Tips on Installing a Pocket Door into an Existing Doorway
By Mark J. Donovan
||Question: Well to start I found your website HomeAdditionPlus.com and its awesome! I have learned a bunch. One thing I couldn’t find on your website, or any others, is installing a pocket door. I can find information on installing them without sheetrock hung, but nothing about retrofitting a pocket door into an already existing doorway. Any guidance or tips on installing a pocket door would be greatly appreciated. In particular, is there anything I need to look out for, and are there any specific dos and don’ts?
Answer: In regards to retrofitting a pocket door into your home, it involves a significant amount of work and effort, as well as a little upfront luck.
In terms of the upfront luck, you first need to determine if there are any wires or plumbing pipes behind the drywall where you want to have the pocket door slide into. If there is, you may want to rethink the whole idea of installing a pocket door, or alternatively get mentally prepared to spend a small fortune in plumbing and electrical contractor costs.
Finally, check upper and lower level floors to see if there are any plumbing fixtures that are directly over or under the wall targeted for the pocket door installation. If you see none, then chances are you are in good shape for retrofitting a pocket door into the target wall.
If you do determine there are electrical wires or plumbing pipes to deal with, you may want rethink installing a pocket door, or contact a plumber and/or electrician to see what the work and costs are to move them.
After assessing the wall and bracing the ceiling properly, if necessary, you can then begin the pocket door installation. Start by first removing the drywall from both sides of the wall, as well as the existing door and doorframe.
Next, you will need to modify the wall framing to support the installation of the pocket door and pocket door tracks. Bottom line, you will typically need to develop a pocket for the door that has a 2″ wide slot. Read the directions on your pocket door to see how to properly frame for the door.
Once the pocket door framing is complete, install the pocket door onto its tracks to make sure it slides smoothly and works properly.
After testing the pocket door and determining it’s functional, install new drywall, and tape and mud the joints. Instead of using drywall nails or screws, use a construction adhesive for installing the drywall around the pocket door area. You do not want to have drywall nails/screws penetrating into the pocket door slot.
Next, install the pocket door trim and a split doorjamb. You can either buy or make your own split doorjamb. Again, take care where you place your nails to prevent nails from penetrating into the pocket door slot or the pocket door itself.
Finally install the pocket door hardware to complete the pocket door installation project.
For information on how to install interior door trim, see the “Installing Interior Door Trim” eBook from HomeAdditionPlus.com. The “Installing Interior Door Trim” eBook provides step-by-step instructions on how to install interior door trim. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.
- Repairing a Sticky Interior Door
- How to Install Prehung French Doors
- How to Remove a Door from its Hinges
Additional Door Resources from Amazon.com
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