Q: My apartment has closet doors that fold open on sliding tracks. Over the past month, the doors have started sticking and one is completely off the track and just swinging open. Is this hard to fix? Our maintenance guys aren’t so reliable. – Mindy H., Atlanta
A: If the slider attachment at the top of the door isn’t damaged, you should be able to easily put the bifold door back on its track.
Reach up to the top of the detached door – or climb onto a sturdy stepladder or footstool so you can reach – and feel along the top near the front edge of the door. You should feel a round disc, or wheel, sticking up.
Place your finger on top of the wheel and push down. If it’s spring-loaded, the disc will depress down and then spring back up.
Check the bottom of the door as well. If the door opens along a top and bottom track, a similar wheel, or a simple metal pin called a pivot, will be located in the same position near the front of the door. It may or may not have a spring.
If both wheels are in good shape, great. If either one is broken or missing, contact apartment maintenance to have them repair the door. Or, if they don’t respond, contact management and ask if they can either speed up the repair, or if you can do the repair yourself and have them take the difference off the bill (you’ll need to give them a receipt for parts and labor).
Let’s start from the premise that both wheels are all right. It’s a pretty easy fix, made easier if a friend helps steady the door. If one of the wheels isn’t spring-loaded, carefully ease that rigid wheel into the corresponding track. Then reach up (or down) to the spring-loaded disc, depress it with one finger, and guide that part of the door back into its corresponding track, sliding your finger out of the way until the disc pops up into the track. Move the door back and forth a couple times to test it.
What if the door doesn’t seem be straight? That can cause the wheels to stick in or jump out of the tracks. You can adjust the door in a number of ways: The Family Handyman website (www.familyhandyman.com) has a step-by-step description of how to do it.
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