How to Fix Sliding Closet Doors

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What You'll Need
Vacuum with crevice attachment
Mild cleaner
Paint scraper (optional)
Cut-to-size scrap wood
Hardware kit
Replacement wheels
Tool for filing down your door type

Although sliding closet doors make getting into your closet easy, their daily use makes them vulnerable to malfunctions and needed repairs. Whether your door skips off the track, sticks, or won’t close properly, this guide will help you solve your issue.

Step 1 – Clean the Track

A dirty, obstructed, or damaged track can make a sliding closet door jump off its track. To fix this issue, first, try vacuuming up debris and grime from the track with a crevice attachment. Then, wipe it with a damp rag. If grime remains, try wiping it up with a mild cleaner and a cloth.

Checking for Stray Paint Drips

In addition to regular debris, if a room was painted just before the door started to jump the track, you should inspect the track for stray paint drips. Carefully scrape them up with a paint scraper.

Step 2 – Tighten Screws

In floor-mounted tracks, loose screws can obstruct a sliding door. To fix or prevent this, tighten the screws with a screwdriver.

Step 3 – Fix Dented Track Sections

Floor-mounted sliding door tracks are particularly prone to bending. To pound a minor dent straight, first cut a piece of scrap wood to fit snugly into the track, extending beyond the damaged section. Then, use the wood as a guide and cushion to hammer the track straight. If you notice that your overhead track has minor damage, you can usually bend it into place with pliers.

Fixing Severe Damage

To fix severe damage, you must replace the door hardware. You can find this hardware sold as a kit with the rollers, track, and guides in one package. Or, decide what pieces you need and buy your hardware separately.

Step 4 ­– Tighten the Overhead Track

Forcing a sticking door can further damage tracks if forced. To fix and prevent this issue, tighten the overhead track and its screws with a screwdriver.

Step 5 – Replace Worn Wheels

Additionally, a sliding closet door may stick if the rollers have worn or developed a flat spot from use. High-quality door hardware will last about 20 years. Replace worn roller wheels, paying attention to the offset from the mounting bracket to the wheel center. Common offsets available are 1/8, 1/4, 7/16 and 1/2 inch.

Step 6 – Adjust the Door Height

If the flooring in the room was recently replaced, a sticking closet door may be rubbing against the new, taller carpet or tile. If a taller floor is the problem, you may be able to adjust the height of the door using the screws or knobs on the back of the door that controls the roller height so the closet will hang plumb.