How to remove an old door

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  Replacing an old door with a new one will require you to remove the old door and door frame XL joinery internal door  

Whether you're adjusting a door for a new flooring; replacing the door leaf, frame or entire door set; or you need to repaint or trim parts of the door, you'll need to remove the old door from its frame. The type of operation the door uses will affect the way it is removed.


For more information on the different ways doors can operate see: House doors: The basics


If you plan to keep and reuse any part of the door assembly you should be extra careful not to cause any damage to those parts. Bent or broken parts of the frame, door leaf, or hardware can cause the door to fail. Doors can be heavy, awkward, and difficult to work with, so you might need to get someone else to assist you, especially with external doors.   


While most hinged doors can be removed in the same way as each other, sliding and folding doors are much more likely to have significant differences. Check with manufacturers or a building professional for individual doors if you have any doubts about removing them. If you have any instructions for old doors, it's advisable to check these before you begin.


Before you begin 


The first thing you should do is ensure the area is clear for you to work in, and that you have somewhere you can put the door once you remove it. This might mean you need to lay a cover on the floor to lie the door on. Alternatively, you might have a clamping tool that the door can be held in once you remove it, or a work bench to put it on.


If you're removing an external door, you will need to ensure you have time to complete the job and replace the door, or seal off the doorway so the entrance will be secured. Always check the new door is the correct size and has all the correct parts before you remove an old door. To seal an external doorway, you need plywood sheets which are about 155 mm (6") larger than the entry and can be screwed to the door frame or wall.

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How to remove a hinged door

  Replacing an old door with a new one will require you to remove the old door and sometimes the door frame as well  

Most doors in your home are probably hung on hinges. The hinges will sometimes use a removable pin which joins their pivot point or they will have a fixed pivot. If you intend to keep the frame and hinges in place, and the hinges use a pin, you will just need to remove the pin to get the door leaf off. However, if it's a fixed hinge you'll need to unscrew the hinges.


This guide will explain how to remove the door leaf, and hinges, while keeping the frame in place and intact. If your old door frame is in good condition you'll probably be able to reuse it and just replace the door leaf. 


If you need to remove the door frame and/or architrave see: How to remove an old door frame and architrave 


Step 1 - Support the door

  Removing an old door using a wall paper scraper to support the door as you work  

Support the door from below so that the weight is off the hinges. This can be done with a simple wedge, as long as it's strong enough, or with a specialist tool, such as a door lifter or door stand. You could also use something like a pry bar or brick bolster chisel to support the door by using it as a lever with a shim of wood underneath. 


Step 2 - Loosen hinges

Always start with the bottom hinge and work up when removing doors. Make sure the door is supported while you remove the hinges or they could be damaged.


Hinges with pins

If the hinges are held together with a hinge pin you can remove this either from above or below. Close the door and use a screwdriver with a thin tip or a flat-headed chisel to get under the pin head so it can be tapped upwards with a hammer. But, bear in mind most screwdrivers are not striking tools and can be damaged if used incorrectly. Another option is to use long pliers to grip the pin head.


To remove from below, a long nail or thin screwdriver can be tapped with a hammer to drive the pin upwards. Once the pin is out so far you should be able to pull it the rest of the way. Make sure you support the door so it doesn't fall over once the pins are removed.


Hinges without pins

If the hinges on your door don't have removable pins, you'll have to unscrew them from the frame. The best way to do this is to open the door, so the hinge leaves are exposed, and loosen all the screws in the first hinge part-way. This keeps the weight equally distributed over all screws. Now go back and fully unscrew and remove each screw fully. 


Step 3 - Remove door 

Carefully lift and remove the door from the frame and place it in the prepared area. If it is an external door it will probably be heavy and you might need to have someone help you hold it. Don't lean a door against a wall for long periods of time, especially if you plan to reuse it.

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How to remove a sliding door


Sliding doors will either be hung from above or mounted from below with rollers which allow them to slide along a track. To remove a sliding door, you need to be able to remove it from its tracks. Individual sliding doors can be very different from each other. 

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This guide looks at removing a sliding door with one stationary panel and one sliding panel, which is the typical configuration of patio sliding doors, and many internal sliding doors. They are usually mounted on rollers running on a track at the bottom of the door with a guide track at the top. Consult the manufacturer or a building professional for removing sliding doors which are different.  

      Wonkee donkee says "Most top hung sliding doors are  relatively light. They can sometimes be taken down by lifting and tilting them until they lift off the track at the top and can be removed."  

It's always a good idea to pad the floor where your working if you are removing a glass door, which can be difficult to handle and easily broken. A protective cover will also prevent any damage to the floor. Patio doors can be particularly heavy and it's likely that you'll need someone to help you. 


Step 1 - Remove fixings

You may need to remove any architrave, trim, or brick moulding from around the door first to be able to access the sliding doors, especially if it is an external door. Internal sliding doors can usually be removed without removing the trim.


For more information see: How to remove an old door frame and architrave


You'll need to remove any weatherstrips, seals, and brackets. Check around the frame to remove any pieces which keep the door on the track. If there are centre seals between the static panel and door, often at the top and bottom of the frame, these should be removed as well.


Step 2 - Remove sliding panel

You should be able to remove the sliding door by sliding it half way open, lifting it up, and tilting it out of the bottom track. You might need to use something like a pry bar to get the rollers out. Sometimes there is an adjuster screw at the bottom of the door, one on either side. These are adjusted to lower the door. This will move the rollers closer to the bottom of the door so it will be easier to lift out of the track.


Step 3 - Remove static panel 

Remove all the screws, brackets, and any remaining trim which holds this panel in place. It should now slide freely along the tracks. Move it to the centre of the frame and you should be able to lift and tilt this panel and remove it from the track in the same way as the moving panel. 

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How to remove a folding door 


The different types of folding door available mean that you might need to check with the manufacturer or a building professional to remove a particular design. This guide looks at how to remove a typical internal folding door with two door leaves. External doors will be much heavier and will probably have a more complex set-up due to their increased security.


Internal folding doors are usually fitted at one side with pivots at the top and bottom of the door being held in pivot brackets. They then have a track at the top that the door moves across when it's folded together or opened. The door is held on the track with another pivot. External folding doors can be very heavy and may have a more complex setup which will require you to consult a building expert or the manufacturer for guidance in removing the unit. 

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Step 1 - Detach from track

You need to get the pivot which moves across the track out of the track. Sometimes this pivot can be pushed down from above to release it, or you should be able to pull the bottom of the door leaf towards you and tilt the door until the pivot comes out of the tracks.


Step 2 - Detach remaining pivots

You should now have a door which is only held at one side, with a pivot sitting in a bracket at the top and bottom of the door. If there is a locking level on the top bracket you can release this to free the pivot. 


Otherwise, check to see if the pivot can be pushed down to release it from the bracket, or tilt the door across the doorway until the pivot can be released. You should now be able to lift the door so the bottom pivot comes out of its bracket. 

      Wonkee Donkee says "Depending on the set up of a particular door you might need to follow these steps in a different order; for example, you might need to release the bottom pivot from its bracket before you release the other pivots."  

Step 3 - Remove track and brackets

Once the door leaves are out you will have a track at the top of the frames, which is usually fixed in with screws. Remove the fixing and pull out the track. You should also be able to unscrew the top and bottom brackets.

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