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Pocket Door Installation Tips

Pocket Door Installation Tips

The following instructions will help you install just about any pocket door hardware kit. I URGE you to completely read and follow the enclosed instructions you will find with your pocket door hardware. These systems are really easy to install. They require minimal tools and some patience.

The Rough Opening

This is the foundation of your system. Get this wrong and you will suffer later. The rough opening will seem huge. Why? Because it will be more than twice as wide as a usual one. The width is almost always two times the actual finished door with plus one inch. So if you intend to install a 2 foot 8 inch door (32 inches) the rough opening needs to be 65 inches. The height of the rough opening off the rough floor surface is usually 84.5 inches. Be sure you measure from the highest point of the subfloor if your floor is out of level.

Also, the rough opening needs to be plumb, level and NOT twisted (a helix). The top of the rough opening really needs to be level. This is where the track is attached. The side jambs must be plumb. That should be common sense. As for twisting, this means that the bottom plate of the wall (before it is cut out) must be directly above the top plate. All too often rookies frame the opening without a bottom plate in place. One end or both of the side rough jambs can drift out of plumb this way. Here is how you can check your opening for perfection. Simply string a line tightly from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner. Do the same across the other corners to make an X. The strings should just barely touch one another. If they do not touch or one string presses significantly against the other, your rough opening is a helix! Fix it if it is.

Installing the Track

Once the rough opening is complete, you can install the track assembly. Each track is slightly different. Follow the individual instructions. Make sure it is level before you proceed with anything else!

Installing the Pocket Uprights

To do this correctly, you need to snap chalk lines that are directly below the top plate. If your rough frame is not a helix, this is easy. Just snap the lines where the bottom plate stops at each end. These chalk lines serve as your reference point so you can properly locate your floor plates that hold the side split jambs.

The Side Split Jambs

These are the thin studs that create the pocket. The placement of two of these is critical. They form the beginning of the pocket. Your instructions will tell you precisely where to mount these. The other two jambs simply are placed half way between the first two and the actual wall studs.

Finish the Wall

If you installed the frame correctly, you can now add your drywall or plaster. Be sure your nails do not go through the thin side split jambs! If they do, they will scratch the door.

The Easy Part

To complete the job all you have to do is attach plates to the top of the door and trim it out. Of course you sealed the door on all edges and surfaces didn't you? This is critical. You must seal those parts of the door that will disappear in the pocket forever. Without sealing, you will loose your door warranty and it can warp!

The pocket door wheels are set into the track at this time. The mounting plates on the top of the door allow you to hang the door. Once this is complete, the door will slide in and out of the pocket. You can now install the finish side jambs. Always install the top jambs last. Be sure to install these with finish screws, NOT nails. To remove the door at a later date, you will need to remove at least one top jamb.

When you attach the door trim casing, try not to nail into the finish jamb material. This will interfere with the removal of the jambs at a later date.

The finish jambs can be tough to fabricate on your own. It requires using a table saw and sanding the rough cut edges. Certain manufacturers sell these materials already sanded and cut to size. It is a tremendous advantage to use these.

Installing pocket doors is not as tough as it sounds or looks, especially if you buy a quality hardware set. Remember, the key to a trouble free installation lies in a proper rough opening. If you get the rough opening right, the rest of the job will flow like a smooth vodka and tonic.

Once again, read the instructions carefully!

Column B190

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3 Responses to Pocket Door Installation Tips

  1. Can I slide the old rollers off and existing track and slide new ones on if the wall is finished. It looks like there is not enough room at the end of the track.

  2. I have 3 questions about your instructions: I want to be sure I am not misinterpreting the instructions and making assumptions about what is meant.

    1. The rough opening is "2x the door with plus one inch" do you mean 2x the door width plus 1 inch?

    2. How can the bottom plate, before it is cut out, be directly above the top plate? Do you mean the top plate needs to be directly above the bottom plate?

    3.The instructions to seal all sides of the door before installing. do you mean it will come loose if I don't or that I will void the warranty, i.e. lose it?

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