How to Avoid Common Pocket Door Problems

pocket door kit

Pocket doors are a wonderful feature of many homes. They save vital space in smaller rooms, while investing homes with a beautiful aesthetic.

However, they sometimes encounter problems. Issues can include doors sticking on the track, failing to stay open or closed and pinching fingers upon closing. Building pros know these can be remedied with the correct installation methods, as well as use of high-quality, long-lasting hardware, like Johnson Hardware’s pocket door frame kits.

Failure of pocket doors to easily slide back and forth on their tracks is among issues seen by Gary Striegler, president of Craftsman Builders of Fayetteville, Ark. Striegler regularly conducts educational demonstrations at international building industry trade shows on the benefits of pocket doors and how to properly install them.

Problems often result from trim carpenters nailing nails, or cabinet installers running installation screws into the wall. “No matter your hardware, you’ll not be able to get the door to operate if there’s a nail or screw in the way,” Striegler says.

A warped door can also prevent easy sliding. “It’s a good idea to seal the top and bottom of doors before installation to make sure they don’t warp,” Striegler notes. “There’s only so much room in that pocket, and if your door warps, it can drag.”

Another problem is doors moving on their own. That often results from installers failing to ensure the level is placed on the metal track instead of any other components.

“It’s critical the metal track is level,” Striegler says, adding if it isn’t, “it won’t stay open or closed.”

Smooth running

Failure to slide smoothly is another potential issue. Place tape over the track bottom during installation to prevent mud and other debris from getting into the track. “For the roller to run smoothly, it must have a clean track,” Striegler says.

Pinched fingers in the door is a hazard that can be avoided by installing soft close and soft open hardware in new or existing pocket door frame tracks. “In today’s world, soft close hardware is much in demand and a hallmark of quality,” Striegler says.

Says Striegler: “Use quality hardware, follow the instructions and pay attention to the things I talked about, and you’ll get great function for years.”

Watch how to install Johnson’s 1500SC pocket door frame hardware with soft-close: Johnson Hardware® 1500 Series Pocket Door Frame Installation – YouTube

Since 1958, Johnson Hardware has been producing high quality sliding, folding and pocket door hardware that is made in the USA for residential and light commercial applications. Celebrating 65 years of precision engineering, the Company protects the health and safety of its employees and surrounding communities and ecosystems. It uses natural resources including raw materials, energy and water as efficiently as possible.

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