Sliding doors are one of the cornerstone features of our homes. Whether between our hallway and living rooms or kitchens and patio areas, they allow maximum airflow and sunlight to reach any room – at all times.
But at some stage, these fantastic doors will need to be removed for deep cleaning or repair. And many homeowners don’t realize how they can take the doors off to carry out this work.
This article will show just how easy, practical and cheap it can be to remove sliding glass doors. Whether you’re repairing, cleaning, or installing brand-new doors, our instructions show that no skills are required, and there is no need to call for an expensive builder!
Step-by-step on how to remove sliding glass doors
- Phillips screwdriver
- Foam sheets or blankets to protect surfaces
- Putty knife
- Pry bar
- Reciprocating saw (for doorframe removal only)
- Spare trimming
1. Prepare your workspace
The first thing you need to do before removing these doors is, you need to prepare your workspace appropriately. Many homeowners fail to anticipate the weight of sliding doors – they are heavy. As such, before you take them off, place foam sheets around the surrounding floor to protect surfaces from scrapes, dents, and breakage.
Especially if your sliding doors connect to the outside of your home, you should plan your task early in the day. This allows you maximum time to complete the task before nighttime.
Finally, ensure you have the help and services of at least one other person. You will need help carrying, lifting, dropping, and positioning the glass door back into place.
2. Remove the screen door
Some sliding doors will have a screen door, which you must remove to access the internal mechanisms. This should be a relatively easy task to complete and will see you loosen all the fasteners and brackets connecting this door to the doorframe. Gently place the screen to one side.
3. Examine and remove screws
Although sliding doors come in various styles, sizes, and designs, most will have sliding and stationary panels that align the door to the tracks. These must be dealt with before you can remove the door itself.
Locate all the adjustment screws of the sliding door on the sides and bottom. You may need to remove the door rollers or protective casings to expose the screws. Once you remove all of these screws, you will lower the door from its original position in the doorframe, allowing for additional space between the door and the doorframe. Ensure you can adequately support the glass door as it is released.
4. Removing the head stop and sliding door
Never force the sliding door out of its position. As a large pane of glass, it is incredibly susceptible to breakage. If you feel resistance, inspect the sides of the door for any undiscovered screws or brackets holding the door in place.
Some doors have a head stop, which covers the inside edge of the frame. Use your screwdriver to take it away. With every screw removed, be prepared for a sudden jerk or movement of the door, as it may become unsecured at any stage.
Gently tilt the door inwards toward you, with your assistant beginning to lift the bottom of the pane, helping ease it over the bottom track of the frame. Slowly place the glass pane on the foam sheets you’ve placed nearby. Now is the best time to clean the doorframe and its surrounding areas.
5. Removing the stationary door
Suppose your sole mission was to remove the sliding panel. Then hooray, you’re done! But some jobs may require removing the stationary panel or door, especially when cleaning, as they can hide a huge buildup of dirt and dust not normally seen.
Stationary doors are often held in place by additional screws on their own unique track, separate from the sliding door. You may only see these screws when the sliding door is removed.
Loosen the tracking and cut away any surrounding caulk on the door’s lower parts that keep it locked with a utility knife. Insert your pry bar underneath the door, separating it from the tracks.
Again, gently tilt the door forward towards you, making sure not to force it unnecessarily. Ensure your assistant is nearby and can hold the door in place. Gently place the door down on the foam nearby.
6. Removing the doorframe
This step is only needed when a total doorframe replacement is required. Once the sliding and stationary doors have been removed, use your pry bar to expose the nail shafts under the doorframe’s trimming.
Starting with the top side of the door frame, use a reciprocating saw to cut through nails attaching the doorframe to the wall. Examine the sides and bottom of the frame for nails. If these are glued, use your pry bar to release the frame.
Gently pry off any trimmings around the doorframe with a blade– if it is in good condition, you can reuse it when installing your new frame. As most sliding doors are plastic, be careful of sharp edges that can easily cause physical damage to you and your assistant.
Why might you need to remove sliding doors regularly?
There are two main reasons for removing a sliding door:
The first revolves around cleaning. Made of giant glass panels, these doors acquire dirt, grime, and scratches much more quickly than other doors. Many homeowners will have to remove a sliding door to deep clean the glass and sheen it.
Secondly, sliding doors can shift off their rollers and tracks over time, especially if doors are used daily. Adjustments are required to reset them back into position and ensure they close properly.
How much does removing a sliding door cost?
A sliding door replacement can range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the size, material, and time required. Some builders may also charge a call-out fee to examine the door beforehand. For this reason, completing this task at home can save you a lot of money.
- Sometimes, a toothbrush, hoover, or brush can reach dirty areas of the sliding doors, meaning you don’t have to remove them entirely.
- Because of their sheer weight, you must have a helper to remove your sliding doors and help shoulder their weight.
- During installation, align it from the top track to the bottom. This ensures it aligns correctly and will open and close within the doorframe.
- Avoid pushing or forcing the door out of its position. A large, single pane of glass can be incredibly vulnerable to pressure damage.
- Try to remove the top screws and fixtures of the sliding doors first and gradually work your way down. This ensures the sliding doors do not suffer any sudden drop or impact damage.
- Always be alert – one screw could hold the entire sliding door. Have your assistant ready to keep the panel in place.
- When removing the glass doors, tilt them gently towards you, with your helper lifting from the bottom.
- Don’t leave anything to waste – trimming or rollers that you cut off to access the sliding door can be reused; if in good condition.
- Regularly vacuuming the door tracks and inside the doorframes can reduce the likelihood of dirt and grime developing.
- Prepare your workspace accordingly. Sliding glass doors can potentially scratch, mark, and dent surfaces they come in contact with.
- If removing a sliding glass doorframe, be careful of edges – most frames are made of plastics like aluminum and can become very sharp when cut.
- If replacing the sliding door, remember to consider the total length and width of the doorframe – not just the visible areas.
Glass patio doors are a wonderful thing to have in your home. They help maximize light and airflow, take up little to no space, and have become incredibly stylish in recent years.
But at some point, you will need to clean, repair, or even realign them back into position. And this requires you to remove them from their doorframe and reinstall them back into place.
As our article shows, this task is easy to achieve once you follow a tried-and-tested method and have the help of a friend. And as we’ve learned, you stand to make massive savings from builder costs by doing this job yourself!
Please comment below if you still have questions or are looking for advice on removing your sliding glass door.
- Depending on the job, you might only need to remove the sliding part of the door.
- Ensure you have the help of a friend and prepare your surrounding workspace accordingly.
- Removing the glass door? Remember to gently tilt the door toward you, with your friend carrying the bottom.
Wednesday 23rd of November 2022
This is a great tutorial! I'm going to try it out!
Otto & Sohn USA Inc
Monday 16th of August 2021
Nice blog! Thanks for the tips on removing a sliding glass door. We are the sliding glass door retailer if you need any glass door you can contact us: Otto & Sohn USA Inc
Bryan Lee Miller
Friday 12th of February 2021
Can not get stationary door to move after removing the two bracket holding the edge top and bottom
Monday 9th of November 2020
Thanks for the tips on removing a sliding glass door. I appreciate that you mentioned that it's smart to measure for your new door after you've removed your old one. My sliding glass door has been cracked for a while now, and I am finally trying to get around to replacing it. I think to make sure that everything is measured and installed correctly, it would be best to hire a professional to do it for me.