Installing a Pocket Door
A pocket door is a sliding door that disappears into a compartment in an adjacent wall once the door is fully open. They are great for small spaces where there isn’t enough room for a hinged door. Here is how to install a pocket door in your home.
The first thing that you need to do is purchase a pocket door kit at your local hardware store. Kits usually cost under $100 and contain the door, split studs, a track, and the door hardware.
Check the wall
Before beginning the process, there are some things that you need to check for in the wall. Firstly, you must make sure that the wall is wide enough to fit the door. The wall should be just over twice the width of the door. The second thing that you should check is whether the wall is load-bearing or non-load bearing. A load-bearing wall requires a lot more work! Lastly, you should check for wiring or plumbing. If a wall has pipes, it is not a great place to have a door. Wires can be detected using a voltage sensor.
If necessary, you’ll need to remove your existing door. Start with removing the molding and the shims. Once the nails are cut, you can remove the door frame.
Drywall should be removed slowly, to ensure you don’t run into any snafus. Remove drywall a few inches above where the header will be.
Cut exposed studs
Cutting the studs makes room for the new framing. You can use a combination of a circular saw and a handsaw to make this step easier.
Make a new header
If needed, place the header at the new height. To determine header height, add 3 ¼” to the length of the door. Be sure to add the height of the soleplate as well if there is one.
Install slider track
This should be included in your pocket door kit. Using the directions that come with the kit, install the slider track. Make sure that your track is level, otherwise, your door won’t be able to slide easily.
Place in hardware and door
Mount hangers on the top of the door. This is what makes the door able to slide. Afterward, slide the wheeled carriages into the track and hook the hangers onto the carriages. Once all set, adjust the assembly until the door is in place.
Begin replacing drywall
Start to replace the drywall by using panel adhesive and screws. However, do not move onto taping and mudding.
Install latch hardware
Follow the instructions included in your kit to ensure that your door is still sliding easily on the track and that the latches line up.
Finish installing drywall
Now it’s time to finish the drywall. Apply drywall compound, using multiple coats over every seam. Embed tape in it and get rid of any excess compound. Allow to dry, then apply more compound using the same method. Once finished, sand the drywall to make it smooth.
Install door trim
The door trim should come with your pocket door kit. Install it per the kit’s instructions.