How to Install Pocket Doors

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