Pocket Door Wrenches: How, Why, and Where Do You Use It?

The handiest of tools, pocket door wrenches are a type of specially angled, spanner-like tool that you use to level and align pocket doors.

These specialty wrenches are narrow, flat, and can fit in small or narrow openings.

This is exactly what you need since pocket doors are designed and installed such that they almost disappear behind wood trim and door jambs.

pocket door wrench example

Universal wrench used for pocket doors and sliding closet doors – Check and Buy Here.

These are also called pocket door adjustment wrenches and typically come with two heads.

One is a closed circle for certain types of bolts, while the other has an open-ended section for larger bolts.

What is a Pocket Door?

level pocket door example

It’s a sliding (also called slider or rolling) door, which, when opened, “disappears” into a space inside the wall.

These doors are hung from the top of a recessed track in the door frame and are moved across to open and close them.

Some are attached to the ground alone or the ground and ceiling if the door is heavier and wider than average.

Pocket doors are handy when you don’t have room for a hinged one, which needs to swing open and closed.

They can also be used as design elements with neat, clean lines if you want an uncluttered look.

What Exactly Are Pocket Door Wrenches Used for?

The pocket door wrench is used to adjust the bolts on the door hinges up or down.

Turning the nut clockwise will raise the door, and it’ll be lowered when you turn it counter-clockwise.

Take care that you don’t end up with a crooked door!

Remember to turn each nut by the same amount, so that one hanger isn’t raised more or less than the other.

wrench on pocket door

Pocket Door Wrench Sizes

You would think that this would be a simple thing to find. However, the type of pocket wrench required varies.

Every pocket door comes with its own kit, which includes rollers, a track, hangers, a header assembly, and framing members.

It’ll also come with its own pocket door wrench, which you use to install it.

To make things even more complicated, each manufacturer has its own design of wrench.

Typical size diagram

Like the tools that come with furniture that needs to be assembled, it can easily get lost.

You may be in trouble if you have lost the pocket door wrench. You can contact manufacturers for replacements, but they usually only sell these wrenches in sets.

Otherwise, you’d have to buy an entire door kit, which is expensive.

Another reason to keep your pocket door wrench handy is that you’ll need to do maintenance on your pocket door every six months.

The track needs to be checked for any dirt or obstructions, and the system’s tightness may need adjusting.

How to Fix a Pocket Door

  1. Remove the casing or trims on top of the door and the sides, taking care that you don’t damage the drywall or the paper on it.
  2. Lift the door up and off the rollers. (This may take some wiggling around!)
  3. Take out the rollers and replace them if you need to. If you’re replacing the whole door, put them on the new door in the exact same spot as they were previously.
  4. Put the door back on the tracks and adjust the rollers using your pocket door wrench, if you need to. Check the door height, and make any final adjustments.
  5. If your pocket door won’t stay on its track easily, you can do some basic steps to fix this.
  6. Replace the molding of the door frame using an 18-inch brad nailer (like a nail gun, but it shoots out thinner nails). You can also use glue to do this. Fill in any holes.

FAQs

What if you can’t find the proper tool? Is there a pocket door wrench alternative?

You can try needle nose pliers if the door isn’t too tight on space.

Super thin wrenches may also do the trick but they won’t be ideal. Small hands will go a long way if this is all you have!

The more difficult alternative would be to take the door off the hangers and make the adjustments.

Bear in mind that you may need to take the door down a few times before you get it level.

What can go wrong with pocket doors?

Unfortunately, pocket doors are well known for malfunctioning.

Over time, especially when used often, they can fall off their tracks, become hard to lock, get stuck, or screech when rolled. Sound like regular sliding door issues?

Sometimes the bolts need to be tightened so that the door can be lifted and adjusted. Handy pocket door wrenches do the trick!

Do pocket door hardware manufacturers offer online support?

Yes, companies like PC Henderson and Johnson have a lot of information and instructional videos on installing pocket doors, as well as a range of pocket door wrenches to purchase.