How to Install a Pocket Door That Stylishly Saves Space

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

Pantry Door
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 12 hours
  • Total Time: 3 days
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

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 matters.

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 frame's rear or the door's side keeps the door from sliding too far into the wall. Guides on the floor keep the door from rattling inside the frame.

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

Pocket door frames are available at many home centers. They come as a unit with the track already attached, making installation easy. 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's room for the pocket door to slide into the wall. Also, make sure you have enough time to devote to installation. Protect your space by covering the floor with a drop cloth. 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.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Measuring tape
  • 1 Hammer
  • 1 Level
  • 1 Drill
  • 1 Circular saw
  • 1 Drywall saw
  • 1 Screwdriver
  • 1 Nail set
  • 1 Table saw

Materials

  • 1 Pocket door frame
  • 1 Pocket door with handle and wheel carriers
  • 1 Finishing nails or trimhead screws
  • 1 Jamb stock

Instructions

  1. Prepare Opening

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    Following the manufacturer's specs, prepare an opening wide enough for the door frame. If there's 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.

  2. Assemble Frame

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    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.

  3. Attach Frame

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

  4. Apply Drywall

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

  5. Attach Hardware

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    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.

  6. Attach Wheel Brackets

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    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's fully extended.) Close the locking device on each bracket. Check that the door glides smoothly.

  7. Attach Jambs

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    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.

  8. Install Guides

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    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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