How To Fix Mirror Sliding Closet Doors (Step-by-Step Guide)
Sliding mirror doors are extremely popular options for bedroom closets. They don’t require the clearance to open that traditional doors do. Also, mirror doors are a functional, attractive way to improve a wardrobe area without taking up wall space.
Unfortunately, sliding doors tend to use plastic rollers, which bend and break easily. Other common problems include mirrors breaking or falling out of the doorframe. All of these problems have easy fixes that are very doable for any DIYer.
To fix a sliding mirror closet door, remove the door from the tracks, replace the broken piece, and rehang the door. Your local hardware store will sell replacement parts for slider doors, and they are easy to install. Best of all, this whole project requires only basic tools and maybe a couple of hours!
Step One: Remove the Door
Any fix will require you to take down and later rehang the door. This is a good thing to learn how to do, especially since sliding doors fall off their tracks easily. If you don’t know why your sliding door isn’t sliding, you’ll have to remove it to investigate.
Slide the front panel away from the doorframe so you can grab it with both hands. Lift it up and dislodge it from the bottom track. Then, pull it toward you at an angle. The upper rollers will fall off their track, and it will be free. Do the same thing with the second door panel, and you’re all set!
Be careful when setting the doors down. You should put them mirror-side down on your bed or a carpet or rug. This will protect the mirror from breaking if you drop anything on the door. It will also give you access to the backside of the door, which is where the tracks are connected.
Step Two: Inspect the Tracks
If the door is not sliding cleaning, you should first check the tracks. It is very common for dirt and even small objects to get stuck in the bottom slider door track. They are typically at the height of or lower than the rest of your floor. These tracks act like little traps for debris and can get clogged very easily.
Don’t forget to check the upper track as well. If it has never been cleaned, a build-up of dust and scum could easily be interrupting the wheels’ paths. Clean the tracks well, first by vacuuming out any lint or debris that may be stuck in there.
Then, apply lubricating oil like WD-40 to make sure the metal tracks are smooth for the wheels. Spray the oil in the desired area, and then wipe it down with a clean cloth. This will provide an even coat of oil and clean up any areas that pooled.
Step Three: Inspect the Rollers
Even if your tracks were dirty and you think the doors will slide now, you should still check the rollers. These small wheels at the top and bottom of your slider doors are very fragile. They are typically made of plastic and can bend or break very easily.
Any time you bump into the door or pull it too hard, it is possible to crack the rollers. They also can simply wear down over time and become too lopsided to spin. Test each of them with your finger to see how they move.
Replacing the Rollers
If the roller is damaged and needs to be replaced, you can remove it with a screwdriver and pliers. You can buy replacement parts that come prepackaged (the roller and the guide), and replace the whole unit at once. To replace rollers on a sliding door, simply remove them, screw the new one into place, and test them out.
When you are testing the rollers, keep in mind that they also control the height of the door. If the door is loose in the tracks, you may want to move the rollers down a bit, so they sit more snuggly in the tracks. Alternatively, if the door is very hard to open, the rollers could be too long and creating too much friction. You can use a screwdriver to adjust the position of the rollers within the guides.
Step Four: Replacing the Mirror
If your mirror is broken or has fallen out of its frame, now is the time to turn to that. It is best to deal with the mirror last since it is possible to damage it when screwing in the rollers. When you are sure the mechanical parts of the sliding door are fixed, you can move on the mirror.
The Mirror Cracked
To replace a broken mirror, first, use masking tape to tape a large “X” over the mirror. This will keep the cracked mirror from splintering even further and making a mess. Unscrew the mirror frame and remove the gaskets that hold it in place.
Be sure to use gloves when handling the mirror shards. Discard of the broken mirror in paper bags, since it would slice through standard plastic garbage bags. Put the new mirror in its place and slip the gaskets over the sides of the mirror. Screw the frame back into place gently, so you do not damage the mirror.
The Mirror Separated from its Frame
If the mirror has fallen out of the frame, this is an easier fix. You can unscrew just the side of the frame where the mirror popped out. Move the mirror back into place and secure it back within the gasket holder. Screw the side of the frame back in place carefully.
Step Five: Rehang the Door
Once you have cleaned the track and tested the rollers, you can rehang your sliding door. This process is essentially the exact reverse of how you take the door down. Start with the inner door, and grab it securely with both hands.
To rehang a sliding door, lift it into place and get the upper rollers in line with the upper track. Push the door up against the track as you tilt it back into place. As long as you are applying some pressure, the upper rollers should go back into the track.
Once the upper rollers are secure, you will need to lift the door again. The rollers are on springs, so they have some give. Lift the door as high as it goes so the bottom rollers can clear the side of the track. You will need to line them up before you lower the door back down. This can be hard to do with just one person, so enlist a friend if possible.
When the door is in place, you should test it out to make sure it slides along smoothly. It is easier to address any remaining issues now before both doors are up. If the door is working well, go ahead and put the front door back on its tracks the same way.
How can I keep my sliding closet door in place?
Sometimes small rollers and tracks have trouble staying together even when properly installed. If the door keeps swinging in and out, you run the risk of breaking the rollers. To keep the door in place, you could consider installing door sweeps. Door sweeps are a popular method of soundproofing for sliding doors. They also provide those add barriers to make sure the door cannot rock out of place. To make this work, you will need to install two single-fin door sweeps on either side of the track.
What can I use instead of a sliding closet door?
Though sliding closet doors are an extremely popular choice, they do have some downsides. You are not able to access your whole closet at the same time. Even worse, there is always that middle area stuck behind the doors. If you are looking for a change, you can install French doors or, more simply, hang curtains.
Benjamin is a freelance writer and graphic designer. He is passionate about DIY projects and finding creative ways to upcycle things headed for the landfill. Based in Oakland, CA, Benjamin enjoys playing guitar and gardening.
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