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Can pocket doors be retrofitted into an existing wall?

can a pocket door be retrofitted into an existing wall?The pocket door is a design classic that is enjoying a 21st century revival. This is because people are thinking more creatively about how to use space better, how to create multi-purpose rooms and how to completely re-purpose a room. The pocket door is the critical factor in all these home improvement projects, but people may be put off by the work involved and may even wonder if it is technically possible. So is it possible to install a pocket door in an existing wall?

Yes, is the answer, and furthermore, it is relatively straightforward, even when compared to installing a pocket door in a new-build home. The popularity of pocket door systems means it is now common to find them installed in new-build homes, and of course in this instance the door and frame can easily be incorporated into the internal wall construction. Hey presto you have a sleek, minimalist and contemporary door which is creating much-needed space in your home. But if you are already living in a much older property and are looking to retro-fit a pocket door, how do you go about it?


Installing a pocket door in an existing wall

If your existing wall is a load-bearing wall, then you need to take some professional advice over how to safely carry out this task, or whether it is possible at all. If you have a solid wall, then the easiest way to install a pocket door is to create a ‘false’ wall adjacent to the existing one. By this we mean you need to construct a new stud wall for the pocket door and its frame to sit in, which can then be plaster-boarded in and decorated to fit in with your existing internal décor. However, if your existing wall is a stud wall, the process is much easier:  

  • Remove the existing door from the door frame.
  • Check the wall space where the pocket door frame will be installed for electrical wiring and plumbing. If either exists you may need to re-route this so that you can safely install the door and not affect your utility supplies. Get some professional advice on this if you have wiring and/or plumbing in the wall.
  • Put the pocket door frame together and measure the overall wall space you are going to need to safely and securely install the frame.
  • Cut away the requisite amount of plasterboard using a saw on one side of the wall and remove any insulation in the wall void. You should not need to cut away the plasterboard from both sides if you are careful enough. Choose the side of the wall where you have sufficient space to insert the frame, this would usually be outside the room itself, on a landing, hallway or corridor. If you start to damage the other side of the wall, or remove the wrong side, this will add to your re-fit and re-decorating costs.
  • Stud out the opening creating an appropriate aperture for the pocket door kit to fit.
  • Install the frame itself ensuring that all the screws are secure and that the frame is level.
  • Install the pocket door by attaching the brackets to the top of the door then insert the rollers into the overhead track. Lift the door into position You may need two people to carry out this task, so ask someone to help you. Hook the top door brackets onto the hanging roller bolts, tighten up the bolts, securing the door into position.
  • Once the rollers are in the track you can secure the door to the track and you should then be able to test how freely it moves along the track. Make any adjustments necessary.
  • When you are happy with the operation of the door you can start to put the wall back together.
  • Replace the plasterboard and re-plaster any joints. Then you can re-paint or re-paper the wall as desired.

It is important that you take your time, take suitable measurements and get professional advice where necessary during this process. But it is a relatively straightforward job to install a pocket door in an existing wall. However, if there is anything you are not certain about then you can contact our expert sales team at the Pocket Door Shop and we will happily advise.

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