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. thanks, with your info and photos I figured out how to remove a pesky “doorknob with no visible screws”, even though it was a little different from the Schlage item in your post.

  2. Mike N Mo,
    AWESOME!!! I spent an hour trying to figure this out. my wife says “google it” so I finally listened to her…after reading your directions, it took me 2 minutes. Nice job and THANK YOU!!!

    Jim

  3. That was great & I think I can get the 60 year old knob off the door now!
    But what about the too-small existing hole?
    I have a drill-chuck cutter for 2.25 in. standard hole, but with the smaller bore of the old knob, the cutter is uncontrollable without a drill press of some sort.
    Any tricks/ideas on this? I could spend hours rasping out a larger hole.

  4. Brilliant explanation and pictures. My job challenge: the rose was loose and held off the door frame by a loose screw below, hiding the slot. Your pictures gave me hope and helped find the slot to remove the knob and tighten the screws.

  5. I have been trying to take off my Schlage door knob for two years. Using the instructions and pictures that you provided, I did it in 5 minutes today! By the way, I am the lady of the house and am always proud when I do something that the husband won’t or can’t do!

  6. This explanation was absolutely the best explanation of getting of the same door knob i was having problems with.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put together the pictures and write-up.

  7. Wow…this website AND the replies helped me to figured out how to remove my 40 year old exterior doorknob. It’s not a Schlage and there was no notch only a hole. Insert a small screwdriver into the hole and turn the ring counterclockwise and it unscrews. The same ring on the outer knob also unscrews. Then, I went looking for a latch behind the rose to release the knobs. Using a screwdriver, I pushed anything that looked like it moved. Voila! A latch on the top released the knob! The hidden screws are now able to be removed! This is an old brass (very tarnished) doorknob. Now I hate to get rid of such a well-made piece!

  8. Your instruction here continues to help the unwitting! I had pushed on “the wire” before reading your post, but wasn’t sure I was doing the right think. Your clear description and (properly called-for) photo illustration did the trick (besides restoring in me some momentarily lost faith in help sites). The wire, between the inner edge of the rosette (the decorative round plate flush with the door face) and the spindle (the handle’s “axle”) is actually the protruding top of a wire loop that acts as a primitive spring, holding the rosette in place. Pushing against it — toward the spindle — with a flat blade screwdriver while simultaneously prying up the outer edge of the rosette with a knife, as you describe, frees the rosette. Thanks.

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