We have a sliding glass door in our kitchen that opens from left to
right. The last two/three winters, we noticed it started to stick/rub
at the top when about 12-15 inches open, eventually in the winter it
would not open past that point, not good in an emergency.
In the spring, it would start to open more readily, but I had to drop
the sliding door down a notch on its rollers. Eventually this will not
be an option anymore.
I was thinking maybe something/water was getting into the top of the
door and forcing it down. There is an inside bathroom fan exhaust that
comes out about 2 feet above the door, more to the opening side.
I went outside and took off the vinyl siding but did not see any
evidence of water problems or anything like that.
We do get water/ice sometimes at the bottom where the two door meets
from cold air coming in thru a small opening that leads to the
outside. Maybe ice is builing up under the track and forcing that up,
instead of the top being forced down ?
Any advice appreciated ...
Actually, it sounds to me like the house is moving in the winter. The ice
explanation is not likely to be the answer since apparently there was a
permanent change (you had to adjust the door to get it to work in the
spring.) Though I suppose the ice or whatever could permanently bend the
(probably aluminum) head of the door.
Houses do move in the winter sometimes, due to frost in the ground, shifting
water tables, and so on. Also, snow load on the roof may cause the header
over the door to deflect (depending on where the door is and so on). You
don't say if this is a new house--they are more prone to move around until
they find their preferred position and stay there.
If the house is moving so much that your door ends up jammed solid, you will
probably have other problems as well--one hopes this is not the case, but
there are hundreds of houses in the town of Amherst (near Buffalo) which
have shifting and sinking foundations due to development on soil that was
not really suitable for construction, or at least not the construction
You could try to fix the problem which causes ice buildup at the bottom--you
really don't want this anyway. And when the door starts to stick, you
should determine what the head of the door is doing--is it bowed in the
middle (this suggests something forcing the middle of the door down) or is
it going out of square (this suggests the house is shifting). Another
source for ice is warm moist air from inside the house getting into the
space above the door and condensing on cold metal, or getting under the
door. This shouldn't really be possible, but it could happen. I have seen
a lot of ice buildup on aluminum sliding doors; my mother-in-laws door made
enough ice to rot out the wood trim at the bottom of the door. I ended up
putting a "storm door" on the sliding door; this cured the problem. They
make these things, and they really do cut heat loss.
The house is 9 years old, so this started happenning when it was 7 to
8 years old. There is a 2nd floor so I don't think its a snow load
problem. Also, the door unit is at least wood trimmed, not sure if it
is aluminum behind the wood (probably).
I also was wondering if it was inside humidity causing it. We have
central heat with humidifier added, we do get consendation on the
windows, etc, so a storm door for the sliding door sounds like a
possibility .. as long as we can still get out in an emergency, we
dn;t use the door oftne in winter .. but just in case ...
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