How do I build a new partition wall with slide pocket door?

Updated February 21, 2017

Pocket doors are a good way to control access and provide security in areas where the swing of a standard door might present a problem. Pocket doors are so named for the pocket in the frame of the wall into which they slide when opened. This allows all of the space on either side of the door to be used up to the edge of the door frame. By building a pocket door into a wall designed to partition existing space, you can ensure that you will have as much usable space as possible.

Measure the distance between the two walls that will frame the divider at either end. Cut two 2-by-4s to this length. Mark the inside line of the new wall across the ceiling with a chalk line. Use a stud locator to find the ceiling joists and mark them. The operation of different stud locators varies, so follow the package instructions or the label typically attached to the body of the locator for best results. Nail one of the 2-by-4s, aligned with the line you drew, to the ceiling joist, using 16d framing nails.

Mark the second 2-by-4 every 16 inches, starting from one end, to mark the centres of your studs. Measure the frame of the pocket door, or consult the installation instructions. Mark the required allowance for the width of the pocket door frame onto the 2-by-4. Typically, the studs nearest the frame will be adjusted to be flush with the outside of the frame. Consult the maker for more specific information. This 2-by-4 is your wall's top plate.

Cut enough studs to length, 4 1/2-inches shorter than your wall will be from floor to ceiling, to attach one at each end of the 2-by-4 and one at every 16-inch centre mark that is not inside the door allowance. Nail these studs to the top plate with a hammer and two 16d nails per stud.

Position the pocket door frame in the wall frame. Cut one stud to the same length as the wall studs to fit at each side. These are the king studs. Cut one stud to the height of the pocket door frame (typically 7 feet) minus 1 ½ inches for the sill plate at the bottom of the wall, for each side. These are the jack studs. Nail one jack stud to the face of each king stud.

Nail the double studs you just created to the top plate, with the shorter jack stud at the bottom of the frame, toward the door frame, flush against each side of the pocket door frame.

Measure and cut two 2-by-4s to fit the bottom of the wall, one from each end running to the far edge of the jack stud on that side. Nail these to the bottoms of the studs with 16d nails.

Cut two 2-by-4s to fit between the king studs on top of the jack studs. Position one on top of the jack studs and nail it in place, down through the 2-by-4 into the ends of the jack stud and from the outside of the king studs into the ends of the 2-by-4. Lay the second 2-by-4 on top of the first and nail it to the first and through the king studs into its ends.

Attach the pocket door frame to the lumber wall frame with the brackets and screws provided. Hardware and fasteners will vary from brand to brand, so follow the installation instructions included with the door carefully for best results. In general, use at least four fasteners on the top and down each side of the frame.

Mark the floor where your divider wall will stand. Align the bottom plate of the wall with the line and stand it upright. Align the top plate attached to the wall with the one you nailed to the ceiling and attach by driving nails up through top plate into the ceiling plate in the spaces between studs. Nail the bottom plate to the floor and the end studs to the existing walls.

Hang the door in its track by lifting it up with the bottom angled out so that the wheels are above the lip of the door track. Drop the door down to allow the wheels to rest in the track. Adjust the height of the two door carriages with the nut located at the top centre of each carriage with a wrench to level the door if needed. Follow the levelling instructions that came with the door for best results.


Each maker's frame design is slightly different. The clearances and attachments will be specific to the door you are installing. Consult the paper work with the door or the maker's website for more information.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 2-by-4 lumber--enough to frame to frame top and bottom and install a stud every 16 inches
  • Circular saw
  • Chalk line
  • Stud locator
  • Hammer
  • 16d nails--at least 4 for each stud
  • Pocket door and frame
  • Wrench
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About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.