We are tired of struggling with our old pocket doors. They are circa 1910, and are falling apart. We decided to repair them, and share our adventure with you!
How to Repair Old Pocket Doors
Our pocket doors are worn and crumbling. The track they were in was damaged so much that the wheels got stuck in places they shouldn’t, making it nearly impossible to use the door. We have no experience with fixing a pocket door, but we knew it couldn’t get much worse.
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They were LOUD, SQUEEKY, and VERY HARD to close.
There is a reason why so few people are brave enough to repair pocket doors themselves. It’s not an easy job. But, we always love to tackle the impossible. It seems that the saying is true, “the greater the risk, the greater the reward”. I was confident that this project would be well worth our blood, sweat, and even tears.
Our old pocket doors are roughly 8 feet tall. They are beautiful but made of solid wood, making them very heavy. The first real challenge was to remove them from their pocket.
First, we removed all of the trim surrounding the pocket doors. We did this to give ourselves more freedom to work while not having to worry about ruining the beautiful trim. We had hoped we could see into the wall and figure out how to remove them easily. As with most projects, easy was not part of the bargain.
We managed to get the pocket door off the track with the help of a screw driver and a little ingenuity. To remove the door, one person had to lift, while the other one popped the hardware off the top of the door. It was quite the workout.
The original wheels were rubber, and very misshapen and worn. Then again, I probably would be too after 105 years.
We ended up cutting a couple of extra holes in the wall at the end of the track, about 3 feet from the door frame, so we could see where the track was attached to remove it. We will cover the holes up with pictures until we can properly repair them.
After finishing this project, I found out that they now make tools that allow you to see into walls. That would’ve been a very nice addition to our toolbox before we began this project. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.
The track came out rather easily in the end, it was only attached in a couple of places with some rather weak bolts. I love the quaint graphic on this piece, I plan to do a bit of restoration on this piece and reuse the track somewhere more visible. We replaced old the track with a new steel one, it’s really for a barn door but works perfectly for this project as well.
We also found similar replacement wheels for the top of the door, and a couple of small ball bearings to help the door roll back and forth on the bottom edge. Not quite sure how those are going to work as of yet, we may not end up using them.
The old door had been missing a key which we found hidden behind the doorway trim. I guess someone put it there for safe keeping years ago. This was an unexpected bonus! It will be nice to have the option to lock the doors if we choose.
Here is a short list of a few of the tools that were very helpful during this project (and other home improvement projects for that matter):
I wish we would’ve had the electronic stud sensor while we were working on this project as it would’ve saved us a considerable amount of effort!
This project took several days to complete, but at last the doors are up. The only difference is the new bolts that now show at the top of the doors. I will simply paint them to match the existing hardware.
The repaired pocket doors are now so quiet and roll without any effort. It feels great to have this huge project accomplished!
Check that one off the bucket list, on to the next!
Did you enjoy this home renovation project? Check out some of our other projects in the posts below!
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