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Do you give free estimates?
Yes. Typically this is done over the phone. We see and repair several thousand doors a year. What may seem unique to you is likely something we are seeing over and over again. Because of this we can generally give you an accurate estimate over the phone by asking you discerning questions to help us identify what is going on in your door system. Depending on your answers we will know if you have something more than the typical going on.
If your door situation is determined to be unusual, we may make a preliminary trip out there to determine if it is something we will be able to fix.
In over 4000 doors we have fixed we have only had 12 so far that were beyond repair. Sometimes it wasn’t even the door that was the issue, but the structure AROUND the door that was the risk.
Trust me, we can likely fix your door.
During the interview process we will review with you in detail HOW your door is supposed to function and give you clear illustrations to help you understand what we will be working on and how it will affect the door system. Many of our clients really appreciate this attention to detail in the estimating process and feel that the time we take to complete this process allows them to understand better how their doors work, thus allowing them to know in the future when they have a problem.
TIP: Call Lizette and expect to spend at least 20 minutes discussing your personal door situation. You can reach her at 727-641-8106. We will review door openings and configurations.
How do I determine my door “openings”?
Be prepared to outline how many door openings you have. A door opening consists of a door in a certain location.
For example, if you have one door in the living room, another door in the dining room, and a 3rd door in the bedroom, the correct answer to how many doors you have would be 3.
Once we have determined how many different door openings you have, we will then work on what are the actual configurations (how many pieces of glass and way they move) for each of the openings.
How do I determine my door “configurations”?
We need to know in each opening how many pieces of glass you have from left to right, including the glass that does not move. For example a 12 foot or 16 foot door that has 4 pieces of glass where the two in the middle move outward over the two on each end is considered a 4-panel door- even though ONLY 2 of the panels actually move. This configuration is called an OXXO in door speak.
A common question is why do we need to know about a piece of glass if it does not move? This is because the doors work together as a system just like a person’s spine. When one piece gets out of whack it affects the whole door- including the non-moving panels.
TIP: In door speak, X’s move whereas O’s are stationary.
Door Panel Key:
- 2-panel doors with only 1 door moving: XO or OX
- 2-panel doors where both doors move: XX
- 3-panel doors with only the middle door moving: OXO
- 3-panel doors with all moving panels: XXX
- 4-panel doors with just the two in the center moving: OXXO
- 4-panel doors with all the panels moving: XXXX
- 6-panel doors with just 4 moving panels: OXXXXO
- 6-panel door with all panels moving: XXXXXX
Why do you need to know how many panels there are in total- whether they move or not?
Doors are systems that are designed to work in harmony. Just because a door does not move does not mean that we will not be addressing issues in that door.
What is a pocket door? Do you work on those types of doors?
Many time we see doors where all the panels move and they pocket completely OUT of the opening, generally to an open “pocket” outside of the home. This is called an “EXTERIOR POCKET DOOR” if you can see all the glass panels, and an “INTERIOR POCKET DOOR” if the panels are hidden behind a wall system. Yes- we work on pocket doors.
Are there any other issues that can add to the cost of the estimate?
Yes. Sometimes there is more going on with the door than just the door components being worn. One example is when a door is impinged upon by a collapsing header or a lifting floor situation. These would be examples of where we will need to review the opening prior to beginning the work to determine if we can fix the door or if it needs to be replaced.
We have also had situations where the improper flashing was used to install the door, and we have had to remove the door completely, including the flashing, refloat the floor with concrete and then reinstall the door system…and then fix the door. In the last situation where we had to repair the doors by removing the tracks we were able to save the client $24,000+ over the cost of new doors. See Testimonial Video Here
What are typical costs?
Each case may be different and there are a number of factors we need to consider in pricing out the job so we do need to speak with you to determine this. Generally speaking however we are less than 10% the cost of a new door.
Do you need to permit this work?
No. This is considered a repair by the building department and does not require permitting.
What else can be done to help doors against the weather?
