3 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Sliding Glass Door

Sliding glass doors offer many advantages to homeowners, from allowing you to keep an eye on your children playing in the back yard to letting in natural light, all the way to providing an extra-wide entryway for bringing in new furniture. If you have a door that's giving you some grief, you need to know if a quick fix will do the trick or a complete replacement is in order. Here are three situations when replacing your sliding door is warranted.

Excessive Condensation

Condensation on the glass is a common problem in many homes during the cold months, but it should always be addressed.

First of all, there's a difference between a few droplets of moisture in the corners of your windows and excess condensation. A little moisture here and there, especially if you cook on the stove a lot, is generally okay. But if you have a buildup of fog and water that either obstructs your view or drips down the length of the sliding glass door, it can cause problems leading to mold growth and higher utility bills.

The problem is narrowing down whether it's a problem with the door or with the humidity levels in your home, and it's pretty easy to test with a hygrometer. Shoot for a humidity level between 30-50%, aiming for 45%, within the home. If yours is within normal range, and you still see condensation on your sliding doors, that means that the glass is cool enough to attract the excess moisture in your home. In more specific terms, it means your sliding glass doors are not properly insulated and should be replaced.

Here's a handy trick to knowing if your windows and doors are well insulated: assuming the inside temp is 70 degrees and outdoors it is 0, it will only take 15% indoor humidity to cause condensation to form on your windows and glass doors. But a triple pane should prevent condensation until the indoor humidity levels reach 50%. So when going for a replacement, the latter will offer the best protection. 

Stuck Door

Many homeowners jump the gun and go for replacement doors when the doors get stuck. But there are a couple of tricks for diagnosing and fixing the problem before investing in new doors.

Sometimes dirt, hair, mud, and other debris can build up inside the lower track, making the door difficult to slide open or jamming it up altogether. Cleaning is fairly simple and should be done with the door both fully closed and open. Using a soft brush or a vacuum, clear away any debris along the track where the door slides. Once that's done, if you still have problems opening and closing the door, it's time to check the wheels or rollers.

After carefully removing the door, use a flat head screwdriver to pop out the wheels. If they're dirty or damaged, they'll need to be cleaned or replaced.

If you're still having issues opening and closing, it could be a sign there are deeper problems that can't be fixed, and a new door is in order.

Damaged Track

This is also a common issue, particularly with old or aluminum sliding doors, and it usually occurs when not using care while moving heavy furniture in and out. The wheels on a furniture dolly can also lead to dents in the track.

If the track itself is bent, you can attempt to straighten it out by gently tapping with a mallet. But often that can lead to even more damage. Another option is to hire a professional to replace the track, but you're not always guaranteed to find the right parts for your door.

In these situations, replacing the whole sliding glass door is the most cost-effective solution. Keep in mind that if your sliding glass door is older than 20 years, it's already exceeded its life expectancy, so a new investment might be in the cards after all. Contact a company like Cheaper Window Glass for more information about repairing or replacing your garage door.