How to Install Pocket Doors

By: Danny Lipford
Danny Lipford with framing for pocket doors in new construction.

Danny Lipford showing framing for pocket doors in new construction.

We are remodeling our utility room and would like to use a pocket door, because of space. Is this something that we as homeowners should be able to do, or do we need to hire a professional? We’ve done a lot of remodeling ourselves but nothing like this. -Linda

Hi Linda,

That depends on how confident you are in your ability to tackle some serious framing and wall repair. While pocket doors are not that hard to install in new construction, they require a lot of work to retrofit to an existing home.

The first thing to consider is whether the wall the door slides into contains wiring or plumbing. If so, the pipes or wires will have to be moved or rerouted. Next, check to see if the wall is load bearing. If it is, the wall will have to be supported temporarily and a header of sufficient size installed over the opening. While it’s possible to work around these problems, they make the job even harder than it already is.

If you decide to go ahead with the project, start by taking off the existing door and frame, then remove the drywall on both sides of the space the door will slide into. Pocket door kits are available online that contain the track and other specialty parts, or you can buy preassembled units at home improvement stores.

After framing the opening, install the track and boards that form the 2” wide slot for the door. Finish the door on all sides before hanging it on the track. Once everything is sliding smoothly, install drywall using screws that are short enough to keep from going through the 3/4” boards around the pocket. A special split doorjamb is available to fit around the slot and track, or a standard jamb can be ripped to size.

Good luck with your project,

Danny

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16 Comments on “How to Install Pocket Doors”

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  • Judith Sturm Says:
    September 22nd, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    It would be a big help if you published the answers the all the above questions.



  • Brian Lapelle Says:
    November 10th, 2013 at 4:39 am

    My pocket doors 2 seem to be collapsing together ( opening getting tight. Any ideas for repair besides tearing the wall apart ant installing new pockets.



  • Jan Says:
    July 28th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I have a pocket door in my kitchen. It keeps coming off the back roller. When this happend the door is stuck in that position. I have had it lifted back in place but it keeps happening. Do I have to take the dorr framing of and replace the hardware? Would that help?



  • Ray Brewer Says:
    June 18th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    the old home I’m ABOUT to install two pockets doors in? Have paneling nailed to hoz boards that are nailed to studs. No drywall Just alot of wood. Would you reccomend this?? Does anyone have some tips?? Needing assistance or advice…. I’m not ashame to say….I need some pointers. I was under impression I could remove paneling and take out some studs… Then I learned of all the wood ( Shiplap) prolly behind paneling ,so any help apprec
    Ray



  • Patrick Mayfield Says:
    August 1st, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I have a 100+ year old home. My neighbors have to me there were pocket doors between the family room and the dining room. How can I find out if the poclet doors are still there. Without any major demolition?



  • jeanine duff Says:
    January 23rd, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    hi will you tell me what the proper way to install a thermal industy pocket window is we want to do it our self thanks



  • jeanine duff Says:
    January 23rd, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    hi can you tell me the spect for installing a thermal industy pocket window thanks



  • Larry Says:
    November 30th, 2008 at 7:59 am

    To drywall the pocket door frame, the split doesn’t seem strong enough to support the drywall, is there something to provide the strength of the frame?



  • Anne Stenhouse Says:
    November 22nd, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Our pocket door has come off the track at the top in the back back. How in the world do we get this back in the track? Thanks



  • Annie Shaw Says:
    November 11th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    What about pocket windows???? Does anyone know how to do that???



  • joann cummings Says:
    September 20th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Danny, I would like to know what kind of paint do I use in the kitchen and family room. I was told to use satin. I thought satin paint was used only in bedrooms.

    Thank you,
    Joann



  • Jessy Abraham Says:
    September 8th, 2008 at 10:08 am

    My kitchen door opens to the outside. I want to replace it with pocket doors? Is it is a good idea

    Thanks

    Jessy



  • jennifer Says:
    May 5th, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    We would like to replace two pocket doors, one in the bath and the other between the livingroom and laundry room. Not quite ready to let my husband start taking down walls. Is there another way to replace the doors? Help.



  • Celeste Says:
    April 20th, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Where could I purchase a pocket door.
    Is the total cost of a pocket door comparable to a swinging door?


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 25th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Don,
    I wouldn’t think installing a pocket door would cost that much more in new construction as long as it was taken into account when the house was being framed.



  • don Okruszynski Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    How much labor cost is fair to instal a 24 inch pocket door in new contruction?

    Does it help that I’m in the Phoenix, AZ area?


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