You could consider filming the interior of the glass. We do not do this work but we do have a quality company that we recommend. This will help with the heat factors typically offering about a 30% SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient). The film may also be helpful if your glass gets broken as it tends to hold the glass together. Film comes in a variety of thicknesses with 4 ml and 8 ml being the most common in home use. Film is NOT considered hurricane protection.
Do you replace glass?
Sometimes. We are not a glass company however. Our primary goal is to make your door highly functional. Occasionally we do encounter broken glass situations and depending on the type of glass that is needed we may be able to order that glass. Sliding Glass Doors need to be tempered. In certain locations the glass also needs to be darkened to meet the Turtle Code.
If you break the glass on my door while you are working on it, will you replace it?
Yes. There are a few instances where clients have specialty glass that we will not touch unless they sign off on a glass breakage waiver. These circumstances involve VERY LARGE pieces of glass or glass with a specialized color. If in those cases the clients want us to work on the glass we do require them to sign off on the liability for glass breakage.
Glass breakage is very rare. It happens occasionally due to weather conditions- particularly cold. Sometimes it happens from vibration, but generally only if there is an irritant rubbing up against the glass and the vibration in combination with that irritant creates the correct environment for the glass to break. We have handled well over 15,000 individual pieces of glass in the past 3 years and have only had 7 pieces break…. So it is not really a concern in the majority of cases.
Is there anything else I need to know about my door system?
I could probably bore you to tears for hours with what we know about door systems and refurbishing sliding glass doors. Likely the best thing you could know is our contact information for those times where you just need a professional to do the job right. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you might have. You can reach Lizette at 727-641-8106 or Lizette@Beacon-Windows.com
Do you repair windows?
Not typically. There are a few exceptions on large projects that have identical windows where we will give some consideration to repairing windows.
The biggest issue with window repair is sourcing the parts. With sliding glass door repair parts are more readily available versus windows where it can be difficult to impossible to get the correct parts.
There is definitely a financial value to repairing a sliding glass door whereas due to the higher costs and difficulties in getting parts, there may not always be a value to repairing a window.
However if you have a large window project with several hundred identical windows, please feel free to inquire. If we feel we can make a substantial difference in the window’s lifespan for a reasonable investment then we will consider this on a project by project basis.
Is there anything else I can do to help my doors be more resistant to weather?
Yes. A couple of ideas come to mind.
- Review the caulking on all the non-operating panels and make sure there are no cracks. Use a high quality exterior caulking with plenty of elasticity to account for contraction and expansion.
- Consider making moving panels that you do not use often into NON-operating panels. This can be done by removing the wheels and putting in stops in the top and bottom track to secure the door from moving. This strengthens that non-moving panel and makes it more wind resistant in a storm. It is still NOT hurricane resistant, but it will be less inclined to move in an aggressive wind situation if it is permanently affixed and caulked into place.
TIP: Clean out your weep-holes in the door track to keep water from building up too high in the track and spilling into the house.
Do you replace screens?
We may consider repairing your screen door if there is sufficient life left in the door. Screen doors are generally not made in the same way as door panels. Typical screen door extrusion is about 1/3 the thickness of a standard door panel, and the screen track that the screen rolls on is also poorly made, more like a thin ice skater’s blade rather than the bulbous, rounded track that your glass panels rolls on. Because of this difference in quality screen doors never move as well as glass doors do.
TIP: Use a wire brush to burnish the screen track free of burrs and debris. Clean the track several times per year.
If you screen door is beyond repair, we will recommend a company that manufacturers new screen doors for you. We do not make new screen doors. Our specialty is in refurbishing the SLIDING GLASS DOOR PANELS, not screen doors.
Replacement vs Repair:
Do you also replace sliding glass doors?
Yes, we do occasionally do replacement work in Pinellas County. Our primary focus however is sliding glass door repair.
What are some factors I should consider with replacement?
Replacement in Pinellas County requires that the sliding glass doors meet current building codes. This means they must be IMPACT DOORS or have Florida Product Approved Hurricane Protection over NON IMPACT doors.
