Pocket Doors

pocket-door-repair-pic3There are a couple of might make sense. One is that, it is easier to lubricate and free them up when they are not up inside the track.

The other is that you might think that running down to the home supply store and getting new ones is the easiest course of action. It could be, if you can find ones that match.

The article 'Troubleshooting Pocket Doors' has all of the topics related to this subject. If this is not your problem, try this link.

Pocket Door Hardware Concerns

One thing you need to realize is that there are no standards for pocket doors. Every manufacturer has different configurations for the tracks, hangers and rollers on pocket doors. Even the same manufacturer may offer multiple styles or change the configuration over time.

The Warning here, is that the rollers much match the track that is installed in the pocket door frame. They are usually not interchangeable.

About now you are saying, 'OK, I'll just replace the track'. Not a good idea most of the time. Replacing the track will usually involve tearing a wall apart and not be worth the trouble. Try to work with the rollers you have, or go online and try to find matching ones (not impossible, just tedious).

Removing  a Pocket Door

You cannot remove the rollers without taking the door off. To take the door off you will need to release the door from the hangers.

Different pocket doors will release differently. Some have a slide stop that you push back. Others will have a spring loaded catch that needs to be pushed back to release the door. See the article 'How To Remove a Pocket Door' for more information and instructions.

Some doors will slide off the hanger sideways, others will drop down. An older door may stick a bit, so be patient.

pocket-door-repair-pic5There is a retaining clip that holds the bracket, that is attached to the door, to the hanger. Release the retention clip over and the door, along with the bracket, will slide off the hanger. Pick up the door and angle it, working it out of the opening. When the second hanger is in the door opening you can remove the door from it.

Removing Pocket Door Rollers

With the door removed it is easy to remove the rollers. Roll the first one to the end and allow the wheels to drop down through the opening at the end of the track. Tilt the roller assembly downward, moving it forward until the second set of wheels drops down through. Repeat the process for the second roller assembly.

With the pocket door rollers removed, you can take measurements to find a matching set. You can also take them with you to the supply store to find ones that match.

You need a pocket door wrench when you work on you pocket doors. The thin profile will fit in the tight space above the door. You use the wrench to adjust the bolts on the pocket door hangers up or down.

For all the information on 'Pocket Doors' see the article 'Troubleshooting Pocket Doors'.

The wrench is similar to the tools you get with a put together furniture item. As a result, they often get lost. Do you know where your pocket door wrench is? What can you do if you don't?

Locating a Pocket Door Wrench

The first thing you want to try to do is find the wrench that came with the hardware for your pocket door. It is a small thing wrench that can be straight or may have a funny bend in it. It was in the bag of hardware that came with your pocket door. Check the tool and junk boxes.

It may be that you never had it. The builder that installed the door may not have left it for you. Or your house has changed hands a few times and the wrench is in the previous owner's tool box.

Purchasing a Pocket Door Wrench

Now that you need one you probably think it is a simple matter to just buy one. There are a couple of problems with this. First, there is no standardization for pocket door hardware. As a result, each manufacturer will use a different adjustment wrench.

To make matters worse, even if you know the manufacturer of your pocket door hardware, not many of them sell the wrenches by themselves. They will come in a kit.

Try to determine what brand of pocket door hardware you have. With that information you can search online for the wrench. Johnson Hardware and manufacturer of pocket door hardware does sell an adjustment wrench, try this link 'Johnson Pocket Door Wrench'. However, other popular manufacturers such as Stanley do not sell the wrenches individually.

You could purchase the entire kit, just to get the wrench. This will set you back $10 to $20 just to get the wrench.

Adjusting a Pocket Door Without a Wrench

It is possible to adjust the pocket door without the wrench. There are a couple of things you can try.

Using Needle Nose Pliers

They make needle nose pliers that have an offset nose on them that you should be able to get for less than ten dollars. If the door is not too tight, you might be able to get these to work. See the article 'Adjusting a Pocket Door' for information on how to make the adjustments.

Taking the Door Off the Hangers

Another option would be to take the door off the hangers to make the adjustments. This is obviously going to be more work. You may have to take the door down a few times before you get it right.


See the articles 'Removing a Pocket Door' and 'Adjusting a Pocket Door' for more information.

Using a Pocket Door Wrench - Summary

Hopefully you were able to locate your pocket door wrench and make the needed adjustments. If not, there are other ways to solve the problem. With a little extra effort you should have been able to adjust your door.

