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We have a sliding wooden patio door that keeps getting harder and harder to close. I notice every now and then that when I do close it wood shavings fall from the top, and I can tell where they're getting shaved off in the door frame.

What can I do about this? Do I just need to manually shave the door frame a bit? It's kind of an older door so I'm not really sure what kind of maintenance I can do.

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3

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    Need to get some close up pics of the damage, the track the top rides in, showing the gap at the door to the frame please. – Jack Jun 24 '14 at 15:25
  • @Jack - I edited the OP and included a pic of the upper track. The lighter grained wood in the more distant half of the track has been shaved by the door. – Mike Cole Jun 25 '14 at 0:27
  • Hate to sound picky, but the picture is really fuzzy, not a clear look at the gaps, or no gaps at the top of the door. – Jack Jun 25 '14 at 1:44
  • @Jack - Sorry for the delay. I just added 3 new images. In the top two, you can see the damage in the right side of the track where the wood is lighter. – Mike Cole Jun 27 '14 at 22:27
  • Is the door panel clad on the outside face? – Jack Jun 27 '14 at 22:33
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If the door panel, the moving part, is not clad (covered with metal) on the outside, the easiest way to remedy the problem is to plane about an 1/8" off the door itself. The weather-stripping is part of the jamb so it will not be affected. The interior side of the track will have a few screws holding it place. I see one screw hole in the picture, looks like it is missing the screw. Remove the rest, that piece should come out, and the door panel with it. If there is a place in the jamb where the door is loose compared to the other places, move the door to there to get the top to tip out, it will be heavy...

As a note I would draw some concern why the head is dropping, unless the bottom sill that the door rides on is rising. Either will cause the same problem. Swelling wood from leaks in the siding or flashing or other things that happen over time.

Although this will not address the potential problem, that is, why the head has dropped, if that is why the door head drags, you may be able to run a few 3" screws into the track at the top and draw it up a little, that way if there is any room for it to go up, that will make that happen. Do not put the screws in the middle of the jamb, do put them in the middle of the operable track that the sliding door panel rides in. Headers are usually made with 2 pieces, with a 1/2" space in the middle. That's why no screws in the middle.

If the sill is raised up, check to confirm with a real true, stable, straight edge. If it is riding up in the middle, that is bad, usually there are no ways to send a sill down, usually they are set in sealant, and gravity does the rest. Very few have screws set to them, it is a leak potential.

  • Could humidity be a factor? It seems to be worse when it's humid out, or just generally in the summer. – Mike Cole Jun 28 '14 at 0:59
  • Humidity can play a big factor when the tolerances are too close to begin with. – Jack Jun 28 '14 at 1:30
  • Thanks for all the info and sorry I missed your chat. I took the door off yesterday and could tell with a straight-edge that the sill was slightly riding up. I could also push up on the head fairly easily so I will try to drive some 3" screws in like you mention. – Mike Cole Jun 30 '14 at 1:20
  • Followup: I recently had a contractor look at this, and he's determined that there was indeed a leak in the sill and recommends replacing the entire door. He found areas where it appears the previous owner attempted to seal to no avail. – Mike Cole Jul 8 '14 at 19:08
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    Do expect to have some bad subfloor under the sill, be delighted if there is none, or not enough to affect the support of the sill. If there is a hump in the subfloor with no bad material, I strongly suggest to flatten the subfloor, NOT shim the sill, it always leaves voids in the sealant if the installer is not careful... – Jack Jul 8 '14 at 19:52

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