Remove a door knob that has no screws???

My wife and I just bought our first house. It is about 40 years old, but is in surprisingly good shape. One of the first things we did was replace all of the door knobs on the doors that go outside. However, once we got to the front door, we ran into a problem. That’s right, as the title of this post suggests, the front door knob did not have any screws on it for removal…

Old doorknob, outside   Old doorknob, inside - no screws!

I guess technically it does have screws for removing the latch, but those did not affect the rest of the doorknob. It turns out that doorknobs like this are pretty common in older houses, and you usually only have to find a slot behind the interior knob, and push in on the slot with a pointy object while simultaneously pulling on the knob. This I did, the knob did come off, but then nothing else would budge. It turns out that our door knob was of the Schlage brand, which used to implement a little tomfoolery with their knobs. In addition to the slot, they also include a little wire that you must depress to remove the knob’s rose (the big round part that is flush against the door.) Pushing/leveraging the wire in will probably work best with a very small screwdriver (that’s what I did) or a straighten-out paperclip (per Mo’s comment below.) Click the images below.

The old doorknob, spot the slot and wire.   The old doorknob, with the slot and wire labelled.

After pressing the wire in, I had to put a knife blade under the rose to pry it off, because it was a little bit stuck to the door’s wood stain, but it took very little force. Here are the pictures of the knob before and after removing the rose:

Doorknob with knob removed.   Doorknob with knob and rose removed. Look! Screws!

That’s right! There were screws under the rose! It was all a cinch after that. Just unscrew the screws, and pull the knob out from the exterior side of the door. Normally, the inside part and outside part will separate and pull out in their respective directions, but this old doorknob was pulled out entirely from the exterior side of the door. The latch pulled out simply after removing its screws. Here is the new doorknob that we replaced it with:

New doorknob.

123 thoughts on “Remove a door knob that has no screws???”

  1. Hey folks I thought I’d add my similar but different solution. My shaft had a slot plus a pin hole. After forcing one doorknob out to examine it, I found that the key was the pinhole. I put an awl in the hole and turned the knob back and forth while pulling it, and it neatly slipped out. Good luck!

  2. Okay, seriously. I was completely dumbfounded until I read this. Your explanations and pics are perfect. Thank you!

  3. Thanks! We couldn’t get the rose off because it was stuck in thick paint. The photos and text told us we were on the right track, and gave us the courage to give it a hard whack to break the seal.

  4. WOW! Thank you soooo much. My husband will be so proud of me!! 🙂 Of course I will tell him I had help from your wonderful website.

  5. Thank you! I’ve been struggling with my bathroom door knob for about half an hour, trying everything. All the other sites I went to made no mention of the wire that was on the knob, but it knew it must be there for something. I found your site and had it off in seconds. Thanks again!

  6. Thanks so much! Just one more hint for everyone because I even had a hard time getting the latch out of the door after so many years – just use a small hammer to gently loosen it from the backside.

  7. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I removed the handle this morning, then started pushing in the wire thinking, “Something should be happening now…” I tend to break things from forcing them, so I googled to you. Looks like I would’ve been right. Linking to you!

  8. you are a LIFE saver. I’ve been playing with this door for about a day and a half and figured I’d google my problem (since nothing else worked). My door didn’t have a slot but rather a lever that I had to push to a slot. Nonetheless this site helped tremendously. Just wanted you to know that this information still is relevant (even years later).

  9. Thanks…. I had the ring part figured out, but wasn’t sure about the slot to remove the knob. Seeing this gave the confidence to just push in the slot and yank the knob as hard as I could. 2 thumbs up!

  10. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Your instructions, pictures and some elbow
    grease did the trick! We had despaired of being able to replace our knobs.

  11. Thank you so much because I fiddled around for about 1/2 hr trying to figure out how to get this 30 yr old Dexter closet door knob off and after reading your blog, I was trying to pull the “wire” out, but you are supposed to push it in. As soon as I pushed in on both places, voila!!, the knob slid off with some coaxing!! I didn’t have to call a guy who acts like you are stupid if you don’t know how to do this stuff. I’m not stupid, just ignorant. You can fix ignorance.. Just go to mike-thomson.com/blog/?p=38 Thank you Mike!!

  12. The little SLOT on the neck of the inside knob with the extending spring-loaded tab to push-in to remove the handle on the old set! THAT was the KEY! Everywhere else they talk about a hole for a paper clip!

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