How to Build an Arched Pocket Door
An arched opening, door, and drywall make an elegant and space-saving transition.
During a recent remodeling job, I had to reproduce several arched tops in plastered openings to match one existing opening. Each opening was slightly different. The arches’ radii were tighter than any arch-forming product I could find, so I made my own arched corners. I was even able to integrate an arched top into a pocket door. Although I did my first arched pocket door trimmed with arched wood casing a few years ago, this one was almost all drywall.
The house was built in the 1920s. I thought I’d have to demolish and reframe a wall to install the pocket-door track, but I lucked out. I mounted the track to one side of an existing wall and covered it with a new wall that was blocked out 3-1/2 in. from the original. I made the corners for both sides of the arch, then bent a double layer of 1/4-in. drywall to the arch. The door had to be modified before I could hang it on the track, and I made sure I could access the trolley adjustments.
I cut plastic corner bead to conform to the arch, then taped and joined the entire doorway. I ripped and bent 3/32-in.-thick white-oak strips to act as stops on both sides of the door. After painting the jamb, I adjusted the door’s hang and cut the door for the recessed pull so that its position would match the other door hardware in the room.
Tool Of The Trade
Holy Radius, Mudman
Even with laminated, scored drywall, when it comes time to apply joint compound, the surface tends to get lumpy when using a straight taping knife. The solution is to spend $20 online and get a Rubber Wipe-Down Knife, made by Marshalltown. Known as a “bat knife,” the tool is perfect for curved corners.