Problem-Free Pocket Doors
Hang pocket doors so they work for a lifetime.
Because they’re a great space saver, pocket doors are often the only way to make small rooms accessible. A tiny half-bath carved from an existing floor plan is a perfect example. But pocket doors aren’t just for tiny baths and town-house closets; they’re also a classy way to separate larger living spaces, such as the pair of biparting doors separating the library or dining room in a large manor house. Unfortunately, pocket doors have a well-deserved reputation for being finicky. Sometimes pocket doors don’t line up with their jambs, sometimes they rub on the floor or pocket, and sometimes they just fall off the track.
Some of the frustration builders have with pocket doors is caused by the setup they’re using. Most builders either use a fully assembled prehung pocket door supplied by a door shop, or a pocket-door kit from a lumberyard or home center. Unfortunately, both types have flimsy stud walls made from cheap wood and sheet metal. This makes them susceptible to flexing and bending, which causes the door misalignment and rubbing that builders and homeowners complain about. Rather than deal with these problems, I build my own door pockets and use high-quality European hardware. In the more than 10 years that I’ve been installing pocket doors this way, I have yet to get one callback related to pocket-door problems.
Match the hardware to the door
My first step for a pocket-door installation is determining the size, weight, and thickness of the door planned for the pocket. This is important because the hardware I use is determined by the width and weight of the door. The size of the pocket is also determined by the door dimensions. Once I’ve matched the door to the hardware, I can get the rough-opening requirements from…