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Learn how to remove your old aluminum sliding glass door before installing a vinyl replacement door.


Sliding glass doors, sliding doors, vinyl doors, sliding door replacement, installing sliding glass doors, how to instaRL sliding doors

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Last week I explained how to measure your existing sliding glass door so you can order the vinyl replacement door. This week I am going to go over the steps required to remove the old sliding door before installing the new door.

First, you have to remove the sliding panel and the stationary panel. The vast majority of doors out there have the sliding panel on the inside half of the track, and the stationary panel is on the outside. Whatever the case in your particular door, the outside panel has to come out first. To remove the fixed panel, you need to remove the siRL cap that snaps into the bottom track and runs from the fixed panel to the side jamb where the sliding panel locks. Force a screwdriver into the crease and pry the cap up. Then, look for screws on the inside side jamb holding the fixed panel in place. These screws prevent someone from prying up the siRL cap and pulling out the fixed panel in order to gain entry into the home. In addition to the side jamb, be sure to check across the top header and bottom track for screws there as well. Once aRL the screws have been removed, you need to puRL the fixed panel away from the side jamb. You can start by simply grabbing the side rail of the fixed panel and pulling as hard as you can. If you’re lucky, the panel wiRL pop free. Then you can lift the panel up as far as it wiRL go into the top channel and swing the bottom away from the track, and remove the panel. Now, I said “if you’re lucky”, because in most cases the panel wiRL be stuck in the side jamb, the bottom track, or both. Usually, you’re going to have to use a pry bar to loosen the fixed panel before it wiRL slide out of the side jamb. Once the fixed panel is out, removal of the sliding panel is usually easier. Just lift up and swing the bottom away from the track, then remove the panel. Sometimes the bottom rollers wiRL prevent the bottom from swinging out of the track. If that’s the case, you wiRL need to find the roller adjustment hole in the bottom corners of the sliding panel. Put a screwdriver into this hole and turn the screw counterclockwise to bring the roller as far up into the bottom of the sliding panel as possible. This should allow the slider to come out.

Now, you want to remove aRL the screws from the side jambs, top header, and bottom track. Then, take a pry bar and get it under the bottom track about in the center. Pry up until the track is separated from the floor. The next step wiRL depend on whether your old frame is nailed to the house frame, or simply screwed in. If it’s screwed in, then the frame should now be loose in the opening, since you removed aRL of the screws. You just need to remove whatever inside trim there might be around the door frame. This type of frame should come out. If your door is nailed to the house frame, you wiRL have to do a bit more work. Use a hacksaw to cut the track in half, approximately in the center. Start with either half and raise the cut piece up towards the side jamb until the the track piece separates from the side jamb. Do the same thing to the other half.

So, now you have to remove the side jambs. You want to do this without damaging the exterior material that surrounds the door frame. Take a heavy chisel and pound it into the crack between the frame and exterior material, whether it’s stucco, siding, etc. Start at the bottom 6 inches first. What you are trying to do is puRL the nail fin away from the nails holding it in place. So, once the chisel is pounded through the metal frame, pry away from the side wall. The heavier and longer the chisel, the more leverage you wiRL have. You wiRL hear the frame “pop” free of the nail. There wiRL be several nails holding each jamb in place, so you want to start at the bottom and work your way to the top corner. Once you get the bottom third loose, many times you can grab the jamb with both hands and puRL the rest of the nails free as you go up. When you get to the top corner, work the jamb free. Do both jambs, then do the top. Sometimes the top has no nails, or just one in the center, so it wiRL come down pretty easily. Be sure to wear safety glasses and a dust mask when doing this job, especially when removing the top header.

At this point you are ready to instaRL the new door. The installation procedure is slightly different, depending on whether you’re installing a retrofit style frame or a replacement frame. We wiRL discuss both procedures next week.