Why Does My Sliding Glass Door Track Fill With Water? (Fix It Now!)

Matthew Mountain
by Matthew Mountain
Sliding glass doors are preferred by homeowners who enjoy picturesque views. They’re great for many more reasons, but a downside is that they can sometimes have water intrusion problems. If

Sliding glass doors are preferred by homeowners who enjoy picturesque views. They’re great for many more reasons, but a downside is that they can sometimes have water intrusion problems.

If you’ve been wondering why your sliding glass door track fills up with water, this article is for you. This problem, as well as solutions to it, will be explained in this article.

A sliding glass door track will fill up with water when its drain holes are blocked by debris. Failing to make a seal when shut can also lead to water intrusion. To ensure a sliding glass door doesn’t let in water, clear out its tracks, inspect its wheels, and make sure everything is sealed tightly when the door is closed.

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What Causes a Sliding Glass Door Track to Fill With Water?

When there’s heavy rain, the drainage holes in the sliding door’s base track can get overwhelmed, leading to water spilling over into the inner base tracks. In areas where heavy rainfall is common, this issue can occur often.

If debris is blocking the drainage holes, water may be visible in the inner base track. For this reason, the tracks should be checked regularly to ensure there’s no debris inhibiting the drainage system.

Water that’s left below the drainage holes will evaporate. Or, of course, a suction device like a vacuum can be used to suck out this remaining water.

How Does a Track Work?

Sliding glass doors and impact windows are heavy, and this is why they use fitted tracks on the bottoms and tops of their frames. But something has to get these heavy doors and windows to move, and that’s where metal (or plastic) wheels come in.

While sliding glass door manufacturers construct these products differently, there are some components and systems that all these doors employ

Take, for example, this IQ Glass sliding door. It utilizes a solid neoprene base block, and this ensures the glass door diverts water from the sliding panes and into an aluminum base. This drainage system can withstand 120 liters of water per minute, which means it holds up well in areas where high rainfall is common.

There is also a slot drain atop the drainage system, and this is there to catch debris that otherwise would clog the system.

In short, all sliding door tracks must have drainage systems, as without these the tracks would fill up with water until it eventually spilled over into the interior of the building/home.

How to Prevent Water From Getting in the Track

If your sliding door isn’t working properly and water is spilling over into the interior of your home, you should follow this step-by-step process to deal with this current mess and then prevent another one like it from happening in the future.

Find out how to keep water out of a sliding glass door track.

Identify What’s Causing the Problem

While they’re called “sliding doors”, only one of the doors slides. When you believe there’s a problem with the draining system, you should first look at the bottom track threshold of the door which slides.

Clearing Debris

If there’s any debris blocking the drainage holes, clear this. Debris may not only prevent the “weep holes” from draining water but also inhibit the doors from lining up properly when closed. And when the sliding door can’t form a seal because there’s something blocking it, water is bound to get through the gap.

For this reason, one should always keep their sliding door tracks free of debris. The wheels should be cleaned frequently as well. All you’ll need to clean tracks are a vacuum, a crevice suction attachment, and both wet and dry paper towels.

After you’ve sucked up most of the debris, use the wet paper towels to clear away any dirt, debris, or muck that remains. There’s often stuff trapped in corners, so pay attention to these areas.

Once all buildup has been wiped away, go over the tracks and wheels with a dry rag or paper towels to ensure everything is dry.

Replacing the Threshold Track

Perhaps your sliding door’s tracks are not dirty but simply worn down by years of opening and closing. Rust can also deteriorate tracks over time, and if you notice frequent sticking it’s likely your sliding door tracks are on their last legs.

When it’s time for your sliding door’s tracks to be replaced, you must first remove both the stationary and sliding doors. Next, the threshold tracks should be replaced with brand new ones, and ideally, these new tracks should help with temperature control, stopping air leakage, and preventing moisture intrusion.

Adjusting the Wheels

Off-balance wheels may also lead to sealing problems. You’ll know your wheels are off balance if it takes more effort than it should to open and close the door.

To remedy this issue, open the door just a little bit and then look at the gap that’s between the door and the frame. If the gap at the top of the door is wider or skinnier than the one at the bottom, this is because the door is off balance.

To fix this, grab a screwdriver and adjust the roller adjustment screws. Turn the screws clockwise to raise the door, and counterclockwise if you want to lower it. You’ll know the wheels have been properly adjusted when the door runs smoothly along the track and shuts tightly.

What Else Can Cause Water to Fill In a Sliding Door’s Track?

Discussed above are the main problems that cause a sliding door track to fill with water, but there are some other less common problems. Keep an eye out for these, as they may be what’s causing water to spill over into your home/business.

There’s a Bent Track

If after removing the doors you realize that the track is bent, grab a hammer and straighten it out. This can only be done if the track is made of metal. For plastic, replacement is likely.

There May Be Broken Glass

If glass has chipped off, then the seal will not be 100%. Depending on the extent of the damage, either replacement or repair will be necessary.

Compromised Flashing or Caulking

Flashing and caulking are typically located on the tops and bottoms of the doors. If your flashing or caulking is compromised, then water may get through.

Poor/No Water Runoff

When there’s an inadequate runoff system, water can pool around the base and spill through your door. Ensure the runoff system is not obstructed at any point.

How Weather Stripping Can Help

Water breaching a sliding door’s track is an unpleasant situation for homeowners, and therefore applying weatherstripping is a better-safe-than-sorry method. This will prevent leaks caused by rain, and all one has to do is seal an entire door jam with one continuous strip. This should provide effective coverage.

After installation, one must check to see if the material compresses when the door is closed.

Related Questions

The questions answered below are asked frequently by those who are looking to install sliding glass doors.

How can poor door installation lead to leaks?

If a door is installed directly on a concrete slab, water can seep under the doorframe. Likewise, a roof overhang may be causing water to leak through the top of the sliding glass door. If there’s an installation-related problem, it’s best to get a professional’s help.

Which sliding glass door manufacturers are popular?

While there are plenty of other respected sliding glass door manufacturers, these are the industry leaders:

  • Andersen
  • Centor
  • Kolbe
  • LaCantina
  • Milgard
  • ProVia

Do You Need Sliding Door or Tracks Repair?

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Final Note

In the end, a sliding glass door’s tracks can take on water for a variety of reasons. The most common of these is debris blocking the drainage holes, and a misalignment problem could also lead to water intrusion. If you can’t identify the source of the problem on your own, it’s best to get help from a professional, as you don’t want to make the situation a lot worse.

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Matthew Mountain
Matthew Mountain

Matt loves everything DIY. He has been learning and practicing different trades since he was a kid, and he's often the first one called when a friend or family member needs a helping hand at home. Matt loves to work with wood and stone, and landscaping is by far his most favorite pastime.

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