Install a Pocket Door
Time for the Door
In most houses I’ve worked on, I’d buy a new door that looks like the other doors in the house. Who wouldn’t? But adding doors can be an opportunity to add some super upcycle style to an everyday space. You can check a salvage yard for old, knock-around doors with a vintage feel.
Be careful of lead paint and other finishes, because you may have to strip or refinish the door. But instead of getting something everyone else has, you can unlock the beauty in an old piece and make your house look like an Anthropologie store.
If the door is salvaged, check that it’s square. Lots of old doors were sanded down so they’d close as old homes settled and door frames racked. If they’re not square, use a circ saw and guide board to square up the top and bottom. Before installing, apply a coat of finish to the end-grain to protect it.
In our case, the end grain on the doors was a mess so we added a header strip that will hold the track hardware to the door. Once installed, it’s invisible.
Next, lay out and install the hardware. Again, the scratch awl trick is ideal for setting the screws just where you want them. And the rolling scaffold is a great worktable for a project like this.
Install the door bumpers and hang the door. Install the door stops in the track according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is a job for the old fashioned screwdriver. Set ’em and snug ’em so the doors kiss but don’t bump.
Use the provided wrench to cam the door up or down as needed so that it hangs plumb and closes properly. This will also minimize the door’s tendency to roll open or closed. Installing the guide blocks at the base of the door will also keep them from rolling open. Really knocked-around doors may vary in thickness, so you might have to get creative installing the guides.