Sliding door very difficult to open

18 Feb 2010
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West Lothian
United Kingdom
I installed these timber construction, triple glazed, sliding doors a couple of years ago, made by a company called Russell Timber. They have always been very difficult to open, but when I called the company after fitting them, they were not very helpful and just said they would ease off over time. I didn't really buy that then, and they haven't eased off and I would like to try and improve this as a lot of people really struggle to open the door.

They are of the type that when you close, then turn the handle 90 degrees, the door pulls inwards to seal. The door slides freely once opened, its just that first few mm as it comes off the seal. The issue seems to be a lack of leverage when pulling the door off the seal due to the handle design which pushes down to a vertical position to open. When you pull the door handle to open the handle naturally wants to turn up back into the closing position which makes it difficult to get any leverage to open the door. If you change the position of the handle so that its horizontal when opening, its much easier to open the door, but the handle being horizontal would mean it would hit against the middle jamb preventing it from fully opening, and denting the wood, which doesn't seem right either.

Alternatively its not the handle and its the door that's closing too tightly. It does seem that when you turn the handle to open its pushing back on the jamb where the handle is, but it remains tight against the fixed jamb.

Any ideas or advice?


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This might seem like a strange question, but have you tried moving the handle to the open position and then waiting a few secs before trying to open the doors?

Here's why I ask. I have a upvc casement window in my bathroom. If I move the handle to the open position and try to push the window open straight away, there is a degree of resistance. Almost like suction of the opener against the seal. It opens, but requires a small degree of force applied. However if I simply wait a few secs, it's almost as if the suction between the upvc and seal releases, after which the opener pushes open without any effort.

You could try the same thing. Assuming it's not a mechanical issue, given you're saying it's only the first few mm as it comes off the seal, I suspect it could be something similar.

If that doesn't do the trick, you could maybe try applying a small amount of grease/lubricant to the seal (suitable for rubber i.e. that won't degrade it) to see if that helps?
Thanks diy_fun, its not any easier after leaving it, and I have previously tried silicone spray on all the contact points I can access.

When the handle is turned it moves away from the seal on the handle side of the door, but it stays tight on the side that butts against the middle jamb. It seems like its a set of lugs that draw the door in on the seal at that side, so I don't see any obvious way to adjust.
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