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Sliding Glass Door Hardware

Our sliding glass door hardware looked TERRIBLE.

The door itself is in good shape but the sunlight & rain over the years definitely aged the hardware pretty badly.

So I decided to be doctor for an afternoon and perform a facelift :). My goal was to transform the sliding glass door hardware from a worn look to an Oil Rubbed Bronze style that would match our interior door handles & hinges.

I did this simple reinvention project for less than $23 and in one afternoon. The total time you’re actually working is close to 45 minutes.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your sliding glass door hardware then I think the steps I share in this post could help.


Prep Work is Super Duper Important-Step 1

Removing sliding glass door hardware is really easy.

Our door handle only had 2 screws holding it in place.

Use the appropriate screwdriver to remove the screws.

Remove the screws that hold the sliding glass door handle together

Place the screws somewhere safe where they won’t get lost. You don’t want to make a trip to Lowes or Home Depot to try and find replacements.

Place the sliding glass door hardware screws somewhere safe

Use 120 grit sandpaper to scuff the sliding glass door handles. This will allow the primer to bond well to surface. Make sure you rub the sandpaper over every area of the door handles, be aggressive and thorough.

Scuff the sliding glass door handles with 120 grit sandpaper

Here are some photos that show you what your sliding glass door hardware will look like after they’re scuffed with the sandpaper.

Scuffed sliding glass door hardware
Scuffed sliding glass door hardware handle

Now you’re ready to prime the handles. I used gray primer but it doesn’t matter what color you choose. Rust-Oleum has never let me down so it’s my spray can product of choice. It covers well and sticks to anything- two qualities you want absolutely need in a spray paint product.

Use Rust-Oleum to prime the sliding glass door handles

Here’s a TIP I would use the NEXT time I do a project like this. I say “next time” because I didn’t do it this time around but learned my lesson.

Instead of laying the door handles on cardboard use a piece of drywall or wood. Place a 3 inch nail through the screw hole in the sliding glass door handle and pound it into the wood or drywall so the handle is suspended. This allows you to paint the handles without them sticking to any surface.

This will also speed up the painting process.

Lightly coat the sliding glass door hardware with the primer . Hold the spray paint can 10-16 inches above the hardware and make smooth horizontal passes. Always keep the can in motion while spraying.

The primer will dry to the touch in 20 minutes.

The primer on the sliding glass door handles will be dry to the touch in 20 minutes

Be especially light with the spray primer where the door locking mechanism and keyhole are located. These are the only moving parts on the handle and therefore don’t respond well to a thick coat of primer or paint.

The directions on the spray can say you can add a second coat of primer or topcoat of paint in 1 hour. But I’ve always been able to do this within 20-30 minutes after the primer was applied.

Of course the drying time depends on temperature and humidity. So always check the primer coat for dryness before moving forward.

Lightly apply a coat of primer to the sliding glass door handle screws. You can always use steel wool or a steel brush to remove the primer from the screw threads.

Lightly apply a coat of primer to the sliding glass door handle screws

The Awe-Inspiring Topcoat(s)-Step 2

The whole point of this project was to get the sliding glass door hardware to match our interior door hardware, which is oil rubbed bronze.

Rust-Oleum makes pretty much any paint color you can imagine, including oil rubbed bronze, in a spray can.

20-30 minutes after applying the primer I sprayed the handles and screws with the oil rubbed bronze topcoat (even the can looks cool, a true indicator your paint job will be awesome, :))

Apply your topcoat of choice to the sliding glass door handles and screws

Always apply multiple light coats versus 1 heavy coat of paint. The light coats will dry quicker and provide the handles with a smoother finish.

The time you’re actually painting the handles will be less than a few minutes. I actually sprayed the topcoat of oil rubbed bronze (all of 1 minute) and then did my laundry in between successive coats.

This next step I absolutely love, REPEAT, LOVE!!!

The oil rubbed bronze topcoat will prevent rust from forming. But how do you protect this great topcoat from the Sun’s damaging UV protection?

