New Sliders in a Day
Replace those clunky old 'draggers' or French doors with a smooth and quiet space saver.
Synopsis: This article walks readers, step by step, through the process of replacing an old slider or French door with a new set of sliding doors. You learn how to measure and fine-tune the rough opening, and most importantly how to flash the sill. You also learn how to assemble and install the jamb to guarantee trouble-free operation.
Most 20-year-old sliders are leaky, creaky, and clunky. And they just don’t slide like they used to. They drag. Or maybe those cloudy French doors use more floor space than you’d like. A new energy-efficient slider not only will improve indoor comfort but also can increase usable floor space. Installing a set of sliders is really a straight-forward process. Although most manufacturers’ installation instructions are pretty good, they’re written for perfect-world conditions. I’m not sure where the perfect world is, but in the real world, conditions vary. When you are going to open a hole in a house, it’s best to account for the variables up front. If you goof up, there’s usually no turning back. And when the door costs $1,600, you need a plan.
Measure in the right places
To order a new door, you need to give rough-opening dimensions (height, width, and wall thickness) to your local door vendor. Make sure you repeat the words rough opening a few times as you give these dimensions. The vendor will subtract up to an inch from the rough opening to allow for easy fitting, adjusting, and perimeter air-sealing.
Because doors have come in standard heights (6 ft. 8 in., 7 ft., 8 ft.) for quite a while, new doors often slip right in to old openings, but it’s good to make sure the rough opening will accommodate a new slider before you actually open a hole…