Building Codes and Inspections/Sliding patio doors


My son had me come over to his house last night to work on their sliding patio door. It wouldn't slide open or closed. I found the culprit, It was off the track and 2 of the rollers were froze up. After finishing the repair I stood back and looked at the door thinking something wasn't right. Is the slider door supposed to be on the outside with the screen on the inside? The stationary door is on the left if you are standing on the inside looking out with the slider moving from right to left. I think the jamb was installed backwards but I am not sure.

The doors can usually be installed to slide either way by flipping and reversing the doors and stops during installation, but the sill at the base of the doors should slope downward and outward so water running down the outside face of the door is shed to the exterior, not the interior.  If someone doesn't understand that the door can be flipped and reversed, they might have installed the door with the frame backwards to obtain the door slide the way they wanted it.  If that's the case, remove and reinstall the frame, then reinstall the doors and stops correctly if the base of the frame isn't all corroded from water sitting in the tracks.  That might be the problem with he door that caused you to have to work on it.  If that's the case, replace the whole door and frame unit.

In terms of the codes, doors must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions.

Good luck!

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Keith Fuller


I'm an ICC Certified Master Code Professional fielding general building code questions. My experience has been heavy in fire related issues.


I've been employed since 1985 as an inspector and plan reviewer, and am a municipal Assistant Building Official and Deputy fire Marshal. I've had fire service experience since 1972, having served as a three time Fire Chief and Fire Marshal in years past. The increasing workload, mandatory certifications, and continuing education requirements in recent years have caused me to concentrate my efforts on code related issues. I hold national fire service certifications as well.

ICC Master Code Professional

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