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When your sliding shower doors are wobbly instead of holding their place, it may be time for you to repair or learn how to install a sliding shower door bottom guide.
What is a Guide for Your Shower Door?
A sliding shower door guide is a piece that fits in the bottom groove. This usually small piece docks against the metal track on the sides or in the bottom.
Over time the guide can crack and break due to its mainly plastic composition and the frequency that the shower is being used. When a break happens, there is no need to worry. It is a fairly easy and inexpensive fix you can do without hiring a professional.
Note that this is the process for installing a new shower door guide, not how to put shower doors back on track. While similar, you want to follow a different set of steps.
There are two different types of sliding shower door bottom guides. This depends on the type of sliding shower doors you have,
This type of guide does not move. Instead, it is a piece that is screwed in or is adhered by an adhesive pad or command strip. This guide has two openings to keep both doors in line as they slide back and forth.
Another type of shower door guide is one that will move with the shower door. These plastic guides will hook into an area and slip onto the bottom edge of the door.
The guide will slide back and forth with the door. This keeps it in line as the guide slides inside the metal track.
Where Can You Purchase a Bottom Guide?
You will want to first use your original shower guide for reference. This will help you find the specific type and fit you are looking for.
Place the broken piece in a resealable bag and take it with you to your local home improvement store to seek help from DIY and home improvement experts.
If you no longer have the original piece and you are not sure what you will need, use you phone to snap a few pictures of the bottom area of your sliding shower doors. Be sure to take a picture of the metal track. Show the bottom and take a picture at an angle to show the track sides.
Consulting staff at the home improvement store should be able to help you find the right shower door bottom guide.
If you still are unable to fine the right guide, your best bet would be to purchase the non-moving guide that sticks to the bottom of the track. This guide, while it may not be a perfect fit, is the most basic type.
Before Installing a Shower Door Guide
Before you can begin installing a sliding shower door bottom guide, you will need to make sure the shower door track is ready for the new guide. The new guide will not adhere well or allow the doors to slide with ease if there is buildup and grime.
Clean the Area
The shower door track is a final defense against water leaking out of your shower. Most have tall lip walls that help deter water from entering and pooling. However, water from your rain shower head can and does splash into the track along with grime that can cause buildup.
It is also common to experience hard water or rust buildup on this metal surface. This is due to the track staying wet for prolonged periods without being wiped clean or having enough ventilation to dry by itself.
While you’re cleaning, you might just want to take the shower head off and clean it. Calcium can build up around it and cause it to slowly clog. Drop the main handheld shower head attachment in a bowl that is half filled with vinegar and half water, and let it soak overnight. Scrub around the pipe as well.
You can also clean your shower floor and shower drain trap, if you have the time.
Try these different cleaning tactics for your bathroom when you are preparing the track for a new guide.
There is a big reason why so many cleaning advisors mention vinegar as a primary and natural cleaner. This is because vinegar is high in acid. It will cut through grease, grime, and even rust while being gentle enough not to harm kids, pets, or your septic systems like bleach can.
To use vinegar in your shower and on the other various home surfaces (like carpet), start by diluting the vinegar with water. The normal amount is to do a 50/50 mixture. This will dilute the vinegar enough, so its power and smell are not overly strong.
You can then add an extra element to this cleaner to help with grime and soap scum. Dawn dish detergent is great, and you only need a few drops in the mixture to have its extra strength.
If you don’t enjoy the smell of white vinegar, you can cut it by adding in just a few drops of your favorite citrus essential oil. The oil will not affect the cleaning power of the vinegar and Dawn. Instead, it will lessen the brightness of the vinegar.
There are also many options you can choose from off the store shelves to help clean your shower door track. These cleaners can range from a natural cleaner to stronger chemical cleaners for the bathroom.
Bleach is a sought-out option in the bathroom due to its all over cleaning power and disinfecting. However, this chemical is not easy on your pipes when rinsed away. It can be very damaging to your septic tank over long periods of time.
If you are battling rust buildup, a great option is Calcium Lime Rust Remover. This powerful and concentrated solution works in record time cleaning and restoring your surfaces. The only downside to this cleaner is how strong it is when you use it. You will need to use gloves and set a timer because it does not need to be left for more than five minutes.
- Industrial Strength: CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover is a non-toxic, multipurpose cleaner...
- Fast Acting: Quickly removes calcium, lime and hard water deposits, soap scum, discoloration and...
- Multi-Purpose: Versatile cleaner for home or office surfaces. Use on plastic, ceramic tile, glass,...
- EPA-Certified: CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover is part of the EPA's Safer Choice Program...
When you clean your shower, make sure you take the time to wipe down the shower tracks. This will help reduce the amount of buildup and can deter rust from forming again.
How to Install a Sliding Shower Door Bottom Guide
Now that your shower door track is clean, you can begin installing the guide. Depending on the type of guide you use, you will follow the specific correlating directions below.
For these guides, it is a very simple open and apply kind of set up. Look where the guide is supposed to sit for maximum support of both doors. Usually, this will be in the middle of the shower door track so both doors are supported on either side.
- For guides that need to be adhered, they make come with a foam adhesive square. Many of the feedback remarks have stated this is not the best for using and has not lasted. Instead, use a small to medium sized command strip. Make sure you trim the strip, so it fits the guide without having any overhang.
- Slide the shower doors back to one side and place the guide in the middle area of the shower track. Hold the shower guide above the bottom of the track as much as you can while you slide it onto the edges of the shower doors.
- Ideally, you will want to get the doors close to the halfway point on the guide so they are secure in it. Once you have the doors slid into the small open tunnel-like spaces, you will want to go ahead and press down.
- Hold the guide in place for at least 30 seconds, applying a constant pressure so the adhesive will stick and stay. Avoid using the shower for about 24 hours to make sure the adhesive gets a good grip.
These guides can seem a little tricky to place but can be done without additional tools or help needed.
- Hold the guide so the pinching like opening is up and the tab that sticks out is on the bottom.
- Place the edge of one shower door into the clasping area. Depending on how the guide is made, you will either hear a snap from it catching or just feel the stiffness of it being pushed in enough and holding the grip.
- You will need to be down low, so you can see the small cutout straight line in the lip of the metal track. Place the tab into the cutout area and push until it snaps in.
- Test the guide by pulling at it slightly, just enough to make sure that it doesn’t pop back out. If it does, push it until it catches and does not come out.
Testing out Your Sliding Shower Door Bottom Guides
Now that the shower guides have been installed, it is always good to move the doors back and forth a few times to make sure the guides are doing their job and stabilizing the doors.
The sliding should also be a smooth process. If it is not smooth, you will want to check the track and the top. Check to be sure there isn’t anything making it struggle to move, as this could cause the sliding mechanisms to break down over time.
There are a set of steps to follow if your shower door keeps coming off of its track.
Knowing how to install a sliding shower door bottom guide gives you the independence and confidence to tackle smaller upkeep projects around the house. Being able to conquer smaller DIY tasks helps you save money for when more serious issues arise.