This article is about how to install a pocket door. It is not common to install a pocket door in an existing home, they require framing in the walls to make them work.

You may not need to replace your pocket door, see the articles 'How To Adjust a Pocket Door', 'Fixing a Pocket Door Off the Track' and 'Troubleshooting Pocket Door Problems'.

Installing a pocket door frame can only be done when you are remodeling or during new construction. The wall needs to be open at the door opening and at the pocket location.

In addition, you cannot have electrical, plumbing or heating lines at this location. If there are any at this location, they will need to be moved or eliminated.

The following is an overview of the steps involved in installing a pocket door frame.

Pocket Door Sizes

A pocket door can be any standard door size. This statement is made with the understanding that the pocket door hardware must allow for the door size used.

There are several complete pocket door kits that allow for all of the door sizes between 2' 0" and 3' 0". The adjustment to the sizes is made by cutting the top head rail and track. Most of the time, pocket doors are used in rooms that people go in and out of. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will have a pocket door that is less than 2' 0".

Some common pocket door sizes are:

  • 2' 0" - 24" Single Leaf
  • 2' 6" - 30" Single Leaf
  • 2' 8" - 32" Single Leaf
  • 3' 0" - 36" Single Leaf
  • 4' 0" - 48" Double 24" Leaves
  • 5' 0" - 60" Double 30" Leaves
  • 6' 0" - 72" Double 36" Leaves

Something to keep in mind is that you need the the same amount of room inside of the wall as the door size. Things such as wiring and plumbing cannot be installed in the area where the pocket goes.

Framing a Pocket Door Opening

The first requirement for a pocket door is a rough opening in the wall the will allow for a pocket door. This opening is usually slightly more than twice the width of the door with allowances made for jamb material. When the wall is being built the layout of the wall will need to be coordinated with the instructions in the pocket door kit.

A header needs to be installed that will support the pocket door track. Different kits and pocket door hardware have different height requirements. Consult the instructions for the correct framing height.

Installing the Head Rail

The head rail in a kit is made up of the pocket door track and some support framing. The support framing provides a place to fasten the vertical framing members. The jamb material for the head of the door is also provided.

The head rail assembly will fasten to the frame work on each end via a provided clip. Check the instructions that were provided with the kit for locating the rail. Usually, the head rail is not fastened to the header. This is done so that any sagging in the header will not be transferred to the door framing.

Installing the Pocket Door Framing

Most pocket door kits use four or six vertical framing members. These are usually metal sleeves with wood inserts. The wood inserts allow for the fastening of the drywall.

The framing members are attached to the floor via metal clips. The clips will need to be placed at the correct locations per the instructions. At the top the framing members are screwed to the head rail at the prescribed framing member.

Installing Pocket Door Jambs

After the framing is installed the remaining work is done after the drywall is installed and the painting is done. The jambs would be the next step.

Pocket door jambs are similar to the jambs on a regular door with one key difference. The jambs at the head and pocket side of the door are split. This provides an area for the door to slide back and forth.

The jamb at the head of the door is usually provided with the head rail. this provides a guide for installing the other jamb members. The jambs need to be installed and shimmed to the proper location in relationship to the pocket door.

Pocket Door Trim

After the jambs are installed the trim can be put in place. The only difference between pocket door trim an normal trim is the fasteners. On the head and pocket side of the door the fasteners cannot be longer that the combination of the framing members, drywall and trim. A longer fastener will protrude inside the pocket and damage the door.

Angling the nails can help, but extreme caution should be used. You only have about 1 1/2" to work with to fasten the trim. Gluing can minimize the number of fasteners needed.

Hanging the Pocket Door

There are two hangers or brackets that need to be installed on the top of the door. They are installed with screws and should be centered on the top of the door. The hangers should be located about four inches from each end of the top of the door.


Install the hanger at the back of the door first (the portion of the door that goes into the pocket). Release the retention spring and attach the door to the hanger. After that, align the front hanger with the front roller and attach it to the bolt on the roller.

Installing a Pocket Door Frame - Conclusion

For related topics, see the articles 'How To Adjust a Pocket Door', 'Fixing a Pocket Door Off the Track' and 'Troubleshooting Pocket Door Problems'.

Replacing a locks on a pocket door should not have taken you too long, once you found a replacement. We hope this article helped to get your pocket door lock installed correctly. 

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