How Does a Sliding Door Work?

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How Does a Sliding Door Work?
How Does a Sliding Door Work? (Image: Steve Woods)

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The Exterior Patio Door

Sliding doors are a great addition to the decor of a home. They work wonderfully if you live somewhere with a fantastic view or just want to watch your kids in the backyard. The exterior sliding door is purchased within a frame. At the top and the bottom of the frame, a track is set in place. These tracks can be made from wood, metal or vinyl. Plastic rollers are installed on both the top and bottom, or only the bottom track to make it easier to slide the door. These rollers are adjustable to give you a nice, easy slide. Sometimes a plastic track is added to keep the door perfectly vertical, which helps it stay in its track. There are a variety of latching systems for these doors--which one is used sometimes depends on the material the door is made of. The most common of these doors has one panel that slides and one that stays stationary.

The Interior Closet Door

The interior sliding door is commonly used for closets. It can be made from wood, vinyl, metal or glass. It ismuch lighter than an exterior slider, and is normally hung from the top. The track is installed on the top framework of the closet, with guides installed on the floor. The doors have rollers attached at the top; you lift them up and lay them down into the track. Then, as you slide the door from one side to another, the guide on the floor keep the door in line. Both doors slide and are offset so one is actually in front of the other.

The Shower Door

Shower doors are normally made of an aluminum frame and Plexiglas panels. The frame consists of a top and bottom track. The doors are offset so one goes in front of the other. The door is usually built right into the frame and is light enough to not need rollers. It simply slides back and forth within the track. It is very important to keep the tracks on a shower door clean, as soap and dirt buildup can cause the door to get stuck or not slide at all.

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