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How to Remove French Doors

Anyone deciding to install new French doors or windows has to remove the old components and profiles first. Only then it is possible to exchange windows and doors with other respective models. If you have handicraft skills and this detailed manual, you can save money for professionals and easily remove a door or window effectively on your own. Whether the components are made of modern aluminium, uPVC or traditional wood makes no difference. This manual shows all necessary tools for a step-by-step removal of your French door. For the renovation or removal procedure, you need to use the appropriate tools and materials. You should make sure you have the following elements:


  • Foil or sheets
  • New French doors


  • Crowbar, hammer, pincers and screwdriver
  • Electric rip saw (reciprocating saw)
  • Hand-held milling machine
  • Ladder

French doors are often very massive elements. Two additional helping hands are therefore as important as the necessary materials and tools. Working in a group of two is especially helpful when you need to remove the heavy casement of your French doors.

1. Preparation

As the removal procedure for windows, you will have to use heavy equipment to remove patio or French doors. You should therefore cover the floor and furniture with protective foil, in order to prevent damage from stone fragments. Before you remove the old components it is very important to re-measure the reveal and compare it to the dimensions of your new aluminium, wooden or uPVC doors. After making sure that the measurements match, you can start with the next steps (Fig. 1):

You need help to determine the correct measurements of French doors? You can find the details here.

2. How to remove the Casement

French doors basically consist of hinges, a locking mechanism, stay arm, casement and profile. The first step is to lift off the casement from the hinges. Depending on the age of individual construction components, the procedure may differ. In particular, knowing whether the system features a tilt-and-turn mechanism or not is very important.

a) How to remove from older French Doors

If the French door has a tilt-mechanism, please follow these steps:

  • Unlock and open it, moving the handle into its tilt position afterwards (Fig. 2a).
  • Now you can lift up the casement until you can remove it from the corner bearings (Fig. 2b).
  • Take off the stay arm. The stay arm is the metal rod holding the system in tilt position.

If the French door cannot be tilted, please consider the next step:

  • Open the casement and lift it up until it can be removed from the hinges.

Hinges are usually covered with oily substances. Please consider using gloves to prevent clothes, walls and floors from soiling.

b) How to remove from newer French Doors

The removal of modern wooden, aluminium or uPVC doors is usually less complicated in comparison to older systems. But you will need pincers and a screwdriver.

  • First you need to unlock and open the door – no matter if with or without tilt mechanism.
  • Use pincers to remove the plastic cover that protects the stay bearing at the upper hinge.
  • Once the plastic cover is removed, please pull the respective pin out downwards from the stay bearing (Fig. 3).
  • Now you can lift off the entire casement from the corner bearing.

3. How to remove the Frame

The frame is firmly embedded in the masonry and stabilizes the door. This is why the removal of the frame from the wall requires greater effort and certain techniques. For the procedure you will need the hand-held milling machine and the rip saw, as well as a crowbar.

Make sure to use safety glasses and working gloves during the removal to protect yourself from flying particles.

  • Please make sure that roller shutters or similar construction objects do not affect the procedure. Remove existing roller shutters, which may be mounted or connected to the French door (Fig. 4a).
  • The frames of French doors are normally embedded at the sides only. Cut along the sides of the doorframe, using your rip saw of milling machine. If you find more connections it will be necessary to also cut at the top and bottom as well (Fig. 4b).
  • For easy removal, cut the frame into several pieces with V-shaped cuts to avoid jamming during the next step. Six cuts are normally enough, once on the bottom, once above and twice each on either side (Fig. 4c).
  • Use the crowbar to lever out the frame pieces from the wall opening. If the pieces are still connected in certain parts, cut in the respective area with the rip saw or hand-held milling machine again (Fig. 4d).

Particular attention should be paid to personal safety when handling the massive casements of balcony doors. Make sure to wear sturdy footwear during the removal to be protected from falling parts.

This step-by-step manual will help you to remove French doors like a professional. The procedure is also applicable for the removal of wooden, uPVC or aluminium windows. Do you want to learn more? This detailed video will give you further information.

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