How to Install a Pocket Door

Save precious floor space with a pocket door. We'll show you how to install one.

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Store smarter with a pocket door. These easy-to-install doors save floor space since the door disappears into the wall when opened. While basic types are used for closets and bathrooms, heavier, more elaborate double pocket doors are available for areas where appearance is important.

A pocket door hangs on carriers that travel on an overhead track. The door slides between split jambs inside the wall. A bumper at the rear of the frame or the side of the door keeps the door from sliding too far into the wall, and guides at the floor keep the door from rattling inside the frame.

For successful installation, there must be room for the pocket door to travel inside the wall. The wall must be wide enough for the door and it must be free of plumbing, wiring, or ductwork.

Pocket door frames are available at many home centers and come as a unit with the track already attached, making it easy to install. In some cases you may need to buy separate parts—including individual split jambs, spacers for the jambs, wheel carriers, and the overhead track—and install them one at a time.

Before you begin, make sure there is room for the pocket door to slide into the wall, and cover the floor with a drop cloth. Also make sure you have enough time to devote to installation. Once the rough opening is done, expect to spend half a day installing the pocket door frame, the drywall, and the door; then a day or two more to finish the wall.

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What You Need

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Drywall saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Nail set
  • Tablesaw
  • Pocket door frame
  • Pocket door with handle and wheel carriers
  • Finishing nails or trimhead screws
  • Jamb stock

Step 1: Prepare Opening

Following manufacturer's specs, prepare an opening wide enough for the door frame. If there is an existing door, remove it and its jambs. Remove studs as needed (temporarily support the ceiling if the wall is load bearing) and install framing, including a header. Check the sides for plumb.

Step 2: Assemble Frame

The pocket door frame must be assembled. Position the header on top, seated in its groove, and drive finishing nails or screws to attach it to the split jambs.

Step 3: Attach Frame

Attach the door frame to a stud and to the header. Use shims and check that the frame is kept square, level, and plumb. Attach the bumper to the rear of the frame (unless it will be attached to the door). If you are installing a set of two doors, install another frame on the other side.

Step 4: Apply Drywall

Apply drywall to the frame using 1-inch drywall screws. Cut the drywall flush against the edges of the split jambs.

Step 5: Attach Hardware

Attach the wheel carrier bracket to the top of the door, several inches from each end. Slip the wheel carriers into the track. Attach the handles (these often need to be bought separately); you may need to bore holes first.

Step 6: Attach Wheel Brackets

Lift the door up and slip each wheel bracket onto its wheel carrier. (This can be difficult; you may have to adjust the wheel carrier mechanism so it is fully extended.) Close the locking device on each bracket. Check that the door glides smoothly.

Step 7: Attach Jambs

Rip a piece of jamb stock or 1x lumber to fit opposite the split jambs. The jambs should be flush with the surface of the drywall (usually 1/2-inch proud of the studs and the header). Attach the jambs with finishing nails or trimhead screws.

Step 8: Install Guides

Cover the split jamb with trim. Cut and install casing. Install the guides provided with the door. Test the operation of the door.

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