All sliding doors need some kind of bottom guide. Bottom guides are mounted in the finished floor and are always hidden by the panel (wood doors) or engaged with the panel (glass doors). Bottom guides ensure consistent door travel, keep the door plumb, and prevent door panels from swinging out from the track and possibly dislodging. Also, a door panel in a sliding door system naturally wants to hang slightly angled toward the wall. A bottom guide prevents door panels from rubbing against and possibly damaging walls or baseboards.
We include a bottom guide with every sliding door hardware system we sell. However there is some variation in bottom guides, depending on your aesthetic preference and the kind door panel you’re working with.
Bottom guide post for wood doors
The bottom guide post can be installed in three different ways, depending on door panel material and aesthetic preference.
The first way is to simply route a channel in the bottom of your door panel. This routed channel allows the bottom guide post to keep the door panel true and plumb through the full range of door travel.
The second way is to install our bottom guide channel instead of routing a channel directly into the door panel. The sleek, stainless steel c-shaped channel is affixed to the bottom of the door and works with the bottom guide post in the same way as a routed channel. It is a great option for door panels without the structural integrity to handle routing, panels made from materials like steel, which are hard to work with, or for panels 1 ⅜” inch or thinner. And, because you aren’t relying on a perfect routing job, door travel is often the smoothest when using a bottom guide channel.
The third option is a combination of the first two. You route the bottom of the door panel, and then install the bottom guide channel in this recess. Because the bottom guide post will run against the uniform bottom guide channel, you can afford to be less precise in your routing, and still get the smoothest door travel available. Also, as the bottom guide channel is recessed into the door panel, you preserve the clean, continuous look of the door panel.
Bottom guide for glass panels
Bottom guides are even more vital in glass installations, especially in high use environments, where a knocked off panel could shatter. We offer bottom guides for four glass panel thicknesses: 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4", and in two materials—a high-quality plastic guide, or a premium stainless steel option, depending on the system you order.
Installing your bottom guide
The key for installing any bottom guide is to accurately find the overlap zone. This is the area of door travel that is always covered by the door panel, both in the completely open and closed positions.
Here’s how to find the overlap zone:
- Install your door panel.
- Set the door stops to your desired door travel.
- Open your door as wide as it will go.
- Mark the floor at the door panel’s edge closest to the doorway.
- Close the door completely.
- Mark the floor at the opposite door panel’s edge from step 4.
- Between the two marks on the floor is your overlap zone!
You’re ready to mount your bottom guide to the floor. It can be placed anywhere within the overlap zone. Simply move a door stop to the end of the track, beyond where it will normally constrict door travel. Now, slide your panel as far as it will go on the track. This has exposed the overlap zone. Mount the bottom guide into the floor anywhere in the overlap zone you have marked, making sure it is the desired distance from the wall to maintain a plumb door panel. Finally, reset the door stop to your desired door travel. Because you’ve made sure to install the bottom guide in the overlap zone, it will never be exposed whether the door is fully open or fully closed—now you have safe, smooth door travel.