Pocket door guides are small plastic retainers that are installed at the bottom of the door jamb. As the door closes the guides keep the door going straight. Without the guides you may have difficulty getting the door to latch.

Not sure if this is your problem? See the articles 'Troubleshooting Pocket Doors' and 'Adjusting Pocket Doors' for a listing of related topics.

Purpose of Pocket Door Guides

Pocket doors are installed differently than most other doors. Instead of being attached at the side, they are hung from the top. Most pocket doors have two hangers and two sets of rollers at the top of the door.

The rollers allow the door to follow a metal track when the door opens and closes. The rollers keep the door aligned at the top.

The bottom of the door is another matter. There is nothing that keeps the bottom of the door in place, other than the pocket itself. Pocket door guides keep the door centered in the pocket.

Due to the design of pocket door latches there is a tendency to push the door away as it is being closed. This adds to the problem. For the latch to work the door needs to go in between the two stops at the strike side of the door.

Troubleshooting Pocket Door Guides

For the guides to work properly, they need to be set so that they hold the door snugly in the center. However, they should not rub or created friction on the door.

Check the guides at the bottom of the door frame. Is there a gap between the door and the guide? Can you move the door back and forth between the two guides? If so, you need to adjust the guides.

If the guides are loose, you may need to tighten them or replace the screws with a slightly larger one.

Adjusting Pocket Door Guides

Pocket door guides have a slot in them that allows for adjustment. Loosen the screw a turn or two until the guide can be moved. Move the guide until it is within the thickness of a heavy sheet of paper away from the door. Make sure that the door is in the center of the pocket. Use a tape measure to check the distance from the edge of the door jamb.

Adjust both guides so that the door is held in place without binding. Move the door back and forth to make sure there is no friction.

Installing Pocket Door Guides

It could be that you do not have any guides installed on your pocket door. Or, they may be worn or damaged. This is not a problem, they are easy to install.

Obtain a new set of pocket door guides at a home supply store or order them on the internet. They should only cost a couple of dollars.

Locate them so that they lightly touch the door when it is centered in the opening. Mark the location for the screw in the center of the slot. This will give you some adjustment room when the guide is installed.

Install the guides on both sides of the door, close too the bottom of the door (not the bottom of the frame). Leave a the thickness of a thick sheet of paper between the guide and the door, so that it will open freely.

Pocket Door Guides - Summary

Once you have installed your guides you will want to make sure that your pocket door is properly adjusted. See the article 'Adjusting Pocket Doors' for information and instructions.


Hopefully, you have been able to solve your issue with your pocket door. Adjusting the guides is not that hard and you should have been able to do it in a few minutes.

Installing are replacing the guides is not hard either. Once you located new ones the repair should have been simple.

pocket-doors-pic1When a pocket door is off the track, you will have difficulty opening and closing it. Depending on the weight of the door, it may be very difficult to move. To fix this problem the door will need to be re-attached to the hanger. The method will vary depending on which hanger has let go.

Not sure if this is your problem? See the article on 'Fixing and Troubleshooting Pocket Doors' for a complete listing of all the problems and the solutions for them.

Troubleshooting a Pocket Door Off the Track

Check the edge of the door that is by the door jamb. Is there still a gap between the corner of the door and the floor? Yes, then it is the back hanger that has released. If the door is on the floor at the jamb, it is the front hanger that has let go.

Locating the Front Pocket Door Hanger

The first thing you need to do is determine where the hanger is. If it is visible hanging from the guide track in the door opening, your job is much easier. Pull the hanger over into the center of the door opening.

The hanger may be inside of the pocket. You will need to get a flashlight to try and locate it. Look in the narrow space above the door that goes back into the pocket. The hanger will look like a bolt hanging down below the track.

Try to use a wire, screwdriver or something else to slide the hanger out into the door opening. Try not to push it any farther back into the pocket. It may take a little bit of patience. A wire with a hook on it is probably your best bet.

If the hanger is too far back in the opening to reach you will have to go to plan "b". Pick up the front edge of the door off the floor a little so it does not scrape. Slide the door as far as you can into the opening. The back roller and hanger will push the front one out to where you can reach it. Do this carefully, you do not want to pop the back hanger off.

When you have the front door hanger in the opening, you are ready to put the pocket door on the track.

Locating the Back Pocket Door Hanger

When the back pocket door hanger is off the track, it is a bit more of a problem. You are going to have to remove the pocket door to get the hanger out where you can work on it.

