Today we are talking about doors, but not just any doors. We are going to learn to Install pocket doors.
Sliding pocket doors have become very popular once again over the last decade, but what exactly are they? In short, they are a type of door that slides into a box, either made of wood or metal, which is embedded in a wall.
These types of sliding doors were designed to provide privacy and divide a living room from other rooms in some older homes. The door simply became part of the wall when not in use, but could be removed as needed.
We will kick it up a notch with this project, so it’s not for the faint of heart. But we are sure you’ll agree that it is worth it when it’s all done.
Pocket Door Frame
Pocket Door Knobs
2x4 or 2x3 Wood Studs (depending on wall thickness)
Drywall Compound (Plaster)
Putty Knife and Exacto Knife
Here is a list of all the tools we’ll be working with:
Since we are talking things apart today, before you start your project or purchase any materials, make sure that your wall is neither loadbearing nor has any plumbing or electrical behind it.
Once you have confirmed that, we are good to go!!
Install A Pocket Door (8 Easy Steps)
Open Up The Wall / Measure Everything Out
- Measure the door opening and the adjacent wall to make sure you have enough space. Next, remove the mouldings.
- Here is a Tip: Use an Exacto knife to cut through the latex caulking. It will make it easier to carefully remove it.
- You will need to remove your door frame so that the pocket door frame can be inserted into the wall.
- If the pocket door frame is bigger than your door opening:
- Measure the height and width of the pocket door frame and mark it on the wall. Mark the frames’ dimensions on your drywall using a level so you’re cutting as straight as possible.
- Now you know the exact space that is going to need to be cleared. Cut the drywall along your guideline with an oscillating tool. then remove the drywall on each side of the wall.
- If your pocket door frame is larger than your door’s opening, be sure to adjust the opening accordingly.
Pro Tip: The normal height for a door is 82”. For a pocket door to comfortably open and close, you’ll need at least a height of 84”. You’ll have to check that, and then cut and adjust as needed.
Rebuild the Interior Wall Structure
Now we need to modify the wall's interior structure in order to install the pocket door frame.
- First, measure the space between the studs and the height to build new brackets.
- According to your measurement, cut the 2x4s to the right length. Using the level, install the new 2x4s to complete the structures.
- Once that is done, you can cut the studs.
Pro Tip: This is a good time to paint your door and frame if they are made of natural woods, that way they will dry while you finish the job
Install the Pocket Door Frame
We are ready to assemble the pocket door frame.
- Start by attaching the header to the rest of the frame, then you can insert it into the opening.
- Now it’s important to make sure it’s level so that the door works perfectly. Use Shims when needed.
- Once you’ve double-checked that everything is leveled, you can secure the frame to the rest of the structure by directly screwing it in.
- The last step is to trim any shims that might be sticking out.
Install the Pocket Door
It's Time for the Pocket Door, For starters, install the bumpers on the inside of the frame, as well as the fastening latch on the door. They need to sit 2” from each edge and are well centered.
- Once that is done, place the wheel on the rails. Don't forget to inverse the direction of the wheels for added stability.
- Line up the door to connect the screws from the latches with the wheels, and then close the bracket to secure them into place.
- Place the guide at the entrance so that the door is centered. Once that is done, you can check if it rolls properly.
Pro Tip: You may need help with this step, however you can simplify the process by propping the door up.
Close up the wall
It's time to tackle the wall!!
- Cut a sheet of drywall to the right size and screw it into the wall’s interior structure, Use shorter drywall screws to avoid damaging the door. Don't forget any space above the door.
- Next, put some tape over all the joints before applying the plaster above the door.
- Finish all the joints and plug all the screw holes using the compound and let it dry. To hide any trace of your installation apply two to three coats—sanding between each one—for a nice, even finish.
Install the Pocket Door Lock
- Measure and mark where the handle is going to go, ours is going to sit at 36” in the middle, 2 ¼ inches high, and 1 ⅞ inch wide.
- Create a cutout using a jigsaw, Insert and install the handle according to the manufacturer's instructions, because they may vary.
- Next, you’ll need to reinstall the right-hand section of the door frame.
- Close the door to mark the second section of the lock. Take your measurements and mark as you go.
- Cut the edges to size and use a router to trim the space needed for the lock. Install the second lock.
Reinstall the Mouldings and paint.
- Close the door, Install a piece of trim on either side of the door to line it up properly.
- Then reinstall the mouldings around the door, and add a little wood glue around the joints before nailing them in place.
- Light sand your plaster beforehand and don't forget to wear a mask to avoid breathing in dust.
- Once the paint is dry, you’re all done.
Pro Tip: Leave a 1/8 -inch gap all around so that you can apply latex caulking for a better finish. And finally, it's time to paint.
Step Back and admire your Awesome Pocket Door
Install A Pocket Door (Video)
And now you know how to install a pocket door, it just proves that anything is possible with a little bit of patience and a whole lot of attention to detail.
If you liked this project be sure to drop a comment and let us know how your project went.
Until next time, have a good one