A pocket door is a door that is "opened" by pushing it into a wall cavity, rather than by swinging. Pocket doors are commonly misnamed as sliding doors. (A sliding door does not disappear - it overlaps a wall or door.)
Allegedly, the pocket door was invented in late 17th century Italy, but it is decidedly most prominent in early 20th century suburban American interior design. They reached their heyday during the streamline era of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Though still in use today, pocket doors are considerably less common than they were half a century ago.
Pocket doors are ideal when space is limited but privacy is desired. To install a pocket door in your home:
- Purchase a pocket door assembly package.
- Frame your rough entryway to fit your pocket door's specifications. Be sure the frame is level!
- Attach the header-and-track assembly (what the pocket door slides on) properly with some screws.
- Attach some jamb stiffeners at the base of the entryway to strengthen the wall supports.
- Secure the door plates to the top of the door.
- Put the hangers on the track (these come with the door.) Hang the door on the hangers.
- Install door guides at the mouth of the pocket (where the door first comes out of the wall). These will help center the door as it leaves the pocket.
- Install door jambs on either side of the door to ensure the door doesn't get stuck so far in its hole you can't get it out.
- Trim the door with casing, attach the door handle of choice, finish the wall around the door so it looks pretty, and voila!