What Is a Pocket Door?
A pocket door is a type of sliding door. Unlike a regular door, a pocket door slides in and out of a wall on a track. A pocket door is hidden when opened, appearing as an open entryway when it’s not in use. It can easily be pulled out when you want privacy, and it can be locked just like a regular door. Installing a pocket door is a great alternative to a traditional swinging door or doorless wall opening between rooms.
Pocket doors are helpful when you have limited space in a room. Perhaps a standard door won’t fit, or you want to maximize your space in other ways. Bathroom pocket doors are popular, as well as in closets, laundry rooms, pantries, and offices. Pocket doors are also used to achieve a specific design or style and are on a rising trend in the home remodeling industry.
Pocket doors have become a trendy door style in home design and remodeling. Whether you are using a pocket door to maximize your space or achieve a certain look, a pocket door installation is straightforward and doable for homeowners.
Pocket Door Hardware
When you are installing a pocket door, there are many hardware options available for your pocket door. Some pocket door hardware is necessary for installation, while other options may simply add to the design and style of your pocket door. There are a variety of finishes available that can be customized for your specific needs and budget.
When you are looking through pocket door hardware, you will find pocket door latches, pocket door edge and flush pulls, pocket door locks, rollers, handles, door frames, tracks, door fasteners, brackets, door jambs, soft closes, pocket door lock with keys, interior door knobs, and more. A door kit is a very popular option for a pocket door installation. A hardware kit usually includes almost everything you need for your pocket door install, such as the door frame, door hardware, accessories, trim, door jamb, door fasteners, and pocket door tracks.
The actual doors used for your pocket door installation are available in a wide range of styles. You also can find different materials, such as wood, metal, or glass pocket doors. Beyond just a single pocket door, you can find different pocket doors sizes, styles, and shapes to fit different openings. You can opt for double pocket doors, converging pocket doors, corner pocket doors, stacked or bypassing pocket doors, mortise pocket doors, and more. Budget pocket doors can be found at big box stores like Lowe’s, Menard’s, and Home Depot, but choosing Rustica’s handmade pocket doors will provide a superior finish and craftsmanship of the highest quality.
Benefits of Pocket Doors
The number one benefit of pocket doors is that they are space savers. Since it is a sliding door that disappears into a wall, a sliding pocket door takes up far less space than a traditional swinging door. Pocket doors can be a stylish and smart space-saving solution in many rooms of smaller houses. They are perfect for smaller rooms like bathrooms, closets, and pantries—no matter the size of the house—and can provide optional privacy to nearly any room in a home. Pocket doors are hidden when not in use and can function just like any other door with a lock.
Pocket doors have greatly improved over the years. Today, you can find a wide range of stylish high-quality hardware options and pocket door styles in a variety of sizes, shapes, and openings. High-quality finishes provide a look of high-quality craftsmanship without sacrificing space. Use your creativity, and don’t be afraid to think beyond a single sliding pocket door—for example, you may prefer a double pocket door, stacked pocket door, or converging pocket door that perfectly suits your specific style and needs.
Is a Pocket Door Right for You?
Pocket doors are a great option for homeowners who want a smart and stylish way to save space. Interior pocket doors are often installed in small rooms like bathrooms, closets, pantries, laundry rooms, and offices.
Sometimes, homeowners decide to install a pocket door because the current pocket door is old or outdated. Many times, a pocket door can be restored with a new door frame, door jamb, and heavy duty door hardware. A pocket door replacement is a popular remodeling project that can be done in a short amount of time with the right materials and tools at hand.
Whether you are replacing your current pocket door or installing a new one to maximize your space, the process is fairly straightforward. You can typically plan on spending less than a day on your pocket door install. You should be able to cut the opening, install your framing and hardware, attach the door, install the new drywall, and install the finishing in just a handful of hours. Then, your pocket door will be complete and ready for family and guests to enjoy. You will have a new skill under your belt and the satisfaction of completing this fun and rewarding remodeling project.
