Pocket door handles come in two styles, and both are flush-mounted. The first is called a concealed handle or pull, because it allows you to open the door with a latch that flips up when pushed. The second type of pocket door handle is a flash poll, which is embedded in the door and provides a recess for you to use to slide the door.
Step 1 - Identify Handle Type
The first step is to determine what type of pocket door handle or pull you have. Take careful and accurate measurements of the door and hardware so that you can buy or order the proper replacement. Usually, it is just as easy to replace the entire door pull as it is to repair or replace a single part.
Step 2 - Taking Accurate Measurements
Taking accurate measurements is especially important if you're replacing or repairing a pocket pull or handle on an antique door. Door thicknesses, screw sizes and hardware materials have all changed over the years. Often new replacement hardware is thinner or shaped differently than the pull you may already have.
Start by getting an accurate thickness of the door down to the sixteenth inch. Determine the setback of the door handle and the diameter of the door pull. These are the measurements that will help you get the right replacement parts for your pocket door.
Step 3 - Removing Your Pocket Door Handle
For concealed pocket door handles, start on the front edge of the door and remove the two screws holding the strike plate. Using a flat-head screwdriver, carefully pry out the handle. You can use the flip-out handle to pull while you pry out the housing. A small pry bar is also handy in this process.
Pry a little at the top, then a little at the bottom switching back and forth until you've removed the concealed handle unit. Flush pull handles often have two screws on the inside. For hardware that has been painted over and over, the challenge is to find the screws and carefully remove them.
Use a wood chisel to scrape paint out of the track of your screw. Use the proper size screwdriver with a longer handle to get the leverage you need to loosen the screw.
Step 4 - Installing Your New Pocket Door Hardware
Installing your new pocket door hardware is relatively straightforward. Following the manufacturer's instructions, replace each section in sequence. Make sure all of your screws are tight and flush so they do not catch on the doorjamb for your clothes.
If the wood is damaged, where you need to replace screws–fill it first with wood putty and let dry. Use a drill to pilot your screw holes so you can get a nice tight fit. Occasionally you might need to chisel out some extra wood around the strike plate or to shim it out if your new hardware is not as thick as the old.
Hint: If you need very thin shams for your strike plate or flush-mounted pocket polls. Try using shirt cardboard or balsa wood. If you're trying to repair previously painted, but otherwise working, pocket door pulls, take them apart, soak them in a citrus paint stripper and gently brush and clean.