pocket doors for bathroom

Repairing Pocket Doors: A Comprehensive Guide

Fred Bahnson 

Pocket doors are a popular choice for saving space and adding convenience to your home. These doors slide into the wall when not in use, allowing for seamless integration with the surrounding decor. However, like any other mechanical system, pocket doors may encounter issues such as coming off track, getting stuck, or becoming misaligned. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to repair a pocket door and restore its functionality.

Understanding How Pocket Doors Work

When you operate a pocket door, it appears as though the door disappears into the wall. In reality, the door slides into a concealed box made of metal or wood known as the pocket. The pocket door system includes a metal track that runs along the top of the door opening, allowing the door to slide smoothly. Understanding the mechanics behind pocket doors is essential for troubleshooting and repairing common problems.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Before you begin repairing your pocket door, gather the necessary tools and materials:


  • Putty knife
  • Pry bar
  • Flashlight
  • Cordless drill
  • Drywall jab saw
  • Bubble level
  • Wrench set


  • Silicone lubricant spray
  • Replacement door rollers
  • Plastic shims

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to repair your pocket door:

1. Lubricate the Door Rollers

If your pocket door is difficult to open or close, the door rollers may require lubrication. Use silicone spray to lubricate each roller, avoiding oil or water displacement lubricants. Roll the door back and forth a few times to distribute the spray evenly.

2. Tighten the Door on the Track

Over time, the pocket door track may become loose due to repeated use. To tighten the visible portion of the track without removing the door or trim, use a cordless drill or screwdriver to tighten the screws located beneath the track. Exercise caution to avoid stripping the screws.

3. Remove Pocket Door Trim

For most pocket door repairs, you will need to remove some of the trim. Carefully remove the three sections of door trim, ensuring they can be reused. Employ a putty knife and prying tool to gently pry away the trim. Once the trim is removed, extract any nails or brads from the back side.

Note: Remove the vertical and horizontal pieces of trim adjacent to the door, not the wall trim.

4. Replace the Pocket Door Track (if necessary)

If the track is damaged or beyond repair, you may need to replace the entire pocket door track. Cut out a small section of the drywall next to the door opening to access the hidden part of the track. Remove the screws holding the damaged track and replace it with a new one. Save the cutout section of drywall for future wall repairs.

5. Fix Uneven or Misaligned Pocket Door

If your pocket door does not align properly with the door casing or exhibits unevenness, adjustments to the metal adjustable roller assemblies on the top of the door may be necessary. Remove the top pocket door trim and use a flashlight to locate the roller assemblies. With a wrench, turn the roller assemblies to raise or lower them, adjusting the door’s alignment.

6. Re-Level the Pocket Door Track

If the track at the top of the door opening is not level, the pocket door may not slide smoothly. Hold a bubble level against the track’s attachment point and add plastic shims where needed to achieve a level position. Once the bubble level reads level, replace the track and the pocket door.

Final Thoughts

Repairing a pocket door is a manageable task that can be accomplished with the right tools and instructions. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can restore the functionality of your pocket door and avoid the need for expensive replacements or professional assistance. Remember to exercise caution during the repair process to prevent any damage to the door or surrounding walls. With a little time and effort, your pocket door will be sliding smoothly once again, providing you with the convenience and space-saving benefits it offers.

Remember, maintaining your pocket door regularly and addressing any issues promptly can help extend its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. If you encounter more complex problems or are unsure about any step of the repair process, it is recommended to consult a professional for assistance.

Now that you have the knowledge and tools to repair your pocket door, go ahead and tackle this project with confidence. Enjoy the seamless functionality of your pocket door and the enhanced aesthetic appeal it brings to your home.