replacing sliding glass door lock

Replacing Sliding Glass Door Lock | How to Install & Repair

Need to install a new lock on your sliding door? In this article, we explain the steps for replacing sliding glass door lock, plus how to fix sliding glass door lock and related issues.

Sliding glass doors provide a spacious form of entry into your home. They also offer an unobstructed view of your patio and backyard area that they lead to. If you’re a parent, a sliding glass door will help you conveniently monitor your children playing outside rather than opening the door to search for your kids outdoors.

But while sliding glass doors may be useful in many ways, the locks need frequent adjustments, lubrication, and cleaning to ensure that they’re secured. And despite the extensive care, there is also a possibility that the lock on your sliding glass door may stop working or break and eventually need repair or replacing.

Because of this, it’s essential that you know how to fix sliding glass door locks in case of damage. This article will discuss all you need to know about replacing sliding glass door locks, how to fix them, and some maintenance tips along the way.

replacing sliding glass door lock


There’s something undeniably modern about sliding glass doors, but the common dilemma is how to lock them. Since they don’t open and close like typical, latched doors, it’s important that you know the available types of sliding glass door locks.

One of the most common locks for sliding glass doors is mortise locks. An example of mortise locks can be seen on the Reflect Windows and Doors website. Mortise locks sit within the pocket of sliding doors, making them appear invisible from afar when you look at them.

Another popular option is the double-bolt lock which is usually installed by the jamb and is kept intact through interlocking bolts. An example of this lock style can be seen on the Safe Slider shop website.

There are also keyed locks that allow you to operate the glass sliding door both from the outside and inside, as well as keypad locks which use a code for entry.


Before you start fiddling with your lock, you should have a basic understanding of the parts that make up a sliding glass door lock, and how they work together to make the locking mechanism function properly. Traditional locks are usually composed of three major parts: the cylinder, bolt latch, and the box and strike plate.


The lock body, or cylinder, is the part of the lock where you typically insert the key. When locked, the cylinder activates a series of spring-filled pins, which prevents the cylinder from turning. When you put in a key, the uneven edge nudges the pins up to fit the height of the key in that particular location within the cylinder. It works so that it recognizes the right key when pins are moved into their places, thus, opening the cylinder, moving the bolt, and opening the door.

Latch or Bolt

The lock engages the bolt within the door. This metal piece extends from the door itself into the frame and then keeps it closed.

Strike Plate and Box

From the cylinder, the bolt reaches into a tiny square-like hole called the box. It keeps the bolt secure in the doorframe whenever the lock is engaged. On the other hand, the metal plate is the strike plate that guides the bold into the box, providing extra reinforcement to the lock mechanism.


Glass sliding door lock repairs are necessary to ensure that your doors are working properly and safely. That said, here are some common issues and problems faced when dealing with sliding glass doors and what you can do about them.

How to fix sliding door that’s stuck or difficult to slide

One of the main reasons for a door that refuses to slide is debris build-up. Hair, dirt, fur, or mud can collect in the groove and along the track, clogging the rollers underneath and hindering smooth motion.

Here are steps you can follow in cleaning the glass sliding door track and the rollers.

  1. Take the door out from the track. Find the adjustment screws and use the screws to retract the rollers and remove the door.
  2. Check the door’s rollers. Try and see if the rollers are damaged or just need some cleaning. If they’re damaged, replacement is necessary. Otherwise, you can simply scrape off the dirt and clean them using denatured alcohol.
  3. Reinstall the clean rollers.
  4. Tidy the tracks. Use rollers to wipe the top track, and use silicone to spray it.
  5. Reinstall your glass sliding door.

How to fix sliding door alignment problems

Another common issue with glass sliding doors is alignment. At one point, you may notice your sliding door knocked off-kilter. To realign it back, remove your door from the track, then reinsert it afterward. Make sure that the top rollers are aligned first, then gradually trace the bottom of the door into place, pushing the top of your door up into its track.

How to fix damaged latches on glass sliding door

fix sliding glass door lock

If you’re experiencing problems with a sliding glass door latch that doesn’t quite catch, it may just need a little oil for lubrication; try some WD-40 or similar. Otherwise, it might be due for replacement. If a replacement is required, remove your door lock and bring it to the hardware with you to make sure that you buy a compatible alternative for your door.

