"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
Home Page
About Us
Fireplace/Wood Stove
Heating and Cooling
Windows and Doors

Pocket door will add usable
wall and floor space

Pocket Doors

Need more information?
Use our search box
Pocket door. Pocket door kits. Pocket door hardware
Pocket doors at one time were pretty well standard in Victorian era homes. They were particularly used to separate the living and dining room areas. In my 25+ years as a building inspector I have seen many solid oak pocket doors in older homes. However, the majority of these doors were no longer operating or hard to move. One of the reasons for this is that it is hard to find replacement parts for broken or missing hardware for pocket doors.
Pocket doors today.
Pocket doors are used when there is no room for a regular door. They are ideal in narrow hallways and for basement washrooms, where there is no room for a swinging door. Pocket doors are also ideal for laundry rooms, utility rooms, closets or any other room in the house where you need more wall space to place furniture. Because the door slides neatly into the wall it does not take up any floor and wall space. French doors and hollow-core slab doors can all be used for pocket doors.
Common widths are 24, 30, 32, and 36 inches. The standard height is 80", which can be trimmed if necessary. Make sure you trim from the bottom of the door, not the top!
Is it always practical to install a pocket door?
No, it isn't. Installing a pocket door to an existing wall takes a lot of know-how and effort. First of all you will have to find out if the wall is a load-bearing wall. Then you have to try to figure out what is located inside the wall. You don't want to run into things such as plumbing lines or stacks, heating/cooling ducts or cold air returns, electrical wiring, phone, cable or low voltage wiring. If there is too much in the way you may want to reconsider your plans.
It is very easy to install a pocket door when framing a new house, addition or when doing major renovations. A ready to assemble pocket door kit can be purchased at just about any major home renovation center or purchased on-line.
Pocket door hardware
A pocket door travels on rollers suspended from an overhead track. To keep the door from rattling inside the pocket, guides are installed on the floor. There is a bumper at the far end of the pocket to prevent the door from sliding too far into the wall. Normal door knobs would prevent the door from opening all the way so door pulls and handles are recessed into the door.
Pocket door frame kit
Most kits are universal and can accommodate door sizes from 24" to 36" x 80". Each kit comes with instructions but in general the rough stud opening (RSO) is calculated as follows: Horizontally: Twice the width of the door + 1 1/2". Vertically: 84 1/2" for a standard 80" door. The door and door hardware are not part of the kit and have to be purchased separately.

For more information on space required, go to Pocket Doors - RSO

Back to Top