Building an interior wall with a pocket door is more complicated than building an interior wall without a pocket door. The project requires different materials and process, as well as careful planning before starting the project. Most importantly, you must take into account the position of the pocket door hardware in relation to the door opening and adjacent walls. This can be difficult if your wall is already up, but it’s still possible to install a pocket door if that’s your situation
- 2x4s (8)
- Pocket Door Frame Kit* (1)
- Pocket Door Jamb Assemblies* (1 pair)
Tools Needed For This Project:
Hammer, tape measure, pencil/marker, drill and bit set, level.
In order to build a wall with a pocket door, you will need:
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Measuring tape or level
- Masking tape
- Manual miter saw (or power miter saw) that can cut at 45 degrees and is capable of cutting 2×4 lumber at least 12″ long
If you have access to power tools, then it is recommended that you use them instead of manual tools.
Step 1. Frame the rough opening
- Frame the rough opening with 2x4s.
- Frame the opposite side of the wall.
- Cut and install trimmers.
- Make door openings.
- Attach framing lumber to floor and ceiling plates, as well as to soleplate where it is supported by a foundation or other structure below, such as a concrete slab or beam. Install studs at 16″ on center for bearing walls or 24″ on center for non-bearing walls (i.e., interior walls), and nail them securely into place at each end with 8d common nails or 10d casing nails, driving each nail head flush with its surface before proceeding to the next one. You can also use 2x6s if you don’t have access beneath your house/basement; in that case, use 16d common nails instead (the thicker nails will prevent splitting). If you’re installing wood furring strips behind drywall when you’re finished building your pocket door frame-out (optional), be sure not to nail into them
Step 2. Frame the opposite side of the wall
On the opposite side of your wall, frame out the door openings. Install trimmers on the ends of the framing lumber. You’ll want to make sure they fit flush against the studs where you plan on framing your pocket door, so measure and mark directly from those spots. Attach framing lumber to floor and ceiling plates
Now install soleplate between top plates and attach studs to plates as shown below:
With all of this done, add bottom plate for extra support (you’ll also need a few screws).
Step 3. Cut and install trimmers
Trimmers are boards that fill the gap between the wall and door. Cut them to size according to your measurements, then fasten them to the studs behind the wall with nails or screws. After you’ve installed all of your trimmers, it’s time to install one at the top of your pocket door opening. This piece will be connected directly underneath where your walls meet on either side of your doorway.
Once you have everything in place, it’s time for a test run. If everything went smoothly, open and close your new pocket door several times before moving on to step 4
Step 4. Make door openings
- Make the door openings
Measure and mark the door openings, then cut them out with a circular saw. Install 2×4 framing inside each opening as shown in Figure 10. This will help to support your pocket doors as they slide back and forth.
Now install the door frames (Figure 11). First, drive screws through the frame into each stud on one side of both doors. Then, nail 3/8-inch plywood over these screws so they can’t be seen when the doors are closed (Figure 12). Next step: Install your new pocket doors
Step 5. Attach framing lumber to floor and ceiling plates
With the pocket door installed, it’s time to move on to the framing lumber. The first step is attaching framing lumber to floor and ceiling plates. This will stabilize them, preventing any movement or sagging over time.
To accomplish this, follow these steps:
- Attach framing lumber to floor and ceiling plates
- Install soleplate
- -Fasten studs to plates –Add bottom plate and screws –Add headers and cripples
Step 6. Install soleplate
To install the soleplate, set it in place and use a nail gun to secure it. Then use a hammer to tap it into place. Check that the soleplate is level and drive screws through the soleplate into the floor joists. Fasten the soleplate to the floor joists by driving screws through them into each end of both rails, as well as every other rail at 6″ intervals along its length.
Step 7. Fasten studs to plates
Once you’ve fastened the studs to the plates, it’s time to screw them into place. Use a level to make sure that they’re straight, then locate where your studs are using a stud finder. Once you have all of your studs marked, use a power drill to drive screws through each of them and into their corresponding plate. Make sure not to over-tighten these screws–that can cause problems down the road. If you are working with drywall in an exterior wall or other area where moisture may be an issue (for example: under floors) we recommend using steel framing screws instead of standard wood screws.
Step 8. Add bottom plate and screws
Now that you have your wall assembled and ready to go, it’s time to fasten it to the floor and ceiling. Make sure that you’re working on a level surface so nothing gets crooked. Attach the bottom plate to your floor and ceiling plates with screws. Ensure that you’re using one-half studs at each end of the wall, as seen in this photo:
Next, attach studs to your plates with screws (see photo above). Then, attach soleplate on top of each half-stud with screws:
Step 9. Add headers and cripples
The goal of this step is to add headers and cripples to your wall. With a pocket door, the header is placed on 16″ centers, while the cripple is placed on 24″ centers.
Step 10. Raise wall into place with a helper
In this step you’ll raise the wall into place with a helper. This is where having two people is helpful; one person can hold the top plate while the other attaches it to the wall framing at each stud with nails and screws. If your pocket door is going in between studs, make sure to leave enough space for it on both sides of your opening.
Once everything is secure, trim off any extra pieces, then shave off any studs that are sticking out from underneath so that they are level with or below your door’s surface. Next, install bottom plates and screws throughout along with headers and cripples for stability as needed.
Step 11. Install top plate, starting at the middle with one-half stud on each end of the wall
Now that the wall is all framed up, it’s time to install the top plate. You will be starting at the middle of your wall with one-half stud on each end of the wall. This should leave you with seven inches between each stud working toward the center point of your door. Make sure everything is level and square before you begin installing this piece as well, so that everything lines up correctly when we get to our drywall phase later on in this project
Step 12. Install horizontal braces to stabilize wall, then add vertical braces as needed from floor to ceiling plate–but do not nail them in place yet
Before moving on to the next step, make sure that all vertical braces are installed and nailed into place. Then construct horizontal braces from floor to ceiling plate—but do not nail them in place yet.
Now that your wall has been framed out and the studs are secure, it’s time for one final step: fastening them to the sole plate.
Step 13. Shave studs as needed for door-opening clearance; then plumb, brace, and nail all vertical braces in place
Now that the frame is complete, you can shave any studs that need to be shaved (Image 1) so the door will clear them when it swings open. Plumb and brace all vertical braces in place before nailing them to the studs.
Your pocket door is now ready for drywall. Just a few more steps and you’ll have a beautiful, functional wall that will improve the flow of your room.