I moved into a house with a number of sliding doors. NOT external, sliding glass doors like the sort that lead onto a porch. These are the wooden kind that separate rooms and slide into the interior of the wall when opened.

The problem is that several of these doors are essentially broken. They seem to have come off their track somehow and can barely be moved more than a foot in either direction. No amount of jarring and shaking the door has produced any effect in getting them back on the track properly.

Without tearing the entire wall open, is there any way to repair these doors so that they slide open and closed with silent ease, as they ought to?

  • 2
    Are you able to see the track on which the door slides back and forth on? It may have become 'unhinged'. Pictures would definitely help as these doors (pocket doors) come in different flavors.
    – n00b
    Jan 4, 2013 at 20:12
  • I'll see what I can do. Cameras aren't readily available in my family, lol. Jan 4, 2013 at 20:33
  • 2
    If you do get pictures, make sure they're well-lit and well-focused, so that you don't have to re-acquire a camera and do them over again, as these sorts of details will be hard to capture to start with. Aim a lamp into the track to add some general lighting, for example, and check the pictures for blur at full-scale on a computer afterward.
    – Kevin Reid
    Jan 9, 2013 at 16:39
  • @n00b is right, there are several different forms of pocket door hardware. Fixing your issue could be very different than the answers posted below. Can you tell us roughly how old the pocket doors are and where you are located? This may help a bit.
    – John Smith
    Jul 29, 2013 at 21:06

2 Answers 2


This type of door is called a pocket door.

The first possibility is that the door has simply come off the track or the door has come unattached from the hanger that runs along the track. In that case you can figure out which side of the track it should be hung from and pick the door up and rehang it or attempt to fish the hanger out of the pocket and reattach it to the top of the door.

The more likely case, in my experience, is that the hardware is broken and will have to be replaced. Here is a good guide to replacing the hardware on a pocket door: http://www.ronhazelton.com/projects/how_to_repair_and_replace_a_pocket_door

  • 1
    This would be a better answer if you could summarise the page you link to in the answer. Then if the page ever moves or gets deleted we still have the information. Please don't just copy the page and please leave the link as a reference.
    – ChrisF
    Feb 8, 2013 at 22:48
  • We call them cavity sliding doors down here in NZ.
    – hookenz
    Jul 2, 2013 at 23:20

We had a similar problem with our pocket doors.

(source: popularmechanics.com)

Using a bright flashlight I was able to see that the rear carriage slipped off the track, likely due to someone pushing the door closed (from the bottom) with too much force. In my case I was able to pull the door out enough to grab the top part of the door. By pulling the top part of the door away from the pocket and pushing the lower part of the door towards it, I was able to raise the carriage up enough to get it to seat back on the track. I had to twist a little (push the bottom of the door away from me too) to get the top of the door to move in the direction of the track.

In my case, I was able to look at the track as well as look at how the other door worked to get an idea of where the wheels were and get an idea of how it slipped off the track. If your doors are really hard to push, both wheels may have come off. In this case, I'd suggest working on getting the outside wheels back on the track first by lifting the door and moving the top to the left and right to get it back on track.

The image above has clearer labeling of the door parts, but the image below gives a better view of how my doors are designed (they only have a single wheel and a track large enough that the wheel can jump out).

(source: lustronpreservation.org)

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