Retrofitting a Pocket Door

Removing the intersection stud left the edges of the drywall on both sides of the perpendicular wall unsupported, so I spread construction adhesive on the entire area and installed a backer board.

To remove the framing without damaging the drywall on the other side, I first cut each 2-by into small pieces.

I removed the drywall an extra stud bay beyond what I’d need for the pocket, with the anticipation of relocating the kitchen outlet.

I then screwed the 5/4 by 6-inch backer board to the end stud of the perpendicular wall.

To fill the entire width of the 4-inch cavity, I padded out the header with a piece of 5/4 material, leaving a gap to accommodate the vertical 5/4 backer board that I had installed earlier.

Before installing the header, I put construction adhesive on the back of the drywall where the header would bear against it.

The header track for the pocket door is supported by split studs—thin strips of wood lined with metal. After making sure that the header track fit over the nails, I laid out the positions of the two split studs, marking their positions on the header track and on the floor.

After slipping the floor-plate brackets onto the bottoms of the split studs, I held the assembly in place while my helper ran a bead of construction adhesive on the drywall behind each stud position.

To install the other halves of the two split studs that faced the bathroom side of the pocket, we slipped the studs into the floor brackets, positioned them against the header, and drove two screws through each stud to anchor them in place.

The electrician rerouted the wires through the floor, and we moved the outlet box to the bay next to the pocket.

I mounted the two supplied door plates on the top of the door, 2 inches from each end.

Then I set the wheeled hangers in the track.

Using a special wrench supplied with the hardware kit, I raised or lowered the hangers until the edge of the door fit perfectly against the jamb.

I cut and fit the split jambs next to the jamb side of the opening, letting them extend up to the header/track. Then I screwed in the horizontal split-jamb pieces between the vertical jambs.

I installed the casing and baseboards with 18-gauge 1 1/2-inch finish nails, which went through the trim and the drywall and bit into the split studs, with 1/4 inch to spare. I didn’t nail the casing to the split jambs, to make the jambs easy to remove.

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