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Put a Pocket Door Into a Load Bearing Wall

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Jackie in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    JACKIE: Yes. We’re remodeling a bedroom in our basement and we had a door in there that – to the closet; it’s a walk-in closet that opened into the room. And I would have – I would like to replace it with one of those pocket doors that – pocket doors that pull across so it won’t take out any of the room in the …

    TOM: Yeah, you’re talking about the kind that slides in so it becomes hidden? It slides into the wall? Or are you talking about another …?

    JACKIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Alright. Not the kind that’s more like an accordion.

    JACKIE: No, I want the kind that goes into the wall.

    TOM: OK.

    JACKIE: And our contractor told us that that’s a bearing wall and we can’t do that.

    TOM: Alright. Well, look, even if it’s a bearing wall, you can frame for it but here’s what you have to do. If your door is 2 feet wide – the finished width is, say, 24 inches – the size of the opening that you need for this is double that.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It has to be like double it, right?

    TOM: It’s even more than that; it’s more like 50, 52 inches. So you frame an opening for, say, a 52-inch-wide opening. You put the pocket door in and the hardware for it and you leave the exposed part and then it slides into the wall and that part gets covered with drywall. That’s why the header has to be twice as big.

    It’s not – in a normal door, if it’s a two-foot door, it’s going to be a 26, 28-inch header. But with a pocket door, it has to be twice as big. So that may be why he’s trying to talk you out of it. I would further clarify that with him because you can put a header. I mean if you can have a two-foot door, you can have a four-foot door; it’s just a slightly different header size.

    LESLIE: Yeah, but there’s – a pocket door goes in the wall. There’s something that they call – I think it’s like a barn-style door where you put this mechanism on the exterior of the wall, so you would see it in the room. And it can be kind of, you know, modern-looking or it could be kind of like funky and country looking and the door hangs on this track and will slide over the wall.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) It slides over the wall. Right.

    LESLIE: And you can get like a fantastic-looking door and a really great-looking track where it could be, you know, rustic and country and then a great, salvaged-wood-type door. So if it’s a look thing that you like, it can be functional and then you don’t have to worry about the load-bearing wall at all.

    JACKIE: Oh, that sounds good. I can match it with track lighting.

    TOM: Sure.

    LESLIE: Yeah, totally.

    JACKIE: Yeah, that’s – I like that. In fact, I think I even like that better than the pocket door.

    TOM: Alright. So there we go, giving you a new idea. Jackie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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