door upwards to expose the nail shafts, and use your reciprocating saw to cut through the exposed shims and fasteners along the sides and the top of the frame.
The bottom might be caulked into place, so you may have to use caulk remover again. Use your pry bar to entirely remove the frame while keeping your partner close by to keep it steady as you remove it.
Things to remember
As with any DIY task, preparation can save you, so it’s vital to ensure you’re ready before beginning and to maintain your sliding glass door to avoid having to perform this tricky task.
Our website has a range of tips on aluminium doors to ensure you can keep yours rolling smoothly.
Use a handheld vacuum or toothbrush to remove debris from the tracks before the build-up becomes an issue. Vacuuming the tracks every time you vacuum the room is a good passive way to maintain good upkeep.
Use a silicone-based lubricant as these minimize friction to ensure easy rolling and don’t gather a lot of dirt.
Avoid forcing the door.
Caulk, fasteners and shims do a great job of keeping a door in place, so they can make removing a sliding glass door or frame tricky. Relying on strength might seem viable, but you’re at risk of damaging the tracks, glass pane or ruining the structure.
Make sure to use a reciprocating saw to deal with these obstacles safely, and remember, if the frame isn’t coming free with relative ease, there will be something holding it that you’ve missed.
For everything, you need to know about maintaining the sliding glass doors in your home, visit our homepage to learn more.