Pocket doors are doors that slide into a wall instead of swinging on hinges. There are single interior pocket doors that will slide into either the left side or right side of the wall and there are double pocket doors that slide into both sides of the wall. Pocket doors are coming back in style. They were all the rage about one hundred years ago. That’s right, an entire century ago. Well they are coming back in style as things tend to do throughout the course of time.
Not to be confused with French doors, pocket doors have no hinges at all. If you have a really old house you may still have some of the original pocket doors from almost a century ago, but chances are that they either stay open or shut most of the time because the old ones that are still around are usually in pretty bad shape by now.
If you have an old one needing replaced or you just want to add pocket doors to latch on to the latest fashion trend in interior design, we’ll help you by describing the installation process and telling you where to find the supplies you will need for the job at hand.
Installing Pocket Doors
Installing a new pocket door is probably a lot simpler than it was years ago. Today they have kits for just about everything under the sun and yes, they have plenty of pocket door kits now also. The kits are perfect for the average do it yourself types.
You can get kits that come with everything you need including the split door jamb that that the door slides into, the door itself and all the necessary pocket door hardware. Some of them are even mostly preinstalled making installation not to hard of a task.
Then there are the hard core home builders that will want to build it all from scratch. The DIY centers cater to you people as well. You can find all the individual hardware pieces and boards you need to build them from scratch if that is the path you choose. For this article, however we have chosen the path of least resistance as we suspect many of our readers prefer.
Next we will describe how to install a single pocket door kit like the ones available in your local building centers. When following the instructions below, it is important to note that you need to also follow any manufacturer’s directions that came with your pocket door kit and some instructions may override the instructions below, so go with the manufacturer’s directions when there is a conflict because there are different types of kits and yours may not be the same as the one we describe below.
Pocket Door Kit Installation
1. First you have to take some measurements of the area where you want to install your sliding door and take them to the store with you so the sales person can set you up with a kit that works for the amount of space you have.
2. Prepare an opening wide enough for your new door and frame. Remove any old jambs, frames and support the ceiling as needed during the process with temporary four by fours cut to size to hold the weight if needed.
3. Assemble the pocket door jamb. You will need to position the header up top and use finishing nails to attach the split jambs. There should be detailed instructions in your kit also.
4. Attach the door frame to a stud and to the header. Make sure everything is square and level during this process and use shims as needed to do so. Also install the bumper on the frame or the door whichever is recommended for your kit.
5. Drywall in the door frame with one inch drywall screws. Be careful to cut the drywall flush against the edges of each split jamb.
6. Locate the wheel carrier bracket and attach it on top of the door a few inches from either end according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions as with all directions here.
7. Now align the wheel carriers in with the track.
8. Attach the handles. Sometimes they need to be purchased separately from the kit.
9. Lift the door, slipping each wheel bracket onto its wheel carrier.
10. Once aligned, close the locking bracket on each and make sure the door glides smoothly along its track. You may need to make adjustments to get it perfect.
11. Cut your door jamb and screw it in place flush with your drywall and opposite your split jambs. Use either finishing nails or trim head screws.
12. Now piece together your trim over the split jamb and cut and install the casing. Install the guides provided with the door and test its operation making sure it is smooth.
That is it, you have installed your first single pocket door. If you have a double pocket door, the installation is basically the same, but you will be doing the same thing on both sides of the wall instead of just one. Also be careful in case your manufacturer’s instructions differ from ours, always follow the directions from the manufacturer.
These instructions are only meant to give you a basic idea of what is involved because each kit’s instructions will be different in certain ways. But now you should have an idea of what is involved in installing a pocket door in your home, so happy building and enjoy the space saving doors you just installed.
Photo by ManWomanGradyBaby, Creative Commons Attribution License