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We have a sliding glass door to our patio. The opening side is jammed up against a wall, meaning you have to scrape against that wall unless you throw the door all the way open. On the other side there's plenty of room.

I had the thought to reverse the door so that the left side slid, instead of the right side. Now, given that glass doors are sold in left- and right-handed, I imagine this is a bit involved. But can it be done without replacing the entire unit? If so, what's involved?

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4  
Turn the door upside down! –  Tester101 Aug 6 '12 at 20:17
1  
back before right or left hand slide,or with cheaper units, we simply turned the doors upside down. The frames usually had a definite top and bottom, but the doors didn't. Then install the lock hardware on the side you wanted to. –  shirlock homes Aug 6 '12 at 21:54
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I recently installed a couple of new sliding glass doors and the doors were manufactured with an up and down side - the rollers were mounted on the bottom and the top edge was smooth. I think turning upside down depends on the manufacturer. I suggest pulling the door off and taking a look to see if that's an option for you. –  Stefan Mohr Aug 7 '12 at 19:46
    
This might be impossible to answer without some good pictures of the tracks, and/or make and model. –  Tester101 Sep 10 '12 at 18:00
    
Yeah, it's definitely not upside-downable unless I am not seeing something obvious. :-/ –  Alex Feinman Sep 10 '12 at 18:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+50

If the door can be reversed (and that's a big if) then I can't imagine it can be done without removing the entire door frame. The fixed pane is, well, fixed and unless you see a way to detach it from the frame and attach it to the other side then you may be out of luck.

So let's assume you can't remove the fixed frame. Well, you could try rotating the door. This should work, but it would put the rail on the outside of the door. I don't know how this exposure would affect the longevity of the product, and you'd certainly be prone to more things getting built up in the track. This also means that the exterior side of the glass would be facing the interior. A lot of modern glass has reflective coatings and treatments on the outside for energy efficiency purposes. You'd be losing this, and likely by making it worse in the summer (as energy would more readily penetrate and less readily escape). Lastly, if your door is flashed and sealed, and if it has a flange around the frame, it might not even fit the other way without sticking out of the siding, and if it's vinyl it likely has drain holes in the frame which would now drain into the house.

You'd then have to reverse the lockset and handle on the door. This is probably the easiest part.

But, in conclusion, you should recognize that you would likely:

  • Need to remove the entire frame from the opening
  • Likely lose energy efficient properties from the glass treatment being reversed
  • Expose your rail track to the exterior and additional wear
  • Need to reverse your handle and lockset (and lose the ability to use the "bar in the track security method)
  • Need to re-flash and re-seal the door (provided that there is a flange and that it's still usable)

In my humble opinion, each of these together would warrant simply buying a new sliding door to replace this one. Because the door frame isn't really all that expensive. The issue is the labor of removing, replacing and resealing the door.... which I think you'd have to do either way.

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Since the OP rarely accepts answers (30% rate), I'll go ahead and award this now. –  The Evil Greebo Sep 13 '12 at 19:56

With andersen the task of swapping sides is possible with a little work. What has to happen is all the holes for the handle, lock and latch has to be drilled into the opposite side. The most intricate will be the channel that houses the latch. I cut that by using a large drill bit and making several holes then taking a dremel tool to finish. Finally you will need to plug the original holes with some kind of silicone or calking. I used white so it blends in.

Then all you have to do is move the stationary door over and cut a new hole for the latch. ( I did not have to do this step because all I was trying to do is replace a broken opp door with one I found online, that happened to be the wrong side. )

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