DRY lubricants are best. We use a couple from the big box hardware stores. You can purchase DuPont Teflon Spray or Liquid Wrench at LOWES and Blaster Dry Lube at Home Depot. The reason you want to stay away from WD-40 is because the grease-based lubricants allow for the dirt, sand and salt to stick.
TIP: Another place you can lubricate is the weatherstripping along the top track to help the doors move more smoothly.
What is “Pregnant Door Syndrome”?
Pregnant door syndrome is a very serious condition in a door. This is caused particularly when doors are STATIONARY for long periods of time, but have wheels in them. We see a lot of this along the beach coast in rental units where some of the doors are NOT moved often. We also see this in certain door systems that have rods or metal pieces inserted within the aluminum extrusion. Over time these pieces of galvanized steel degrade and then begin to expand. Eventually if left unchecked, this expansion will destroy the extrusion.
It is NOT just rods in certain doors that can cause this condition. The other problem that we see very regularly is doors that have wheels in them but are not moved often allow the sand, salt and wind to drive the dirt deep within the bottom rail or extrusion, settling around the wheel systems and eventually forming a crusty corroded mess that begins to eat the wheels away. Once the corroded, decaying situation has bridged from the wheels to the inner walls of the extrusion, the decay begins to destroy the inside of the aluminum rail.
TIP: If you are experiencing any “fatness” around the far left or right side of the door in the bottom rail or extrusion area, you have “Pregnant Door Syndrome”.
Typical symptoms start out with this fattening of the aluminum. Eventually if left unchecked, this corrosion will work its’ way through the aluminum, creating small blisters, then tiny holes, working their way up to dime-sized and then nickel-sized holes. We have seen doors that have entire ends of each operating door both inside and outside completely EATEN away, like leprosy or cancer. If not addressed, this situation could lead to the destruction of the door itself. We have however been successful in addressing this issue even in very advanced states of decay. This would NOT be something we suggest you tackle yourself however.
TIP: Hire a professional who knows what they are doing and get on it as soon as you realized the problem exists.
At Beacon Windows we have seen this condition over and over again in door systems. To remove the rods from the extrusion pieces we actually invented a special device to allow the soft aluminum to be separated from the hard and corroded steel without destroying the aluminum.
TIP: Examine the left and right side of all your doors, particularly doors that CAN operate, but that you do not typically move often. Be sure you move those doors at least several times monthly to knock the corrosion down. Then clean the tracks and keep them free of salt, sand and other debris.
Are there other corrosion issues to watch for besides “Pregnant Door Syndrome”?
Yes. We frequently see tracks that have been corroded by wheels that have been left in a stationary position for long periods of time. This is a precursor for “Pregnant Door Syndrome”, and just like locking issues being like a fever in a person… helping the Doctor know there is more going on, corroded tracks tell us we need to look at the wheel systems and remove the corrosive element.
TIP: Regularly examine your tracks thoroughly to look for imperfections, divots, dings, and corrosion.
Howling & Whistling Doors:
We frequently hear the following complaints:
“When it is windy, my door keeps me up all night!”
“I can’t seem to keep this place warm in the winter.”
“We have a lot of humidity in the house all summer and my AC has a hard time keeping up.”
“Can you do something about the noise from outside?”
“When it rains we get a lot of water inside.”
All of these complaints stem from some common issues… weatherstripping is either non-existent or deficient and possibly due to misalignment the door panels are not meeting tightly.
We can help all these issues, sometimes dramatically, by addressing the most common and sometimes most difficult to fix issue… the weatherstripping. Corrosion has a tendency to beat up weatherstripping grooves, making it difficult to replace. Because of this most companies will not even consider touching your weatherstripping. However in Florida due to the aggressive elements and extreme sun conditions, this very much needs to be addressed. We regularly replace weatherstripping that is challenged, generally making a dramatic improvement in the door’s ability to withstand the weather.
TIP: Check your weatherstripping. If it seems to disintegrate when you rub it aggressively, then it is time for you to replace it.