How to Install a Pocket Door


Pocket doors are a great idea for people who have limited space, or for those who like the architectural effect of having a sliding door. A pocket door is a little different in that when opened the sliding door actually disappears into the compartment made for it in the wall adjacent to it. You can get a single and double pocket door depending on where you want to put it and how much space you have.  They are surprisingly under used in today’s homes considering the advantages they have. This article offers you some insight on why pocket doors are something to consider and advice on installing them.

installing-pocket-door DIY pocket door installation

The positives of installing a pocket door

  1. The main advantage is the space you can save by using them. A regular swing door needs to swing open with an arc of 10 square feet. A pocket door opens and closes on a track either overhead or in the floor and then tuck away in the wall taking up no room space at all.
  2. Pocket doors are a fairly unique addition to houses at the moment so would give your house something that sets it apart from other homes. Whether you are making a door to lead into a hallway or another room they are attractive and can be personalized in your own style using different accents, adding glass frosted or stained, using various hardware options. They can be made to look modern, elegant, or old and warm.
  3. This style of doorway is a lot more versatile than others. It gives you control over how the space in your house is used and how other areas are accessed. You can for example install a double set in the wall between the living room and dining room and leave them open for an open plan party, or close them for more formal dinner parties. Doors opening and closing on people will not be a problem and pocket doors can be hidden if you want them out of the way.
  4. Another great factor to consider is the expense of a pocket door which is less than that of swing doors, sometimes by as much as 20 per cent! You can get installation kits or pre-fabs and they are easy to install so it is something you can do yourself if you want to. They are durable too, most come in materials that are designed to last as long as the house itself. They are less prone to accidental damage or becoming worn than swing doors.

pocket-door A beautiful pocket door

Putting in your own pocket door

Unless you have a lot of DIY and carpentry skills it would be a better idea to buy the doors ready made rather than building your own. Also you may need to ask someone to come and check that you can install them where you want to. For example pocket doors are not the best choice for load baring walls, and you need to have walls of a certain thickness for the door to slide into. The last thing you want is to start opening up walls only to find you cannot install one there and you now have a lot of repairs to pay for. The cost for such repairs would also likely be more than if you had just hired someone to have a look and ask questions of in the first place.

laundry-room-pocket-door pocket door to the laundry room

Once you are sure you have the right place for one you will need to create a frame in the wall for the door opening. You will need to make this double the door’s width so that you have a place for the door to slide into when it opens. It is then suggested by manufacturers that you add another inch to that measurement. Most frames are 85 inches in height based on the standard sized door, but if you have had something custom made that is of a different size then your frame will have to reflect your measurements. Check that the sides are plumb or straight and that the header is perfectly level.

Now you can install the track assembly and the door header. If you have purchased a manufactured pocket door these will be included with the door along with all the fasteners and brackets you need too.

ornage sliding pocket door Sliding pocket door

Two sets of thin metal supports called stiffeners need to be attached. One set is the jamb stiffener which is put on to the header, down the sides then fixed to the floor. The middle of the frame is where the other set of stiffeners go called the side split stiffeners. Make sure you put in a door bumper at the back of the pocket so that if it gets pushed open too quickly there won’t be any damage. Instructions for all of this come with the door so you can keep referring back to them as you need to.

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