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You know those home repairs that you meant to do the last time they bothered you, but then you completely ignored it because you feel like you don’t have time, and you’re still dealing with the problem? Yeah, that was basically what was happening with my sliding glass door.
Every time I’d let Charlie out into the yard, the door would stick. Every day. I could easily blame the previous owner for letting it rust, but over the years it became gummed up with dirt, sludge, dog hair, and even the occasional spider web. And rather than scrub it out, I made the assumption that the door was simply always going to be a pain or would require replacement — and I wanted to put that expensive thought in the back of my mind for as long as possible. So, I did what any reasonable homeowner who doesn’t want to deal with the problem rightthisminute would do: I yanked harder on the door to get it to open, let Charlie out, then yanked really hard on the door again when it came time to let her back in. Usually, this would result in one of two things: either the door would cooperate and slide smoother on the next pull (yay! but rare), or the door would stick a little bit more (or come off the track), and would be even more difficult to deal with the next time around. This went on for way too long. Because I’m apparently a glutton for this sort of crap.
I know that I should have dealt with it sooner. In fact, I should have been doing this “repair” all along as regular maintenance (so, I guess, learn from my mistake?). But, this is also one of those things that simply can’t be ignored forever — the door will just keep sticking until it won’t budge. Had I known it would have taken me all of five minutes (if that), I probably would have done this ages ago!
As it just so happens, the makers behind WD-40 reached out to me recently and asked if we could work together on a couple of projects as a sponsor, and I knew right away that I could use their products (I mean, is there a DIYer out there who hasn’t used WD-40 at least once?). In the box they sent, they included this:
Dissolves gum and sludge? Prevents rust? Waterproof? Yes, please.
How to Fix a Sliding Glass Door
What you need:
- inexpensive scrub brush (I picked mine up from IKEA for a dollar or two)
- shop vac (I have a compact one that’s great for small pickups like this)
- 3-in-ONE pneumatic tool oil
Normally, this oil is used for lubricating tools (like a pneumatic nail gun), but just like it says on the label, it’s meant for resisting rust and preventing corrosion and gumming up, which are the same properties that make it a win for this project (FYI, they also have a “multi-purpose” oil too, but this still did the trick!).
First, all you need to do is simply give the sliding door track a good scrubbing. Be sure to brush down both sides of the track as well as help scrub out the dirt that exists in the middle (move the door along the track to expose the front, scrub, move the door back to the closed position, scrub, and so on).
Do this as many times as needed to get the dirt loose along the whole track.
As you scrub, use a shop vac to vacuum up the loose dirt (or in my case, spider webs, pine straw, dog hair, and dirt). This will help you see if you really got it all… or if you just think you did.
The door should already be functioning far better by this point, but if you really want it to last, you’ll need a little lubricant.
Finally, add the 3-in-1 oil along the track. Move the door back and forth like you did in step 1 to help the door glide over the oiled areas; this will actually help to move around the lubricant into the harder-to-reach middle area where the door is constantly sliding and experiencing the friction that makes it stick.
This little fix took all of five minutes, but it made a night and day difference to my everyday routine to let Charlie in and out of the house (which she wants to do all the time). If only combating her nonstop shedding (or tracking in more dirt) were this easy!
Don’t forget, since this project takes so little time, you can also take a few minutes to oil up all of your tools while you’re at it. This is another thing I do too infrequently, but since I plan to use my pneumatic nail gun all summer long with upcoming projects, I know that I need to make more of an effort for proper tool care. Oiling your tools (and chainsaw blades, too) help to extend the overall life of the tool, so it’s never a bad idea to keep a bottle like this on hand. Plus, a little goes a long way, so as long as you don’t misplace it in your messy garage (ahem), you can use the same bottle for hundreds of projects.
Not bad for a quick fix, eh?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by 3-in-ONE Oil, but all opinions are 100% my own!