Exactly how to repair a sliding closet door could depend on the sliding mechanism for the closet door and whether the door or doors share the same length of sliding mechanism. As, in the case of there being more that one door, at least one of the doors is in front of or behind the other(s). The following comments and tips assume that any doors are timber/wood ones.
Reasons for Closet Door Repairs
The most common reason for deciding to repair a sliding closet door is because it is sticking, or not running smoothly along its slide mechanism. However, it could also be that a repair is necessary simply due to a handle or lock having fallen off or being broken, or even the fabric of the door itself becoming damaged. Presuming the required repair to be due to the sliding closet door sticking there are two main solutions the DIY home enthusiast can look into to fix the problem, either looking to repair the sliding mechanism or the door itself.
Possible Repairs for the Slide Mechanism
Slide mechanisms for sliding closet doors can come in several different modes of operation. First; the bottom of the door could slide on a track of ball bearings, with a guide channel above it, or possibly another track of ball bearings; alternatively the ball bearings could be fitted into the top and bottom of the door, which then runs inside a metal channel.
Secondly, the top of the sliding closet door has small wheels fixed to it that hang from, and run along, a track fixed to the inside of the closet, whilst the bottom of the door fits and slides inside a channel slightly wider than the door itself. For either of these mechanisms a problem with sliding the closet door is almost certainly to do with the slide mechanism – not the door itself.
So, presuming that the sliding closet door was fitted correctly and had been working properly, the following are tips and ideas for getting the sliding door working properly. Usually ball bearing slide mechanisms will only cause problems in terms of sliding the closet door if they become clogged up with dirt over time, preventing ball bearings from rolling. If necessary lift the door(s) out of the closet door frame and using something like white spirit thoroughly clean the ball bearings.
Don’t be tempted to oil or grease the ball bearings when you’ve cleaned them, this will only increase the likelihood of them getting clogged up with dirt again. If the closet door slides on wheels it could be that a wheel has become bent or broken, in which case it will need repairing or more likely replacing. Also, check to see that the rail the wheels hang on is still securely fixed to the closet walls or ceiling, re-fixing or replacing screws as necessary.
Wooden Sliding Closet Door Repairs
Here the closet door will just have wood channels at the top and bottom of the closet to guide it as it is pushed open and closed. Closet doors can easily become difficult to open and close with this mechanism due to both damage to and warping of the timbers.
If the door itself has warped, so that it catches on the guide channels you might have to completely replace the door; alternatively you might be able to shave some wood off the door with a wood plane, where it slides in the channel. If the channel itself has warped it will be simplest to replace the uprights, or sides, of the channel.