Moving the door when the back side is sliding on the ground is a little difficult. Try holding your foot against the bottom of the door and pull gently on the top of the door to lift the back side. Work the door slowly into the opening in this manner.

Bring the door to within a few inches of the strike side jamb. You may want some help at this point. Someone to hold the door while you release the retention clip on the door hanger. See the article 'Removing a Pocket Door' for more information on taking the door off.

After the door is taken out and leaned against the wall, you will have to locate the pocket door hanger. A broom handle works well for coaxing the hanger out of the pocket.

Use a flashlight so that you can see what you are doing. With the broom handle, slide the roller carriage out into the door opening.

Putting the Pocket Door Back On the Track

When you go put the door back on the track, you want to get the hanger on the top of the door aligned with the bolt and wheel assembly inside of the track. Putting a pocket door back on the hangers has an order to it like most other things. There are two sides to the door, the strike side (where the lock is) and the pocket side. With a pocket door you want to attach the hanger that is closest to the pocket side of the door.

Slide the pocket side hanger to where it is about six to eight inches from the edge of the jamb. You will need to angle the door, so that the strike side is out of the opening. You cannot get the door into the opening until the back hanger is installed. It is a good idea to have some help at this point.

There are basically two types of retention clips. One kind allows the hanger to slide sideways onto the hanger bolt. This type is more prone to coming off. The other type has the hanger going straight up onto the bolt. This type may require that you hold the retention spring open while lifting the door. You definitely want help with this style.

Make sure the retention clip is released and attach the clip to the back hanger. At this point you can start to slide the door into the pocket. You will have to pick up on the front side so that it does not drag on the floor. Be careful and adjust the angle of the door until it is inside the opening with the front edge four to six inches away from the strike side jamb.

After the back hanger is in place slide the door part way into the pocket. Repeat the process with the front hanger. Line up the front roller assembly with the hanger on the door. Make sure the retention clip is released and attach the front hanger.

Make sure the retention clips are engaged before you start to use the door. Otherwise, it will come off the track again.

Pocket Door Off the Track - Summary

Having your pocket door come off the track can be a little irritating. It is best to have help when you are trying to install or remove a pocket door.

Getting the roller carriages out of the pocket may have been the hardest part of this process. Hopefully, you were able to get your pocket door working properly again.

Knowing how to remove a pocket door can be a useful skill. You may need to take the door down to paint or you want to replace the hardware for the pocket door. Certain adjustments to the door may also require that you remove it.

If this is not your problem, you want to see the article 'Troubleshooting Pocket Doors' for other pocket door topics.

Pocket doors are installed differently than conventional doors. A regular door has hinges on the side that have pins in them. All you have to do is remove the pins and the the door will come off.

A pocket door is similar, except that it is supported by hangers at the top of the door.

Releasing Pocket Door Hangers

The pocket door hangers are attached to rollers that glide along a track that allows the door to slide back and forth. The jambs on each end of the door keep you from rolling it out the end.

The hangers are designed with a retention clip that holds the door hanging clip onto the bolt for the rollers. Unfortunately, every manufacturer uses a different type of hanger and clip. You will have to determine where the release for the clip is before you try and remove the door.

You may need a screwdriver to push the release lever. Some of the clips require that you hold them open until the door is take off the hanger.

Removing a Pocket Door

Make sure you have some help before you attempt to remove the door. The door is probably not too heavy unless it is a solid core door. Even a hollow core door can be a little awkward to handle. Just having someone to steady it will help a lot.

To remove the door you want to slide it until it is within three or four inches of being closed. Even when the door is closed, part of the door is still inside the pocket, making it seemingly impossible to remove the door.

With the door almost closed have someone hold the edge of the door while you release the clip that is closest to the strike side of the door. Once the clip is released carefully set the door down.

Pick the door up at the edge and slide it as far toward the strike as you can. Then pull the door toward you until the edge of the door is past the jamb. With the door at an angle, you can pull it completely out of the pocket.

Have someone hold the door and release the second clip. Carefully remove the door and lean it against the wall. That is all there is to it.

You put the door back on in reverse order of the way you took it down.

Putting the Pocket Door Back On

Similar to removing the door, it is a bit of a trick to get the door back on. See the article 'Replacing a Pocket Door' for instructions on what to do.

Removing a Pocket Door - Summary

Hopefully you were able to get your pocket door removed without too much difficulty. This job is not too hard, especially if you have handled doors in the past.

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