How to Take a Door Off the Hinges

Whether in a commercial or residential application, doors play a significant role in the functionality of a house or building. Entries and exits are used constantly, and when a problem with a door comes up or there are plans to remodel, it’s almost inevitable—the doors must come off. 

This article will cover some of the main situations in which it’s best to remove a door and the steps to do it. 

Four situations where taking a door makes it easier

It’s normal to not want to disassemble a door, they are reasonably solid, and in most cases, they can be worked on easily. However, there are situations where it’ll make the project easier, even if you have to spend some time getting the doors off the hinge. 

Replacing a faulty hinge

Annoying creaks and squeals, having to lift a door to close it, and doors that won’t open easily are some of the symptoms of a faulty hinge. Even though it may seem possible to replace a faulty hinge while the door is still in place, it’s a much better idea to remove the door first. The main reason is that it is hard to determine which is the faulty hinge, so you may end up replacing a hinge and still have the problem. The second reason is that if the door is heavy, you can damage the working hinge, and you risk injuring yourself. 

Fixing door frames

Door frames will eventually need repair or replacement as they age. They have to deal with the impact of the door opening and closing, so they are subject to wear over time. Even if the door opens and leaves the door frame open for the work to be done, it’s a better course of action to take the door off the hinges. The reason is that, depending on the work being done, you’ll inevitably risk damaging the door or might have to end up removing the door anyways. 

Replacing or repairing doors

Professionals always take the doors off their hinges when working on a door. The reason is that door movement always ends up causing more work that causes the whole project to take longer. So if you are planning on working on your doors, maybe to paint or remodel them, do what the professionals do, and remove the door off its hinges. 

Upgrading hinges

At SOSS, we’re not fans of traditional butt hinges. Unfortunately, these inferior products are prevalent in homes, offices, and hotels across the world. If you’ve noticed the need to “adjust” your hinges a bit too often or researching the best quality materials for your build/remodel—invisible hinges have likely been in your search history.

Invisible hinges, especially those with quality construction, improve the look and feel of your project. Many choose SOSS hinges for their cabinets, doors, and even special projects (like a secret room).

Have the right tools at your disposal

Before trying to take a door off its hinges, you need to have the right tools at your disposal. The good news is that you don’t need many tools to get it done, so even if you don’t already have them, you can pick them up at your local hardware store relatively inexpensively. 

Here is the list of what you’ll need:

  • Hammer: a standard hammer
  • Screwdriver: you’ll need two, a flat head and a cross-head screwdriver
  • Pin removal tool: if you can’t find one, you can also use a large nail
  • Cardboard: any piece of cardboard will do, so if you have a cardboard box lying around, you can use it to help with the door removal.
  • Putty knife: any utility knife will work. 

Note: If you’re reinstalling the previous hinges (which we don’t recommend), you’ll likely need to adjust them. Here’s our guide on doing so, if you find yourself needing to do it.

Steps to removing the door

  • Start by closing the door and jamming some of the cardboard underneath the door. The cardboard helps support most of the door’s weight. That way, when you remove the hinges, the door doesn’t fall on the floor or carpet. 
  • Many hinges are painted over or have a clear sealant. Use the utility knife to cut through the paint. Doing this will make removing the pin easier and help you save time. 
  • Once you’ve done that, it’s time to remove the pin. Tap the pin using the hammer and pin removal tool (or nail). Take your time during this process since you want to ensure that you don’t damage the door with the hammer. The first couple of taps may not move the pin. Keep on going, and you’ll soon see movement from the pin. Once you’ve loosened the pin enough, you will switch to your flat head screwdriver. Continue tapping the pin from the bottom until it is fully removed. 
  • Once you’re done removing the pins on all the hinges, it is time to remove the door. If it’s a particularly heavy door, it would be a good idea to get some help to remove it. Heavy doors can be hard to hold onto and may fall on the floor and damage it, or in the worst case, fall on your toes. 
  • Finish by unscrewing the hinges from the door and the frame with your screwdriver. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to install the new hinges. 


Taking a door off its hinges is not a super difficult DIY job to do. But if it’s the first time you try, you should always remember to double-check the steps and do things slowly. Remember that there should be no need to force or hit anything hard. If you find yourself doing this, take a step back and make sure that you aren’t missing any steps in the process. 

Embarking in DIY projects is fun. Work carefully so that you don’t hurt yourself, and always get help if you feel like you’ll need it.  The first door you take off its hinge may be a bit of a challenge, but with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to get it done in no time.