How to fix shattered glass on sliding door

If the door frame is fine, you can just replace the glass yourself. First, you have to remove the trim surrounding the glass and cautiously remove its remnants. You’ll need to purchase a new piece of glass; make sure to make the necessary measurements and subtract at least 1/4 inch from each measurement. Once this is done, install the new glass and caulk it into place.

Frozen sliding glass door lock repair

Remember that sliding glass door locks that aren’t protected against outdoor elements such as snow or rain can freeze the lock in position. The lock isn’t broken or in need of repair really, it is just frozen. You can either wait for it to melt away by itself, or very gently apply warm water or use a domestic heat gun like one of these to melt the ice around the sliding door lock. The heat needs to be very low, so you don’t accidentally crack the glass. Don’t try to force it open, otherwise you might break the lock or just waste your time trying.


Most sliding glass doors that are locked by latches are often anchored to the handles. There are plenty that also comes with unlocking keys or exterior locking mechanisms. But for safety purposes, it’s important to change your lock immediately if you lose the key. Here is a step-by-step guide on replacing sliding glass door lock and handle hardware.

Step 1: Remove the door handle
  1. Open your sliding glass door to get access to the handle on either side.
  2. Take out the screws that secure the door handle using a slotted or a Phillips screwdriver, depending on the type of screw.
  3. Pull the door handle apart on both sides. Make sure to remove any sliding glass door handles that need to be replaced with new locks.
Step 2: Measure the handle requirements

Using a ruler measure the gap between screw holes. Measure the width and length of the slot that goes into the sunken handle into the frame. Measure its thickness as well.

These measurements will come in handy when you buy the replacement handles to make sure that you purchase similar sizes. When buying new locks make sure to get a receipt for any purchases, in case it is the wrong size and you need to return it.

Step 3: Install the new handle and lock
  1. Place the new handle on the bare screw holes or in the frame’s opening.
  2. Push the screws through the bare holes, and hand-turn them in so they start threading onto the exterior of the handle.
  3. Afterward, tighten the screw tightly with the right kind of screwdriver.
Step 4: Test the new sliding door handle and lock

Pull the closed door, lock the new lock, and test it by dragging the door open to see how it works.


Unfortunately sliding glass door locks can be a bit sensitive, and operational issues may be inevitable from time to time. Fortunately, routine maintenance helps ensure its continued performance. Maintaining your glass sliding door locks often starts with your door.

Maintenance Tips:

Often: Clean and oil the tracks. It’s important to perform thorough cleaning with your door’s roller tracks and lubricate them regularly. Build-up of debris can cause the door to jam or stick when left unattended.

Often: Clean the locks. Like with the tracks, the same goes for your sliding door locks. The locks are exposed to the elements and therefore may pick up dust, spider webs and other unwanted stuff, which you can easily clean using a mild detergent or damp rag.

Occasional: Check how the door is hanging. Keep an eye on whether the door is hanging correctly, especially since a door that sags can place pressure on the lock’s bolt or latch. This is more likely to present itself as an issue if the door starts having difficultly sliding or latching, so if your door starts behaving strangely have a look at how it is hanging.

Occasional: Check the sliding door hardware. You also need to check the strike plates, screws, and hinges, to prevent any kind of door failure. Like with the door hang, this may only be noticed if there is an issue with the door, so keep an eye on any odd door movement.


That has pretty much covered what we’ve had to say about sliding glass door lock replacing and fixing. As you can see, the process for replacing a sliding door lock and handle is not too difficult; the trickiest part is measuring your handle requirements properly to ensure the replacement handle and lock you purchase will fit. Be sure to get a receipt and keep it, just in case the lock doesn’t fit as you intended, so you can return or swap it if needed.

To ensure your lock keeps working for many years, remember to clean and oil the tracks and clean the lock regularly, and attend to any potential door hardware issues as soon as you notice your sliding glass door acting abnormally.


  • Rach Baxter

    Hi, I’m Rach, the other half of NestKoo. I grew up on a sheep farm in Australia where I spent most weekends in the yard fixing or constructing something or other; essential DIY skills that I still use today at home or helping others.

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