A Handyman DIY Tutorial on How to Remove and Install a Pocket Door
Reinstalling a pocket door that fell off the track.
How to remove, then install a pocket door.
Bud Spofford, Housecalls Home Services
Making a plan for reinstalling a pocket door.
A "traditional" swinging door takes up floor and wall space, which is why pocket doors are handy.
A pocket door will literally "fit right in" to solve room planning problems. Pocket Door hardware is
designed in many different finishes and specifications to meet the needs of most situations.
Pocket Doors are particularly well suited for dining rooms, master bathrooms, wardrobes, kitchens
or anywhere  a swinging door is not desirable. The use of a pocket door will free up previously
unusable wall and floor space with a clean and modern appearance.

STEP 1. (FIG 1)
Evaluate the door. A pocket door off the track is very common. I get maybe 4 calls a year to
reinstall one that has fallen off the tracks. In this example my customer had her arms full of
groceries and tried to open the door at the bottom with her foot. This caused the door to tilt and
one side causing the door to lift off the hook
(FIG 7) fell out of the track hanger.

The wood casing is made of poplar and in very good condition, as was everything else in the
house. The last thing I wanted was to ding the wood. In order to get to the track of the pocket door
I had to remove some of the door casing. To do that I carefully inserted a few wood shims behind
the casing
(FIG 2, FIG 3) just enough to get the claw of the hammer behind the wood.
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Pocket Door Fell Off the Track
Removing wood trim
Note how a shim was placed on the wall to prevent any abrasion to the drywall. (FIG 4) At this step
care must be taken to not pry too forcefully.
Shims are used to remove trim
Pry off door trim with a straight claw hammer
Place the claw of the hammer behind the piece and gently remove it. Or you can use a pry bar

NOTE: There are curved claw hammers and straight claw hammers. I always use a straight claw
for this type of job, curved claws for removing nails in rough framing.
pocekt door with trim removed
Remove poceket door trim carefully
FIG. 6
Removal of the vertical casing to the casing to get the door out of the pocket. When I removed the
door that is when I discovered the pocket door glide (FIG. 7) had fallen off the track. Note the
hook is not very deep.  This explains why the door came off.
Pry the pocekt door track to get the rollers in
Pry bar used for installing a pocket door
Pocket door roller
pocket door roller
FIG. 2
FIG 3.
FIG. 5
Clamp used to install wood trim
Lubricate the pocket door track
pocket door u-channel or track
Reinstalling the roller was not easy. I couldn't get the track out and there was
door frame. Notice was completed it is a matter of hanging the pocket door and
reinstalling the casing. In (
FIG 12) you will see my pry bay under the pocket
door and the other end under my foot. door on the hook. It makes the job so
much easier. Also notice I put a shim on the floor door on the hook. It makes
the job so much easier. Also notice I put a shim on the floor so the pry bar
would not make an indentation to the beautiful wood floors.so the pry bar would
not make an indentation to the beautiful wood floors.

Close the door and adjust by raising or lowering the roller thread.

The nails have to be removed from the casing. I always pull my nails through
the back of the finished piece.
(FIG 11). I happen to have a pry plier but you
could use regular pliers or another something else. Don't make the mistake of
trying to pound the nails through to the front. This will cause the hole to
become ragged and it is a difficult job to conceal it later.
FIG 10
How to remove nails from wood trim
FIG 11
door back on track it is time to put the
use a clamp to get the trim to remain
stationary while I nailed it in place.
You might find the same in your
repair. My suggestion is to never try
to force a piece and nail when a
clamp is nearby. If you try to force the
piece and drive a nail in it it may split
the wood and ruin careless, after all it
my job to give the customer the best
possible repair.

hammer, nails and a nail set to
reinstall the casing. I am still old
school in many respects and have
found that if I rely on the pneumatics
too much my skills with a hammer are
not quite as sharp as I would like them
to be
FIG 12
FIG 13
Nail set for trim
Putty to cover nail holes on trim
Bud's Tip: Before you tackle this type of project on your own home or for a customer this one
simple tip may save you the aggravation later -know your tool inventory.  I am a professional and
sometimes I am caught short handed. It has happened to me on a job on more than one
occasion. It's embarrassing to show up at the job, take down a door and tell my customer  I don't
have the tool I need to complete the job. I have learned my lesson the hard way.     

Some of my DIY customers will
attempt various repairs around the
house only to find that the job is
much more difficult than they
anticipated. At first it seems easy,
after all what is there to swinging a
hammer. After all it is a simple
matter of holding a nail in one hand
and pounding away with another.
Simple enough, huh?

For anyone who has used a
hammer and missed the nail will
usually end up with a nice 'divot' or
dent in the wood-yeah, it sucks. My
old boss called them camel tracks.

Swinging a hammer to hit the nail  
is no different than swinging  golf
club to hit the ball, for a perfect
shot ti takes good solid contact on
the  'sweet spot.' Professional ball
players know they must practice on
a regular basis  to hit  the sweet
spot with any regularity.

Believe it or not a hammer too has
a sweet spot, and if you have not
done this kind of work before than
your sweet spot might be better left
in the toolbox.  
To complete the job I use my nail set to countersink the nails. Once the nails
are sunk it is time to get out the putty and fill the holes. I keep a god supply of
putty on hand.

There are all sorts of ways to fill nail holes. For finished wood like this poplar
the crayon is my favorite choice. It is soft, pliable and I can get it deep in the
hole so it doesn't fall out later. Then with a clean, soft rag I rub off the excess
and it is almost invisible.
Pocket door reinstalled and complete.
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"Of the thousands of home projects I have done the pocket
door can be a challenge. The pocket door featured here was
one of the more difficult. The woodwork around the door was in
perfect condition and required care and patience to remove it.
The job was a success and the customer is very satisfied."