Do It Yourself: How To Repair A Shower Door

Do it yourself tips for repairing common shower door problems.

A shower door, clear, opaque, glass, fiberglass, sliding or not, can add elegance and a finished look to any bathroom. The elimination of a shower curtain and the inevitable puddles and water stains is the benefit to an easily maintained system.

If properly installed, a shower door will require little maintenance. The few problems that may occur can easily be repaired. The most common problems include doors not latching, leaks beneath the door, and doors dislodging from the tracks. All of these are do-it-yourself fixes.

The latch to each shower door, either latching closed to the frame or latching two doors in the center, is usually adjustable with a screwdriver. Plug the tub drain with a towel so dropped screws or pieces won't disappear. Unscrew the latch from the door and review it's condition. If the latch itself is cracked or broken, simply take the piece to a home improvement store for a replacement. If the latch is in good condition, simply clean and reapply to the door; leave loose so adjustments of the latch can be made. Open and close the doors with the latch loose, wiggling the latch so the connection to the frame or other door holds. Tightly screw in place. As the latch is used frequently, this kind of adjustment may be necessary on a monthly basis.

A puddle on the floor right outside the shower door, usually means the shower door sweep, the rubber strip that lines the bottom of the door, needs to be lowered and/or replaced. To check, open the door from the outside and peak underneath the door. If the sweep is in good condition, in one piece and pliable, it may only need to be lowered to meet the frame of the door. Some sweeps are held in place with screws. Loosen the screws and gently pull the sweep down, tighten the screws and try closing the door. Experimentation and repetitive opening and closing is the key to success with this method.

If the sweep is in bad condition or isn't constructed to be lowered, remove from the door by gently pulling or sliding off the track. Dry the track and remove any debris. New sweep can be purchased at any home improvement store. Cut the right length with scissors by using the old sweep as a pattern. Slide the new sweep into place using a little petroleum jelly to lubricate the track. A tight fit against the frame is the desired result. Keep a bath mat right outside the shower or under the doors to quickly detect this problem and prevent water damage.

Doors dislodging from their tracks or becoming difficult to close is another common but repairable problem. First, check the track for debris or mildew, cleaning and removing debris as needed with a grease-cleaning product. Add fresh lubricate to keep the track clean and the rollers running smoothly. Corrosion of the track may occur over time and require extensive cleaning; remove the doors completely, scour the track, dry and replace the doors, adding fresh lubricant to the track. Rollers at the bottom of the door can crack over time, creating a jolting or dislodging problem. Remove the doors from the track and unscrew the rollers. If the rollers are in good condition, simply clean and replace with fresh lubricant. If cracked or broken, remove and take to a home improvement store to assure purchasing the correct size. Install, add new lubricant and reinstall the doors on the track.

The best defense is preventive maintenance. Keep your shower door clean by using a towel or squeegee after each use and weekly cleaning with a bathroom cleanser. If hard water or mineral stains occur in your area, use a nonabrasive powder cleanser but be cautious of the track and doorframe; many cleansers can damage the finish. Once a month clean the track of the shower door and lubricate if necessary.

These simple steps should keep the shower door in good condition so simple repairs will be few and far between.

© High Speed Ventures 2011