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. Thank you very much. Your directions are perfect. I searched quite a bit before I found yours. The idiosyncrasies of the Schlage mechanism were the clincher. Can’t say thanks enough.

  2. THANK YOU! One quick Google search and before her bedtime book was over my niece’s doorknob was turned around so she has to stay in her room to nap. THANK YOU!

  3. You will need to get the new doorknob kits for your door and have a screwdriver handy. Both Phillips and Flat heads will do. Flush against the door on each side there is a collar like trim that hides the hole. You need to detach this first.

  4. Hey there! I really want to thank you for posting this, and for being at the top of the bing websearch I did! Very helpful. As soon as I found those little slots I was on my way. Thank you again!!!

  5. The people at Schlage who designed that devilish system must be very evil. Without the information here, would never have been able to do it. Was beating my brains out for weeks on this. Curses to that company and their vile mechanism!

  6. This was such invaluable advice. I got as far as the slot but then didn’t know about the wire. Everything seemed stuck. I will certainly be glad I found this. I knew it was a Schlage (because of how the key looked) and am SO hoping I can just replace it with another Schlage knob without changing the mechanism. It is set in 7 inches, and THAT is certainly not standard any longer.

  7. I wish this advice worked for me. My Schlage must be a different model because it has a tiny hole very close to the knob and try as I might to push a nail into it nothing happens and the knob stays stuck. I am close to breaking it so I will stop and hope for some more advice.

  8. I’m a very “handy” chick, but the old, screwless doorknob had me stumped for days! I found your article, and I’ll be danged if I didn’t have that doorknob off in under 1 minute! Thanks so much!!

  9. thank you SOOO much! you are a lifesaver. i am a college student, 6 hours away from my dad who usually does this stuff. This door knob took me an hour to figure out how to remove – thanks to you! Much appreciated.

  10. OMG……I recently had my nosy stepkids move in and they seem to enter my bedroom every time I leave the house. I got a locking door knob to find that I couldn’t access the screws to replace it and my husband didn’t have a clue. I’ve changed many door knobs and the other sites were useless!! Thank you very much!!!!! 🙂

  11. Thank you so much for posting this article. You saved me much time and much frustration. Your instructions and pics made the job a piece of cake instead of a nightmare. Many blessings to you.

  12. Thank you for posting this. I’m no handy-person and this “simple” project was about to put me over the edge…until I found your post!

    Thanks again.

  13. I encountered another kind of “screwless” knob today. Eventually I found out the piece that opens it up: a tiny arrow-shaped latch under the rose, which you can pry open a little with a flat screwdriver. Once you push the latch enough to the direction of the arrow head, the knob comes off, exposing the screws that hold the the other side in place.

  14. Wow….Was stumped with my old closet knob. You’re the man!!!!

    Worked as soon as I found the metal tomfoolery.


  15. I’m sure people google “how to…”, and find what they’re looking to fix and never leave a thank you! I’ve tried for months to change the door knobs in our house. I pretty much gave up until I came across your post. THank you so much for your help! I can now scratch that from my “honey do list”.


  16. I love you Mike…I’ve been stumpted for days and was ready to take a sledge hammer to the whole door. Now all I have to do is go out and buy and install a new handle.

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