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How to UNinstall an OLD DOOR

Happy Monday guys!!! (The sun is shining here…so it feels extra happy!)


I have been meaning to share with you a little more about how we tore out all our old doors (in our last house in Colorado) and re-installed new doors (using a really simple technique, no shimming involved)…….but didn’t ever finish painting the doors until we were getting the house ready to sell a few months ago.  So, even though all the doors in the house had been installed for over a year, the whole paint thing was put on hold.  And I wanted to have the doors completely finished before sharing how to install those and trim them out, etc.


I decided though, to split this up….because the amount of pictures was getting out of control.  So, today, I’ll share with you how to UNinstall doors.  And tomorrow, I’ll show you how to install a pre-hung door, the really easy way.  (Even if you’re a beginner like we were.  And have close to no confidence/experience when it comes to handy work.  Seriously….such a cool tip for tomorrow, with NO SHIMMIMNG REQUIRED!!)


Anyway, UNinstalling doors always seemed a little daunting to me.  And seemed like something that if we screwed up, it would be hard to fix.  I mean, come on… can’t just rip things off walls, tear down doors, and expose the innards of a house!  Ack!!!  I think I was just afraid of what we would find under there.  And that maybe the wall would be crooked and the beams all wonky, and we’d have to somehow figure out how to fix all that.  Because when we tore all our doors out, it was after purchasing our very first house.  And our very first table saw/nail gun/hack saw/etc.  We had close to no experience with anything that had to do with house projects.


But let me tell you…..ripping out those old doors is very simple.  And can be done very quickly.  So don’t you dare let them intimidate you.  You’ve got this! (insert fist bump! :))




So, if you’re thinking of getting rid of your old doors, maybe it’s because your current doors look like this — builders grade, no detail, and absolutely boring.



Well, here’s what you do. 


First of all, there is trim (like a baseboard) attached all the way around the door.  (I didn’t actually realize this until we started tearing our doors out.  It just never even occurred to me that it was just trim around the door, to help cover the gap between the door and wall.)  And along the trim where it attaches to the wall, there will be a line of caulk.  Use a utility knife to slice the caulk and to help separate it from the wall.



Then, use a small crow bar (this is a nail claw that we’re using) to gently separate the trim from the wall, and pull the nails from the wall.



Remove the trim from all the way around door.



Then, use a paint scraper to remove the excess caulk from around the door.  (This can be done later….but don’t forget to do it, or you’ll have an uneven wall surface.)



Then, remove any extra nails that didn’t get pulled out when you removed the trim.



Next, use a sawzall (or a hack saw if you don’t have one of these monsters) and slide it between the wall and the door and cut through all the nails that were added to secure the door to the studs in the wall opening.  Saw along both sides of the door and along the top.



Now, pull the door from the opening.  It should just come right out!  Pretty easy, right???



Now, another trick that you’ll only realize that you need once you pull out the door and it starts wobbling everywhere……close the door back up and insert a screw into the frame around the door, into the actual door.  This will keep the door from moving and will keep everything together.  You’ll thank us later for this tip! :)



Then, go back and look inside the door opening and pound in any random nail pieces, to get them out of the way for the next door install.



Oh, and look down towards the very bottom of the door opening where the door met the ground, and clear out any debris.  Because most likely, you’ll find all sorts of treasures that the workers left inside the walls of the house when building it.  Yep, that’s a soda can top from the year 2000 (when it was built), I’m sure.  When we ripped down our old fireplace, we found old work gloves shoved in the wall……..and had a good laugh!  I’m sure there are McDonalds bags shoved in there somewhere too. ;)



And that’s it!  All ready for the new door to be installed!!!


Not bad, right??


I’ll be back tomorrow and show you a really simple way to install those new doors!  And repeat after me…..NO SHIMMING!!! :)



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
How to uninstall an old door
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  1. Laura Chipman says:

    Oh my goodness you are psychic! I was just looking into replacing one of our doors this month and then I saw this post. You are amazing and have perfect timing. I have a quick question. Tomorrow’s post will help, but we are replacing a regular door with a bi-fold door in our laundry room so that the door doesn’t open into the room and block some storage space. Do you know if it’s much different to do that?

  2. Maria says:

    Well our house was just remodeled right before we moved in. Even though you can tell they were rushing and some of the work is kind of sloppily done. Like the floors for one, but I won’t go into that. Thank goodness they didn’t just use those plain blah doors, they do have some detail. But I’m gonna have to repaint them once I get done unpacking because apparently they wrote on the doors (gasp!) in big bold letter with a permanent marker to be able to tell which door goes where. AND they only painted one coat of paint so you can totally still see the market on some of the doors. Oh and actually now that I think about it, this post may come in handy because they installed the bathroom door wrong. First off it open into the hall, not into the bathroom, which I can almost kind of understand because of the layout of the bathroom, but still, it would have been better to open up into the bathroom. And not only does it open into the hall, but it opens up on the side where there a bedroom like “right there”, instead of the opposite side where there is nothing but another wall. So if someone is coming out of the bedroom at the same time that someone else is coming out of the bathroom, the person coming out of the bedroom will get a door right smack in their face. I still haven’t figured out if it will just be easier to take the hinges down and switch them around to the other side of the door, or take the whole entire thing out and turn it around that way. Thanks for the tutorial Ashley, as always, great tips!

  3. Brenda says:

    We’ve done a lot of handiwork around our house as well, and one time (when fixing a leaky pipe in our storage room that had been haphazardly duct-taped by the previous owners) we found a box knife INSIDE the elbow of the pipe….I’ll give you one guess as to why we had a leak!! Yep, we figure that a worker on the roof accidentally dropped the knife down the pipe, and it punctured it when it got to the bottom. Gah!!! FYI, fixing pipes = not that hard, either, if you have the right tools. Luckily my dad was there to walk us through the relatively simple steps.

    1. Ashley says:

      You. Are. Kidding!!! That is so frustrating!!!! And to think, the problem was caused by laziness (or in your case, not telling his supervisor). Grrrr!!! But, glad you got it figured out….and even more happy to hear you guys tackled it yourself! ((high fives!!))


  4. Cheyanne says:

    Eeeeek!!! I hope that picture with the saw was just staged because there is a SERIOUS lack of protective eye wear in this picture! Also, this does look fairly simple. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ashley says:

      Funny you mention it because my husband (the one in the photo) is My Safety when it comes to eye wear and is always bugging me to grab some glasses before sawing, etc. So, yes, it was staged. But if was me in the photo, it may have been me really trying to saw through those nails and completely forgetting the eye wear. But I’m getting better….ha! :)

      But great reminder! :)


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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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