6 Ways To Troubleshoot A Sticking Glass Shower Door

Posted on: 15 September 2014

Whether you choose a glass shower door that slides along a track or pivots on a hinge, sticking can set in after only a few years of use. Sticking shower doors are the bane of the busy homeowner trying to get to work on time. If you're tired of struggling with a sticky door, complete some basic troubleshooting steps on your own before calling for professional repairs.

Clean the Tracks

Grab a stiff-bristled brush or a toothbrush and some warm water with a little dish soap mixed in. Scrub the top and bottom tracks of the sliding door frame to remove any soap scum, mildew, and other grime. Rinse the tracks thoroughly and see if you're getting a smoother gliding action.

Watch out for corrosion and rust in the tracks. While most shower door frames are built from metal that resist the effects of moisture, damage to the metal can give rust a chance to form. You can buff out corrosion interfering with the use of the door, but it's a common sign you need a new track instead.

Replace the Rollers

Sliding glass shower doors feature small plastic or nylon wheels known as rollers. When these wheels get worn down or chipped, the door won't slide smoothly until you replace them. The process involves:

  • Unscrewing the track guides and setting them aside.
  • Lifting the glass door carefully out of the track.
  • Unscrewing the individual rollers and attaching the replacements.
  • Setting the door back in the tracks and reattaching the guides.

Reset the Tracks

Both the upper and lower tracks holding the sliding door in place can end up bent or otherwise damaged. New rollers and thorough cleaning won't help when the track itself is too bent to let the door slide evenly. Replacing the tracks requires you to remove the old tracks first by unscrewing them and cutting them free from the caulk, sealing them in place.

Lubricate the Setup

Sometimes the rollers need a little extra help gliding down the tracks. If you know the tracks are clean and your rollers still work, try a light coating of a water-displacing lubricant. If replacing parts and lubricating them does nothing to fix the problem, you likely need help from a professional to decide if you need a brand new door.

Clean the tracks and rollers before lubricating them. Applying a thick coating of oil only makes sticking worse when dirt and corrosion is blocking up the pathway.

Tighten the Hinges

Swinging glass shower doors and frameless models can get hard to open because of uneven hinges. Prop the door open with some blocks of wood and tighten the hinges with a screw driver. You may need to loosen the bottom screws and tighten the top hinge, or vice versa.

The hinges can also gather build up like soap scum and hard water deposits. Try spraying in some mineral deposit remover or metal degreaser to restore the swing of the door. You may need to take the door off of its hinges to clean out stubborn sticky spots.

Adjusting the Catch

Are you tugging too hard to open up a frameless shower door? The magnetic catch that holds the door shut to prevent leaks likely needs adjustment. Unscrew and re-align both parts of the catch so they are a little further apart. This makes it easier to open the door with one light tug.

In some cases, no amount of cleaning and replacing the rollers is enough to fix the problem. Find a bathroom repair expert before you start your home repair attempts. Doors that keep jumping off the tracks or freezing in place likely need replacement.