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How to remove a door while it's still closed

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

One of the easiest home improvement chores is replacing a doorknob.  It’s an easy and simple process…unless of course the doorknob breaks while the door is locked in the closed position!  This has happened to me twice now, so I put together this article in the hopes that it would assist other homeowners and greatly cut down on the frustration involved with this repair.

                First, start gathering up the tools you’ll need.  I recommend a standard size claw hammer, a rubber mallet, both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers, some WD-40, and an old towel.  This works best as a two-person job, so make sure to have a helper on standby.  To get started, use the screwdrivers to remove as much of the old doorknob mechanism as you can.  This will allow you to get a good look at what’s causing the problem, and will also let you talk to your partner on the other side of the door.

                Once that’s complete, take a look at the side of the door that has the hinge mechanisms facing out.  Most doors have three sets of hinges, which are placed at the bottom, middle, and top of the door.  These hinges hold the door to the frame, and are bound together by a long pin that runs downward through the center of each set.  Using the mallet and a Phillips head screwdriver, gently tap up on each of the pins until they slide up and out of place.  Remove each of the pins and set them aside for now.      

                Once the pins are removed, the door should be free-standing on the hinges, although the locking mechanism will prevent the door from sliding out of place.  Here’s where your teamwork will come in!  Once you’ve lubricated all three of the hinges with WD-40, position your partner on the side with the outward facing hinges, and have him hold the hammer’s claw so that he can pry outward behind one individual hinge.  Once you’re back on the other side, use your rubber mallet to pound on the inside of the door in about the same spot, which will knock the door loose from the hinges.  (I recommend placing an old towel over the door where you strike it, to avoid making ugly dents!)  Repeat these steps on all hinges, pounding from one side and pulling from the other, until the door slides out of the frame.

                Once that happens, you’ll be all set to remove the broken doorknob and replace it with a new product.  Re-hanging the door is much easier than removing it, but you will still need the help of your trusty partner.  Simply lift the door into place, and position the middle hinge pieces so that they’re even.  Once you’ve secured both sides of that hinge with one of the long pins, you can repeat the process for both the upper and lower hinges.  From there, it should only take a minute to check that you’ve installed the new doorknob correctly, and you’ll be back in business.

                With any luck, assuming you’ve got all the tools you need, this whole procedure shouldn’t take you much more than fifteen or twenty minutes.  If you found this article through a Google search and it helped you get the job done, please let me know with a comment below!


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