IMPACT DOORS are much heavier than the older style sliding glass doors. Because of this they have a tendency to be more difficult to open. If you want to learn more about the specifics of IMPACT DOORS, please feel free to reach out to me. There is a lot to learn and understand about glass options. From a maintenance perspective however we have been surprised to be receiving a LOT of calls from people who have recently replaced their doors with impact. It seems that about 4-5 years into their lifespan the doors really start to show wear.
What issues should I look for in my IMPACT DOOR?
One of the first things we have noticed is breaking locks. This is a symptom of mis-adjusted wheels
Tracks in your door system are like the train tracks for a locomotive. In this case, YOU are the train engine. If you have damaged tracks, you, the train engine, experience difficulty when attempting to move the “train” or door in your case.
Damage to tracks typically occurs 4 ways:
- Dragging: Someone dragged something heavy over the track, causing it to become damaged
- Settling: Due to age, where the rollers (wheels) live on the right and left side of operating panels there has been a settling or pothole-like effect. Think of what would happen if you left your heavy car on a field for a month in the rain. Where the weight-bearing points were- the four wheels, there would be depressions in the field. In this same way, over MANY years the wheels can “settle” in on the track.
- Gouging, nicking, or dinging can occur when a wheel breaks within the lower rail or extrusion. You may NOT see the evidence of this right away until the door becomes extremely hard to move. By then it’s common that the broken wheel has also damaged the track.
- Corrosion!!! Think cancer or leprosy for your door system. Corrosion occurs primarily in doors that are near salt, sand and wind situations, but can also occur near pool areas due to chorine off-gassing conditions.
To us it does NOT matter HOW the track damage occurred. If we see evidence of it we need to address it as damaged track ruin wheels!
TIP: Keep tracks clear of debris. Regularly clean off salt, sand, pet hair and people dirt. Use a wire brush to scour the track, removing any burrs. Vacuum and then clean the track with a light degreaser, making sure to thoroughly rinse and dry the track areas.
We address track damage in a number of ways. Many people have the misconception that you can go to a store and purchase “new track” for their existing sliders. This is NOT true. The original track must stay with the door. Think of your body as an example. If I told you I were going to cover your head with a cap you would NOT expect me to decapitate you. You would however expect me to put a HAT on your head. In that same manner, tracks are capped or covered over with stainless steel solutions designed to act like new runners for the rollers. The type of track and attachment system may be determined by a number of factors including the amount of damage in a particular door system.
We have seen some tracks so badly damaged they looked like small roller coaster tracks. Others were so badly corroded that they had silver dollar sized holes corroded not only through the track but right down into the concrete. Believe me, we have seen it all with corrosion!
TIP: NEVER, EVER, EVER use WD-40 to lubricate your tracks!
Lock problems in a door many times are like a fever in a person…an indicator of a much bigger issue. Frequently the misaligning door causes the lock to work poorly. Sometimes however the issue is the lock is loaded with corrosion.
TIP: If your lock seems to be functional check for the door alignment using the first point under Crack Attack to determine if the door is crooked in the opening. Many times by simply realigning the door system you can “magically” get the lock to work.
TIP: Clean out and lubricate your locks regularly.
We are seeing a number of newer doors, replaced in the last 4-7 years, Hurricane Resistant IMPACT doors that are experiencing a lot of broken lock issues. One of the reasons this is happening is because the weight of the newer doors is at least 3 times the weight of the older door systems. Their wheels are not designed to take that much weight and so they fail at an earlier life expectancy even if they are quality stainless wheels. When they start to fail one of the first indicators is the crushing of the locking mechanisms.
Many times I can tell which way the door is tilted (crooked) by simply looking at the lock damage. If it is crushed from the top of the lock, the door is tilted heavy at the top. Crushed from the bottom of the lock indicates tilting away from the bottom. Understanding this is key to keeping HEAVY impact doors functioning optimally. As expensive as they are to initially purchase most people don’t realize that you MUST keep them maintained regularly or run the risk of seriously damaging not only the locks, but also crushing the tracks.
