Rarest Fix-It Man of Them All

In-demand sliding-glass door repair outfit encourages owners to "save your sliders"
Fridays On the Homefront
What does an MCM owner do when glass sliders break down? Bay Area Sliding Door Repair technician Sam Yeeles (pictured here) gives his thumbs up to preservation and repair. All photos: Bay Area Sliding Door Repair
Fridays On the Homefront
Sliding door rollers old (left) and new (right).
Fridays On the Homefront
Jeff Anderberg tests out a slider repair at the Laguna Eichler high-rise in San Francisco.

Sliding-glass doors allow that visual and physical synergy between interior and exterior—something so essential to Eichlers and other mid-century modern homes.

But what does an MCM owner do when sliders break down? Is there anything short of door replacement available these days?

Typically, sliding door deterioration concerns the wheel assembly under the door (rollers), the locking mechanism, or cracked or broken glass.

Surprisingly, there are very few maintenance companies in our communities who take on the repair of sliding-glass doors—and there are even fewer who are experienced enough to pull off the task successfully.

Sliding door repair specialists, we’ve discovered, are not only rare, proficient ones are worth their weight in—well, at least aluminum or steel. “There are very few companies that fix sliding doors,” agrees Jeff Anderberg, owner of Bay Area Sliding Door Repair, based in Pacifica. What’s out there, he says, are “mostly glass shops and handymen.”

Surprisingly once again, Anderberg doesn’t even sell or install new sliding doors. Just not his thing. With 24 years of experience rehabbing glass doors, the ultra-specialist says succinctly, “My business is repair.”

Anderberg says there are more than 120 manufacturers of sliders, but only about ten are widely available. The large majority of Eichlers have one in particular, Arcadia, so named for the Southern California city where the company started.

“It’s seldom that I can’t fix doors in an Eichler,” Anderberg says confidently, noting that he commonly also encounters Fleetwood and Western Window Systems doors in Eichlers.

“Arcadia did one thing very well,” he says of the original supplier, whose doors were initially made of steel before switching to aluminum. “They went with the highest grade, highest magnesium content aluminum they could find.” One good reason, we figure, to keep them in tip-top shape.

Unfortunately, the steel- or vinyl-framed glass doors used in some homes are frequently not repairable, partly because they cannot bear as much structural weight in a house, and partly because they are assembled with welding.

“After a few years, there’s so much settling that they can’t even be serviced,” he says, contrasting vinyl with aluminum frames. “The aluminum doors, if you ever need to service them, you can literally dismantle them [for repair].”