If you spent the winter kicking up the thermostat (or grabbing a blanket) just to be comfortable near the door, you’ve already wasted enough money on heat to buy several sets of weather-strip seals. If you open your patio door frequently or the door is exposed to sunlight, it pays to replace the weather stripping every 10 years. Spring is the perfect time to do this.
We bought all the seals for this early ’90s Marvin sliding patio door for about $65 including shipping. Replacing the seals is a one-person job, but enlist a friend to help lift the heavy door in and out of the track. You just need a screwdriver, a hammer, hooks and picks, and a putty knife. The entire job takes just a few hours. Here’s the process.
Some patio door manufacturers engrave their logo on the door pull lock hardware, but others hide the branding and model information. If you can’t find a manufacturer logo or model label, look along the door edges or jamb for a gold sticker from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).
If you find the label, shoot a digital photo and go to aamanet.org and click on “certified products directory” to decipher the codes and get the brand and model information. If you can’t locate the label, copy the numbers on the metal strip between the panes of glass. Then go to igcc.org to decipher the codes. If neither approach works, or the manufacturer no longer sells replacement weatherstrip seals, you’ll have to use off-the-shelf weather stripping and come up with a custom fix.
Next, measure the stationary and movable sections. Take a digital photo of the entire door, track and jamb. Then contact the manufacturer’s customer service/parts department to order replacement parts.
Open the patio door so the sliding door is in front of the stationary section. Start removing the header screws from that end. As you reach the open part of the door, have a friend brace the movable door so it doesn’t tip out. Then remove the entire header strip. (If the door trim overlaps the header strip, you’ll have to remove it.)
Most sliding patio doors tilt into the room from the top and then lift off the bottom track. The door is usually held in place with a removable header strip, which has to come off first. Brace the door or have a helper hold the door upright while you remove the header retaining screws (Photo 1). Lean the door against a wall in a safe place after you lift it out of the track (Photo 2). The bottom rollers are usually dirty and the door latch can be greasy, so spread a drop cloth over carpeting to prevent stains.
If you can't find the factory parts
If you can’t locate manufacturer weather-strip seals in stores, try these sources:
If you’ve checked all online sources and still can’t find an exact match, you’ll have to improvise with off-the-shelf materials. V-seal can be used in place of factory jamb, header and track leaf seals. Just fold along the score line to form a “V.” Remove the backing and stick it in place. Place EPDM foam rubber on the jamb and adjust the latch to accommodate the thickness. Use entry door seal strips to replace factory pile strips in mating areas.