Installing a Pocket Door

by April Reinhardt
(last updated January 8, 2016)

A great way to save space while maintaining privacy is to install a pocket door. Traditional doors need room to swing open. Pocket doors slide inside of the adjacent wall (the "pocket") when open, and out of the wall and into the doorframe when closed. You can find pocket doors in many sizes, including 36-, 32-, 30-, 28, and 24-inch doors. The door's wheels or casters slide on the metal rail located on the floor of the pocket, or on a track installed at the top of the pocket, or both.

Because of the space needed inside of the wall to house the door, and the process involved with installing the tracks, pocket doors can be more difficult to install than traditional doors. Before you purchase a pocket door kit at your local home improvement store, make sure that you prepare the frame for the door, and that you leave enough room for the equivalent of two doors. Follow these guidelines for installing a pocket door:

  • Read the instructions that accompany the door kit you've purchased, and then frame the door to the manufacturer's recommendations. The door will not work properly if the opening isn't plumb or the heading isn't level.
  • Place the doorframe into the opening in the wall and then mount the tracks with the included hardware, according to the directions.
  • Before tightening the stiffeners included in the package, make sure that they are plumb, and then install the door bumper according to the kit instructions.
  • Hang the door from the mounted doorplate, adjusting the height using the adjusting nuts and hardware.
  • If you feel it is necessary to center the door inside of the pocket, you can install door guides at the front of the pocket opening, and then install side and head jambs. Make sure that you use screws— not nails—when you install the side and head jambs so that you can easily remove the pocket door if you decide later on to replace it.

You can attach drywall to the frame, if you'd like, smooth and finish the wall and seams. Never use nails when installing a pocket door, as nails in the wall will impede the door's flow. If you've purchased a door handle and lock for your pocket door, install the lock according to the instructions on the package. If you have an uncut doorframe, you will need to use a chisel to cut a depth for the locking mechanism. Follow the instructions on the package to do so.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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