"With the exception of extremely damaged parts, or necessity, we are really focused on re-using as much existing material or material given to us from other Eichler owners," Gilbert says. "It doesn't always work out that way, but we try."
Age plays a big role in how well a sliding glass door operates. Broken weather stripping, failing lock mechanisms, dirty tracks, and worn-out rollers are all issues that eventually need to be addressed.
Sliding door repairmen represent a rare breed. As part of his suite of repair services, home-improvement contractor John Wilcox of Bay Area Siding Repair repairs and refurbishes original Eichler Arcadia doors in Marin County.
Although Arcadia no longer manufacturers replacement parts for sliders of 1950s and early '60s vintage, some later Arcadia hardware is still available. Wilcox has had success adapting off-the-shelf parts—including those available from manufacturers such as Slide-Co and CRL—to repair locks and roller assemblies.
"Arcadia doors were fairly well engineered, and that's why they are good candidates for repair," Wilcox says. It's common to find such single-door repair services offered in the $300 range—a far cry from a new high-end door, which can run as much as $3,000 installed.
Wilcox says periodic maintenance can extend the life of a sliding glass door. For an Arcadia original, that includes cleaning tracks and frames of outside dirt and debris, keeping the wheels lubricated, and aligning the door to the frame. Professionally applied window film can be adhered to original single-pane Arcadia sliders (and windows) to reduce danger due to breakage, and glare.
Mobile screen companies can usually replace torn screens on sliding screen doors, but screens should be replaced, Wilcox points out, if there is a bent frame or defective latch. Not everything can be fixed.
"Generally, you're looking at replacement if you have any issues with the threshold," Wilcox says. "The Eichlers are built on slab homes, so you'll find there are issues with the way the door operates on the threshold because of warping or settling."
Gone are the days of the plain Jane interior door. Today's homeowners are looking for style and a privacy solution for offices, bathrooms, and closets. While there are many options on the market, only a few fit the aesthetic of mid-century modern homes.
Raydoor in New York City specializes in custom door panels for modern decor. In 2000, furniture designer Luke Siegel began creating panels, made of laminate frames and acrylic inserts, that pivot, fold, or simply divide a room while allowing light to travel through the space.
Raydoor's standard and custom panels can be used as folding, or fixed walls, doors, screens, or partitions. The doors are made from sandwiching a layer of acrylic between two bonded frames, making them both strong and lightweight.
Basic Raydoor systems are available up to 175 inches in width (including distinct four panels) and are constructed with laminate frames in maple, cherry, cypress, metallic muslin, and brushed aluminum. Choose from three opacities and six lattice designs.
The Sliding Door Company, based in San Francisco, manufacturers affordable glass interior sliding door solutions for closets and room dividers. Their closet doors—constructed of mirrors, glass, or wood—feature a proprietary roller system that prevents the doors from lifting out of their tracks. Streamlined pocket doors save space in tight quarters, and decorative room dividers provide a bit of privacy wherever needed.
For those looking for a softer solution, Hunter Douglas Skyline window panels feature a wide range of fashionable fabrics and a patented hardware system designed to work with sliding glass doors or as a room divider. Fabric panels are attached diagonally to the front and back of a dual-channel track system, allowing for a single, streamlined track.
Photos: David Toerge, Ernie Braun; and Hunter Douglas, NanaWall, Raydoor