How to Replace the Rollers on your Patio Door
by Paul Pallas of Swisco, Inc.
Opening your patio sliding glass door should be an easy task. If your sliding door is giving you a work out every time you open it, most likely it is your rollers that are causing the problem.
The rollers are located on the bottom of the sliding door and give the door the ability to slide. Often times they get dirty and wear out, making it difficult to open the door. If you have an older sliding glass door your rollers may have become rusty because sliding door units did not always use stainless steel rollers.
Hiring a professional to replace your rollers could cost you around $100 not including the cost of the replacement parts. Below are detailed steps containing all the information you will need to know to replace your patio sliding glass door rollers yourself.
1) Your patio glass door will have two separate glass units.
One unit is the door that you slide and the other unit is stationary. First, stand outside your house and look at your sliding glass door. If the stationary door unit is between you and the sliding unit you will most likely have to remove the stationary unit so that you can get to the glass sliding unit.
Before you go through the trouble of removing the stationary door unit, first try to go inside your house and see if you can remove the sliding door unit. Usually you cannot because there is a lip along the bottom of the patio glass door frame (it keeps moisture out of the house) that prevents the sliding glass door from being removed from the inside.
If the rollers on the bottom of the door are difficult to get over the lip, you can adjust them to help you create more room (go down to step 2). If it is not the rollers but the sliding unit's frame preventing you from pulling the sliding unit out of the door frame, you are going to need to remove the stationary door unit first before you can remove the sliding unit.
To remove the stationary door unit, you first need to take out your screen door (if you have one). Lift one end of the screen door frame and use a screwdriver to lift the roller on the bottom of the screen door frame off of the track. Do this to both ends of the screen door and your screen door will pull out of the door frame.
The stationary door unit is held in place by a metal piece that runs along the bottom of the track from the corner of the stationary door unit to the bottom of the side jamb (there is a chance this piece is missing but if you do have one remove it from the track). After you have removed the metal piece, look for screws holding the stationary unit frame in place. After removing all of the screws try pulling the stationary door unit out of the door frame. If you are having trouble pulling out the stationary door unit, try placing a screwdriver between the stationary door unit's bottom frame and the track it is resting on. Lift up on the screwdriver while you have a helper pull out the stationary door unit from the door frame. Be careful not to use too much force with the screwdriver so that you do not damage the door track.
2) You may need to create more room when you attempt to remove the sliding unit from the door frame.
To create more room you can adjust the rollers on the bottom of the sliding unit. By turning the adjusting screws on the rollers clockwise the wheels move up into the sliding unit's frame giving you more room. The adjusting screws are located either at the bottom of the sliding unit's frame or in the sides of the frame. There is a chance that there are plugs covering the screws.
After you adjust both rollers (one on each side of the sliding unit's frame) try to remove the sliding unit from the door frame. If the unit is still getting stuck you may need to get someone to help you. Have your helper lift one side of the unit and pull outwards while you try to pry the other side of the unit over the track.
3) To remove the rollers from most sliding unit's you need to remove the bottom of the sliding unit's frame.
Most likely the screw that holds the roller in place is the same screw that holds the frame together. Remove the screw from both sides of the unit. Then try to remove the bottom piece of the frame off of the sliding unit; you may need to use a rubber mallet or a piece of wood and tap on the bottom of the frame until it comes off of the sliding unit.
Now that you have removed the bottom of the frame you can take a close look at your patio glass door rollers. Remove one of the rollers and match it up with one of the rollers on this page:
You can try your local hardware store, of course, but be sure to bookmark this page! Swisco has a huge selection of patio door rollers online that your hardware store can't match, including those for discontinued door models!
It is a good idea to replace both sliding door rollers at the same time to prevent extra wear-and-tear to one new roller, which will have to work twice as hard when paired with an old roller.
4) After your new rollers come in, replace your old rollers with the new ones.
To make it easier to install the sliding unit back into the door frame, adjust the rollers to be all the way up into the frame. Once you have the sliding unit back in the door frame you can adjust the rollers for optimal performance. Keep adjusting the rollers until the door is sliding back and forth easily.