How Do You Install Pocket Doors?

Pocket DoorsPocket doors are extremely useful space-savers when you need a new passageway between rooms, and if you know how to install pocket doors, you can do it yourself. Here are the steps for installing a pocket door.

Before starting, you should check the place where you want to install the door to make sure there is enough room. You need just over twice the width of the door in order to hide it. If the wall is load-bearing, you’ll need temporary support while you are installing the door as well as a new header. Finally, make sure there is no wiring or plumbing in the way.

Tools You’ll Need

You’ll need the new door and the hardware that comes with it. You can get this in a kit. Other items you’ll need are:

• A tape measure
• A level
• Framing and casing lumber
• A hammer
• A hacksaw
• Drywall, joint compound and drywall tape
• Construction adhesive

Along with the door, the kit will contain the split studs, the track and the hardware. Most kits come in the standard size of six feet, eight inches high and 1 1/8 to 1 3/4 inches thick. If you don’t have a standard size door opening, you may need to get a custom-made door from a professional contractor.

Start with the Opening

The opening needs to be about one inch wider than the width of your door. This is to accommodate the door when it is open. When you have the opening ready, you can frame it. This needs to be done carefully, because the opening needs to be plumb and the header needs to be level. If the measurements are off, the door will not ever open and close smoothly. Once the drywall, studs, sills and plates have been removed, and any plumbing or electrical issues have been dealt with, you can attach the header.

Start the Installation

According to Do It Yourself, it is recommended to purchase a good quality pocket door kit. It will come with durable hardware, and your door will open and close smoothly and last longer. The size of the header will increase according to the weight of the door. Your kit will indicate the proper size of the header. Most pocket doors weigh less than 75 pounds, but there is hardware available that will support a door that weighs more than 150 pounds. It is recommended to paint or finish the door on both sides and the edges before you install it because once it is installed, you won’t be able to do this. This type of finishing will prevent the door from absorbing moisture and possibly warping later.

The door runs through split studs. They are metal-wrapped and have a hollow channel in the middle where the pocket door passes through. The split studs are attached to the floor and the header. This is when you need do make sure they are plumb. The wooden side of the split studs is where you’ll attach the new drywall to cover the pocket.

Next, you can connect the hanging brackets and put the wheels into the track. There will be pins that extend from the wheels to which you can attach the door. When the door is hung, you can install the guides at the bottom. These will keep the door in the center of the pocket, so it will open and close without rubbing.

There are door pulls that come with the kit. These can be installed now. If you have any other hardware that you want to add, make sure it doesn’t interfere with the smooth operation of the door.

When the door is installed, you can hang the new drywall to cover the pocket. It is recommended to use construction adhesive to fix the drywall to the framing. This will eliminate the need for nails or screws that could protrude into the pocket. You can also measure and cut the trim to put around the door opening. This can also be installed with construction adhesive. If you use nails, make sure you use finishing nails that are the proper length because nails that are too long may extend into the door chamber and scratch the door when it is opened and closed.

Another type of sliding door is an open pocket door. This is a door that slides like a pocket door, but is installed on an interior wall and does not slide into a pocket. This may the best option if the wall where you want a pocket door contains essential plumbing or electrical systems that would be expensive to change.

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Pocket doors were very popular more than a century ago, but are making a comeback because they are very convenient, look attractive and don’t take up space inside the room. Now that you know how to install pocket doors, you can upgrade your home.