How to Troubleshoot & Fix Sliding Door Hardware Issues

When it comes to installing sliding doors, doing something right means taking a little more time in the beginning so you don’t have to spend more time later on fixing mistakes. From push-force issues to sight lines to everything in between, troubleshooting sliding door issues is something every installer has had to do before.

If you’ve run into a snag during a sliding door installation, you’re not alone. Before you go any further, take a look at some of these common sliding door hardware problems and how to fix them so you can finish the job fast. 

Sliding Door Installation Troubleshooting

If you’ve just had a sliding door installed but it’s not working properly, then there are a few things you can check first.

Noisy Track

In some cases, an installer may leave metal or aluminum shavings behind in the track. If the wheels are nylon (for quiet operation) and yet you hear noise, then it’s likely that the nylon wheel absorbed these shavings. This leads to a slight ticking noise when you move your sliding door back and forth.

Check for Debris in the Track

It’s important to blow out the debris, particularly if you have an aluminum box track. Trash and debris can get in the tracks, causing bumpy operation or noises. If you don’t fix this issue, it can lead to further damage or the door simply being inoperable if the debris gets stuck in the wheels. 

Door Slides Open or Closed On Its Own

If your door tries to slide open or close on its own, then it’s likely your track isn’t level. If it’s off center or leaning slightly, it’s time to reinstall using a level so it won’t move on its own due to the track not being level.

Door is Swinging or Unstable

Is the sliding door’s hardware installed correctly? Do you have a wall-mounted or floor-mounted guide to keep the sliding door stable?

Each sliding door typically gets two wheels, two stops, and a guide. This guide is important because it ensures that the door is in line with the upper track and hardware. Guides are typically 1.75” long surface mounts to a finished floor.

Pemko offers a variety of guides, so it’s best to refer to the manufacturer's instructions for your particular guide. Not sure what to do? Contact the Pemko team for quick answers.

Sliding Door Push-Force Problems

If your sliding door is too hard to push open or close, then you could have push-force problems. These stem from all kinds of issues. 

First things first, have you checked you’re matching the wheel assembly to your hardware and door weight? Some doors become difficult to push when installers try to merge two or more wheel assemblies due to accommodate a higher door size and thickness.

Instead, verify the wheel assembly will match the exact door size and weight beforehand. This eliminates many push-force issues.

These are some of the common issues we’ve noticed with sliding door push-force issues: 

Check Door Assembly and Weight Distribution

Hangers (also known as the wheels) must be mounted correctly for weight distribution, so make sure to center the assembly according to the door’s thickness. 

Note: All Pemko installation kits come with the appropriate hanger assembly to match your door’s weight. Check product specifications to find the right assembly. 

For example, let’s say the hangers screw into a bracket that is installed on the door top edge.

Follow this process to get perfect weight distribution: 

  • Check that the bracket is centered in the door thickness 
  • Only two hangers are typically installed per door if the hangers are adjustable vertically.
  • Keep it simple. It’s easier to adjust two hangers than three or more.

Door Caught Against Guide

If the door’s bottom is rubbing against the guide, it can cause more friction, which creates another push force problem. Before completing the installation, check that the guide is installed properly and make adjustments if you find rubbing between the door and guide.

Level and Plumb

The assembly and track must be level and plumb. If you don’t have a plumb track, more weight will slide to one side of the hanger assembly.  So make sure that your track is perfectly vertical and that weight is equally distributed among the hanger wheels. 

Clearance Issues

You should have enough space between the door and wall for the sliding door to move properly. It shouldn’t scrub or brush against the wall in any way during operation. 

Proper Door Blocking

Along with weight distribution, your door should be supported by sufficient blocking. Your door may hang off-balance or drag on the floor if blocking is not in place. 

  • We recommend consulting a structural engineer to find out what type of blocking should be installed. 

Hardware and Door Weight Rating

When choosing hardware, you want to pick the sliding door hardware that is rated for your door’s weight. Anything too heavy, and your hardware won’t be able to support it, which causes door dragging problems and push-force issues.

Check Manufacturer’s Instructions

Sliding door hardware and installation can be tricky if you have a special entryway or heavy door. It’s best to check the hardware and ensure that you’ll have proper blocking in place to handle the hardware and weight of the door. 

When in doubt, you can always check in with the manufacturer or check the hardware’s instructions. Door weight rating and other considerations should be listed in the specifications. For example, all of Pemko’s sliding door hardware comes with clear specifications for door weight and size, as well as installation instructions. 

Do You Need Help With Your Sliding Door Hardware Issues?

Let us know how we can help. The ASSA ABLOY team can offer advanced help for Pemko sliding door products

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