Author Topic: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?  (Read 344 times)

BECABECA

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Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« on: December 03, 2018, 03:59:43 PM »
Iíve got a pocket door in my house that has been acting up. Guests are now frequently getting trapped in the bathroom because the door is off-kilter so it wonít open unless you push the top of the door closed while sliding the door open by the handle. If the parts were exposed, I assume the fix would simply be tightening up the bolt on one side so it hangs straight instead of hanging slightly at angle (when closed, the bottom of the door touches the door frame but the top of the door has about an inch gap from the door frame). But I donít know of any tools that can fit in the tiny gap at the top of the door where the bolts are, and everything Iíve found online about fixing pocket doors requires removing the molding around the door frame and even cutting into the drywall to access the hardware. Has anybody fixed a similar pocket door issue without doing all that?

robartsd

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Re: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 04:31:04 PM »
Sounds to me like the door is off the track on the side that always stays in the wall. I don't see a way to fix without taking apart the trim and/or cutting drywall.

lthenderson

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Re: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 07:22:22 AM »
You don't have to cut into drywall to remove a pocket door, at least not a properly installed one. To remove, you have to remove the stop trim around the door jam. Once that is off, you should be able to tilt the pocket door in the opening to lift it off the track if it is an older style J-track. If it is a newer one with carriages on top, you just take a screwdriver to pop the release tabs.

The only reason you would ever need to put into the drywall is if you are replacing the entire track which doesn't sound like the case here.

BECABECA

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Re: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 10:37:43 AM »
Sounds to me like the door is off the track on the side that always stays in the wall. I don't see a way to fix without taking apart the trim and/or cutting drywall.

Now that you mention it, I think youíre spot on... Now Iím wondering if I can put a small roller under that side of the door to hold it up without doing the real fix just yet.

BECABECA

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Re: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2018, 10:41:15 AM »
You don't have to cut into drywall to remove a pocket door, at least not a properly installed one. To remove, you have to remove the stop trim around the door jam. Once that is off, you should be able to tilt the pocket door in the opening to lift it off the track if it is an older style J-track. If it is a newer one with carriages on top, you just take a screwdriver to pop the release tabs.

The only reason you would ever need to put into the drywall is if you are replacing the entire track which doesn't sound like the case here.

Thanks for the advice, it looks like my pocket door style is the newer one with carriages and popping release tabs... with this in mind, exactly which trim pieces would you think I would need to take off? Iím trying to minimize this since the trim is nice natural wood and I will inevitably damage it a bit when I take it off. Thanks!

robartsd

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Re: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 11:56:22 AM »
Sounds to me like the door is off the track on the side that always stays in the wall. I don't see a way to fix without taking apart the trim and/or cutting drywall.

Now that you mention it, I think youíre spot on... Now Iím wondering if I can put a small roller under that side of the door to hold it up without doing the real fix just yet.
That sounds more likely to jam up somehow and make the problem worse. Better to accept the minor damage done by taking off the trim and do a real fix.

lthenderson

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Re: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2018, 12:32:53 PM »
You don't have to cut into drywall to remove a pocket door, at least not a properly installed one. To remove, you have to remove the stop trim around the door jam. Once that is off, you should be able to tilt the pocket door in the opening to lift it off the track if it is an older style J-track. If it is a newer one with carriages on top, you just take a screwdriver to pop the release tabs.

The only reason you would ever need to put into the drywall is if you are replacing the entire track which doesn't sound like the case here.

Thanks for the advice, it looks like my pocket door style is the newer one with carriages and popping release tabs... with this in mind, exactly which trim pieces would you think I would need to take off? Iím trying to minimize this since the trim is nice natural wood and I will inevitably damage it a bit when I take it off. Thanks!

Here is a video showing how to remove the trim and carriage style pocket doors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vWQBeV7cBM

BECABECA

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Re: Fix off-kilter pocket door without taking off wall?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2018, 11:56:22 AM »
Update: I buckled down and put the time in to fix it. The whole project ended up taking about 6.5 hours. I had to remove the top trim piece, as well as the 2 trim pieces just behind it so that I could access the roller hardware. My hardware was only accessible on one side of the door, so luckily I properly identified which way it was facing. I found this YouTube to be quite helpful: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UFTkedcSSps

By far the hardest part of the project was removing the trim gently without damaging it. It took me a good 3 hours to get the first piece off, it was secured with pin nails in 3 different planes as well as glue at the joints and lacquer on top. I was using a razor blade and a putty knife to gently pry, but ended up needing to get out a pocket knife to poke into the glued corner joint and then gently rock along the seam in order to get enough clearance to get the putty knife in.

Once I got the top trim piece off, I had to remove a decorative trim piece behind that and then an interior wood piece. Unfortunately the interior wood piece was secured with construction staples that for the life of me I could not get to come out (theyíd been shot deep into the wood). Removing this last wood piece took over 2 hours! I finally got it off by prying so I had just enough clearance to get a metal-cutting blade in so I could saw through the staples.

Once the trim pieces were out of the way, it was very easy to just tighten up the bolts on the one sideís roller, as the wrench access was on the side that I had removed. Once the door was hanging evenly, it was still a little stiff to close so I lubricated the tracks with white lithium grease, which did the trick. It slides open and closed like a dream now.

In reassembling the trim, I used two screws to secure the interior wood piece so that it can easily be removed the next time the door needs adjusting. Then I just slid the decorative trim into place beneath that without nailing it (the wood fits in at angled joints so the nails were overkill to begin with). Finally, I set the top decorative trim into place with just the existing nails into the wall that were already in it, and didnít nail it to the two interior wood trim pieces so that I can just take them out without needing to remove this top trim.

So the next time this pocket door needs adjusting, it will take me less than 30 minutes!