How to Install a Pocket Door
Installing a pocket door yourself can be a great money saver since you’re cutting out the need to hire a contractor. Whether you’re into DIY, DIT, or have only done a few home remodeling projects, a pocket door installation is an achievable task. Once you’ve selected your materials, such as the hardware, accessories, and finishes, the pocket door installation should take less than a full day to complete.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Tools
When you’ve decided that a pocket door is right for you, gather your materials and tools. While the exact tools and materials needed vary from situation to situation, common materials and tools needed for pocket door installation include:
- Pocket door hardware
- The pocket door
- Tape measure
- Multi-tool screwdriver
- Stud finder
- Wood screws
- Reciprocating saw
- Hack saw
- 1” drywall screws
- Panel adhesive
- Joint compound
If you’ve purchased a pocket door kit, the instruction manual will list what tools and materials you’ll need to complete the pocket door installation.
Step 2: Cut the Opening
The first step in your pocket door installation is to cut the opening for the pocket door, which will either be a modification of the current door opening or a new, rough opening. Before making any modifications, you need to figure out if you’re working with a load-bearing wall or if there is any wiring or plumbing within the currently closed area. Plumbing within the wall is a red flag, and if you have a load-bearing wall, you’ll have to provide support during the pocket door install process, plus install a new, longer header. Any wiring within the wall will need to be moved by a professional.
If you currently have a door in the wall where your pocket door will go, you need to remove both the door and the door jamb. Take the molding out and remove the shims with a reciprocating saw. Cut through the nails to take off the frame.
Construct your rough opening by using the dimensions provided by the door manufacturer. The opening needs to be twice the door width, plus an inch. Make your cut above the header but still a few inches below the ceiling. Be careful to remove the drywall in small portions. You should only have to remove drywall on one side.
Remove the current header with a saw, if necessary, as well a portion of the current stud to make room for your new framing.
Step 3: Install the Framing and Hardware
To create a new header, decide whether you need a new soleplate, which will determine the height. The new header height can be calculated by adding the door height and the height of the soleplate, plus 3 1/4”. Determine the appropriate length, install a new stud on the opposite side of the existing stud for the opening, then screw or nail in the header. If needed, cut and install the soleplate to the ground.
Using the manufacturer’s instructions, cut the door track to the recommended length with a hacksaw. Install it using the fasteners and brackets that are included, then make sure it is level.
Next, install your two split studs to the floor and header. This forms the passageway where the pocket door will slide in and out of the wall. One will be flush with your nailer header, and the other will be halfway into the pocket wall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for exact locations. Once installed, ensure they are plumb by using a level.
Install the hanging hardware that holds the door. Ensure it is level and secure it into place.
Step 4: Attach the Door
Before hanging the door, add any desired or necessary finishing touches, such as paint or stain. Once the door is ready to hang, slide it into the door track by using the two hangers. Make sure the door is level and adjust the hangers as needed. After the door is hung, install the door handle, lock, and pull by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once you’ve made sure that the door fits and works properly, take it off to install the drywall and trim.
Step 5: Install the New Drywall
Install the new drywall by hanging the drywall with panel adhesive and 1-inch drywall screws. Use drywall tape to seal the seams, then use joint compound to cover it. You can use a damp sponge to smooth it out and sand it down more as needed, once it is dry. Make sure that you keep the wall interior clear for the pocket door to slide in and out properly.
Step 6: Install the Finishing
Once the drywall is complete, you can reattach the door and install the guides, which help the door slide smoothly and also center it. Next, install the split side and header jambs to the studs in the pocket part of the opening, which need to be flush with the drywall. Use screws on the steel studs so you can remove the door, if needed, and ensure everything is level. Then move on to install the trim casing to the jamb and studs, using either nails or screws. Make sure the nails do not protrude deep into the wall.
Once the trim is up, the pocket door installation is complete! Well done.