Use Rust-Oleum’s clear coat. This fantastic product can also add a nice glossy look. I let the topcoat of oil rubbed bronze dry for at least 1 hour then applied multiple light coats of the clear coat to both the sliding glass door handles and screws.

Rust Oleum's clear coat protects the oil rubbed bronze from the sun

Let the clear coat dry for several hours or overnight before handling it. I found this out the hard way by picking up a door handle before it dried. My fingerprints were embedded in the topcoat.

But this was fixed by adding another light layer of clear coat.

Once your sliding glass door hardware is completely dry you can reinstall it.

Here’s our door handles before and after the new paint job.

Sliding glass door hardware before awesome paint job
Sliding glass door hardware after awesome paint job

I’m super pleased with how this small project worked out. It definitely didn’t take a ton of time and we got exactly what we wanted for $7.30.  A similar same door handle costs $119 at Home Depot if you want it in a bronze finish. Check out this screen shot I got from their website.

Home depot sliding glass door handle in oil rubbed bronze

I really like Home Depot but if I can save $112 then I’ll do it all day long.

What’s Next

Here are the Summary Points for this tutorial

  • Remove the screws that hold the sliding glass door handles together
  • Place the screws somewhere safe so they won’t get lost
  • Scuff the sliding glass door handle surfaces with 120 grit sandpaper
  • Use Rust-Oleum to prime the sliding glass door handles
  • Apply your topcoat of paint to the handles after the primer has dried (20-60 minutes)
  • Wait 1 hour or until the topcoat has dried and apply a clear coat for UV protection
  • Allow the clear top coat to dry for several hours or overnight
  • Install the newly painted hardware back on your sliding glass door

I hope you like this post and got some great tips on how to change your sliding glass door’s hardware on a budget.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.



Sliding Glass Door Hardware

  1. Sophia says:

    i need to do this to the front door lock .except that this particular lock cannot be removed …its part of a multi-lock how can i do what u did?….can my lock stay in place?
    covering the surrounding etc?
    thanks in advance

    1. Jeff says:

      Hi Sophia, could you send me a picture of your lock? My email is [email protected].

      Once I see the configuration I’ll be able to give you a good answer 🙂

  2. Ronke says:

    Thanks so much for this. I am about to paint a mailbox (the Pottery Barn envelope rust-prone one) and I was nervous because of course it has to open and close daily and I was afraid the primer/painting would jam up the hinges. Your warning to prime moving areas lightly resolved that anxiety. Also specifying which grit sandpaper was info I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else

    1. I’m super happy that my post was able to help you.

      When you’re done with the mailbox please forward me a picture. I’d love to see it because who knows when I’ll have to the exact same project 🙂

  3. Therese Alexander says:

    Jeff, I also would like to do my front door lock and can not remove it. Can you tell me what your reply was to Sophia?

    1. Hi Therese, I’ve done this before with a deadbolt but painted it the same color as the door: oil rubbed bronze.

      With that said, you could use painter’s blue tape with Edge Lock technology around the door lock set.

      3M has the blue tape with Edge Lock. I would scuff the door lock with 100 grit sandpaper then lightly prime with Rust Oleum spray paint. The key with door locks is to prime and paint as little as necessary. Then apply the same clear coat I used.

      I hope this helps.

  4. Judith Sullivan says:

    To keep track of your screws and avoid painting the threads. carefully lay your screws out on a piece of clear packing tape, with only the heads exposed. Cover with another piece of tape, again leaving the heads exposed. This method keeps your screws together and makes it easy to paint just the heads. Or, you could twist your screws into a bar of soap leaving only the heads exposed. The residual soap on the threads of the screws will make it easy to re-insert the screws at the end of the job.

  5. Diane says:

    How did paint on the door hardware hold up?

  6. Dave says:

    good tutorial though your handle looks black not bronze?

    How did it hold up with daily use?

  7. Samantha Glass says:

    Hi! CAn you please explain what you mean by nailing the handle into drywall or a piece of wood? DO you mean so that when you spray it, you hold it up in the air instead of laying on the ground?


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