How are Pocket Doors Installed?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Once a common feature in many homes, pocket doors all but disappeared during the middle of the 20th century. However, the pocket door is making a comeback. These interesting interior doors are replacing swing doors in newly constructed homes more often. Pocket doors are also included in a number of renovations of older homes as well. There are a few basic steps to installing pocket doors in both new construction and as part of a renovation.

When using pocket doors with a new home, the installation process is relatively easy. Since the door framing will already be open, the first step will be to frame the opening for the pocket doors. Keep in mind that the opening will need to be large enough to accommodate the width of two doors. This is because the framing must be able to manage the sliding doors in both closed and open positions. Kits that come with pocket doors will usually include the dimensions for the frame opening that are appropriate for the set of folding doors that are to be installed. If there are no dimensions listed, use a formula of twice the width of the door, plus one additional inch. As part of the framing process, don’t forget to frame the top of the door opening as well, making sure the framing is level.


Next install the header and tracks. This will usually involve cutting the components to fit. A hacksaw usually does the trick with no problem. Secure the header and tracks are cut to fit, use the brackets in the kit to install the two components. Once they are in place, attach the two sets of stiffeners. One set will be attached to the header, plumbed to ensure the installation is level, and then attached to the door. The second set will be attached along the middle of the pocket framing. Once the stiffeners are in place, install the door bumper near the back of the pocket.

Before mounting the door to slide into the pocket, make sure that any cosmetic touches are completed. This means staining or painting the pocket doors. This is important, because either process will be extremely difficult to do properly once the doors are in place. Keep in mind that finishing the door on all surfaces, including the edges, will help prevent the pocket doors from absorbing moisture and warping over time. Once the door is prepared, mount the doorplates on the top of the door, and slide the hangers onto the track. Hang one door at a time, and slide the door into the pocket, before moving on to the second door.

After installing the pocket doors, use the door guides at the mouth of the pocket to make sure the doors are centered in the space, and will slide smoothly, without rubbing or damaging one another. At this point, it is possible to begin finishing the wall and paint the door casings.

In older homes, installing pocket doors to replace an interior door will be more complicated. Before beginning any construction, it is important to make sure there is enough room in the wall adjoining the door opening to accommodate the doors, and that there is not any wiring, plumbing, or load bearing beams that will need to be relocated. After handling any basic construction and relocation of pipes or wires, the process for installing pocket doors in an older home will follow the same basic process.


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Post 2

It probably depends on how the wall studs are positioned in relation to the current door opening. It would probably be a good idea to expose the one wall in the bathroom first and take a good look at the situation. If there is room for the door to be installed from that side, then you don't have to go through the time and trouble of rebuilding the adjoining wall surface in the bedroom.

Post 1

I am in the midst of the beginning of renovating my bathroom (very small one bathroom) and want to install pocket doors. Is it necessary to remove both walls, meaning the wall (plaster/lath) in the bathroom and the adjoining wall in the bedroom to do the install? from what I can gather, it seems simple enough to install with just one wall exposed. I also have 2x3 studs instead of 2x4 studs in my 1960 home. Thanks so much.

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