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

16 COMMENTS

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

  8. 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

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

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