Many times a kitchen will include an interior door that separates the dining room from the kitchen and the swinging door may just eat up too much space. Or you may have a standard door on a pantry that just takes up too much space when the door swings open or closed. Either way, when kitchen space is cramped a door can seem like a nuisance. When the door has to stay but space in the kitchen is at a premium, consider replacing a standard door with a pocket door. A pocket door hides away in the wall when it is opened then slides easily back into place separating your kitchen from your dining room or hiding the contents of the pantry.
Here is what you need to know to replace a standard interior kitchen door with a pocket door.
Evaluate the Situation
Before you can install a pocket door, you need to know if the location is appropriate for one. First of all, there needs to be adequate space next to the door opening for the door to fit inside. Secondly, the wall cannot be a load bearing wall because adding a pocket door to a load bearing wall can result in structural damage. The third consideration is determining what is behind the wall. If there are electrical or plumbing components a pocket door may not be a good option: It is not always difficult to reroute electrical wiring but moving pipes can be costly if even feasible. If you aren’t sure of what you are getting into, consult with a licensed contractor; they can usually ascertain what is behind the wall by examining the crawl space or basement area beneath it.
Choosing a Pocket Door
Pocket doors are typically sold in kits that include the door, the track and all related hardware. Pocket doors come in several standard styles and can be chosen to suit any decor. You can usually find flat door styles, as well as 6-panel styles and louvered doors, although some more ornate styles can be special ordered or ordered from online sources. You should paint or finish and unfinished door before hanging it; then touch up if necessary.
Installing the Pocket Door
The first step for installing the door is to remove the trim above the existing door, as well as the trim on the side of the door opening that will contain the pocket door when open. Of course, you also need to remove the existing door itself. Open the wall space above the door opening and to the side where the “pocket” will be located and install the track above according to kit instructions. Be sure to install the track so that it is level and straight so that the door will be able to slide freely. Next hang the door and touch up the paint if needed. Then enjoy your newfound kitchen space!
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