Learn How to Remove a Pocket Door

how to remove a pocket door

You don’t need to be an expert to remove a pocket door. However, if it’s the first time you do it, there’s always a risk of making mistakes. Therefore, it’s always necessary to know some basic tips before starting.

In the market there are a lot of different pocket doors. Some of them with slight modifications compared to others. But in general, they all work the same way. Therefore, the useful tips you will learn today are applicable to all pocket doors.

If you don’t want to pay someone else to remove your pocket doors, you’re in the right place. Today you’ll learn step by step what you should do to remove a pocket door safely and effortlessly.

In addition, you’ll know the definition of pocket doors, common uses and operation.

What is Pocket Door?

Pocket doors are a common type of sliding doors. They receive their name by the peculiar form how they get inside a pocket in the wall. They’re practical, elegant and easy to handle. They’re frequently used in closets, bathrooms and bedrooms.

All pocket doors use wheels or bearings that move through a rail. Some may have variations in the movement mechanism, but in essence they all follow the same principle.

Most pocket doors are of wood. However, it’s also possible to find PVC models on the market. These are lighter and easier to move.

Pocket door locks use manual locking systems. Some actuated by thumbturns and others by keys. To lock or unlock, you just need to turn the locking mechanism. Depending on the model, you can lock from one or both sides.

In terms of security, pocket doors aren’t exactly the best. Therefore, they’re mostly used for indoor purposes. However, with an adequate locking system they can provide privacy and comfort wherever they are.

In terms of shape and dimensions, pocket doors aren’t very different from swinging doors. Maybe the only difference between both types of door is the movement mechanism. Swinging doors using hinges, while pocket doors use wheels.

Step by Step Guide to Remove A Pocket Door

Whether you need to apply a thicker coating to your floors or simply want to change your old pocket doors, you’ll necessarily have to remove your old doors.

Many people believe that to do so, it’s necessary to tear down part of the wall. But they’re wrong. As stated before, it isn’t necessary to be an expert to adjust or remove a pocket door. With the right tools, anyone could do it without requiring much effort.

If you need to remove a pocket door and don’t want to call a contractor to do so, pay close attention. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to do it like an expert:

  • Using a drill or screwdriver, remove the plastic guide at the bottom of the door.
  • Then, use a utility knife and slide through the edge of the door trim. This serves to cut the layers of paint and remove the trim easily. It will also avoid tearing the paint from the wall during removal.
  • After that, use a spatula as a lever and remove the door trim.
  • Now you can remove the door. Depending on the movement mechanism, the way to do it may change. Here’s an explanation how to do it in each case:

Old Models

Old models of pocket doors are permanently attached to wheels that move through a rail. To remove this type of doors you just have to lift the door, so that the wheels leave the rail.

New Models

New models of pocket doors are set to the wheels or bearings through a safety clip. To open the mechanism and release the door, you need a screwdriver. Only you should push the tip of the clip to get the job done.

  • After removing the door, set the door trim again using screws.

As you can see, removing a pocket door is the easiest thing in the world. You don’t need complicated maneuvers or power tools to do it. You just have to encourage yourself to try.

Don’t worry if the door doesn’t come out so easily. Sometimes the wheels tend to get stuck in the rail. You may have to lightly knock on the door to release it. Also, try to be careful when removing the trim, because it breaks very easily.


If the screws are small, make sure you use the correct size screwdrivers. A too large screwdriver could wear the screws, leaving them unusable.

On the other hand, try not to apply excessive force during the removal of the trim and the door. If you aren’t careful enough, you could cause serious damage, such as deforming the wheels and the rail and breaking the door trim.

While the door is bigger, it’s heavier. Especially those of solid hardwood. In those cases, it’s always convenient to count on the help of another person. That way you could avoid any possible injury.


Removing a pocket door is always easy if you have the right tools. Before executing any work, don’t forget to wear the necessary safety equipment. Even in tasks as simple as removing a door, there’s always a risk of accidents.

If you carefully follow the advises in this article, you have nothing to worry about. You can be sure that everything will be under control.

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