TIP: Replace wheels on IMPACT doors every 4-5 years. In between replacement, keep your doors correctly aligned to avoid lock and track damage.
To See Common Issues With Impact Doors Click Here
Sometimes we see the glass actually SEPARATING from the gasket and metal framing! This causes our clients to get very excited and we affectionately call this problem “Separation Anxiety” since they are experiencing anxiety over the separation of their glass and metal. Part of the reason doors have glass separation is because the unevenness of the door system has put such a strain on the glass panels that eventually they give way and the weakest link, basically the weakest screw breaks or no longer holds the glass panel together. This typically happens because the moving panel strikes the interlock unevenly. This can happen on either a moving or a non-moving panel, either near the wall side, or in the center. Although serious and potentially dangerous to the glass, this is fixable.
TIP:Caution must be used in cleaning out the gasket that surrounds the glass to be sure no foreign debris that could cause the glass to fracture has been trapped. Once you are sure it’s clean, then the whole thing can be reassembled and new screws put in.
One of the problems that sometimes happens is that the old screw holes will have corroded and enlarged, so this frequently requires longer screws and sometimes additional support to keep this glass panel together.
TIP:We recommend replacing the screws with stainless steel ones to avoid future separation.
TIP: Here is a simple test YOU can do at home to determine if your door is out of alignment. Bring the door up close to where it locks, but leave a small crack so you can still see light from outside through it- maybe ¼” to ½”. Once you have done that, step straight back about 6-8 feet from the door and examine the crack very carefully. If the crack is UNEVEN, then that is indicating that the wheels in that moving panel are OUT of ALIGNMENT!
What happens if the crack is uneven? If the wheel systems (aka rollers) are not new that uneven crack indicates to us that the door wheels are likely challenged and in need of replacement. Generally this unevenness is accompanied by difficulty in opening the door, or wheels that are noisy. If you have either of those issues then it is time to replace the wheels. TIP:We typically use better quality stainless rollers that have sealed bearings, thus avoiding the need for further lubrication on the rollers. However not all doors have a stainless steel option, but the majority of door systems do.
Why should I care if my door is out of alignment?
That is a great question! Alignment issues affect a number of the door’s functions. One of the most important is the locking ability of the door. If the door is uneven at a greater rate than the tolerance of the locking mechanism’s ability to bridge the gap between the mortise (hooking mechanism that comes from the panel) and the keeper (receptacle in the door frame that holds the mortise in place while locked) then the door may not lock at all, may lock too hard, or may be loose and able to be jiggled out of place easily by an intruder.
Are there any other problems created by unaligned doors?
Another issue with alignment is the ability of the door to keep out cold winds in the winter and maintain AC in the summer. Doors “hold hands” through interlocking channels that correspond and meet between the doors. On the end furthest away from the lock, let’s call that the butt end of the door, there is a C-channel commonly referred to as an “interlock” that hooks around. On the next over door on its’ front end there is a corresponding interlocking channel. The two doors both have long skinny pieces of weatherstripping in those areas as well. So one consequence of an uneven alignment is having misaligned weatherstripping. It would be like asking you to clap your hands without allowing you to align your hands. You might be making the clapping motion, but if the two hands are not intersecting, then NO noise occurs. In that same way, two pieces of unaligned weatherstripping cannot function to keep out air, water, noise or wind efficiently.
TIP:Make certain you have quality weatherstripping in your door system to keep a weather tight seal keeping cold out in the winter and AC in during the summer!
When the doors are NOT aligning properly, these interlocking channels bang into each other at an uneven rate. For example if the door is tight at the top, then that means each time it closes and locks, that moving door bangs in the head the next over panel. If you did that to your partner every time you moved, you would have a very unhappy and irritated person. Doors are NO DIFFERENT except that they cannot speak, so their way of “speaking” is to gradually MOVE over time. They will become misaligned themselves- even if they are a “NON-MOVING” panel attached to the wall.
Un-aligned and/or moving “fixed” door panels are not the only issue that comes up when the interlocks bang inappropriately. Another problem we see a lot is glass separation which will be discussed in the next question.