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How to Create More Bedroom Floor Space

Home > Articles > Additions & Remodeling > How to Create More Bedroom Floor Space

Written by: David E. Dean

My name is David Dean and together with my partner Barbara Dean we own and operate Heritage Custom Carpentry & Remodel. At Heritage Custom we have installed or repaired hundreds of pocket doors over the past 17 years. As pocket door professionals we realize that many houses have small bedrooms which limit the amount of furniture that can be placed in the room. Of course having a 30" wide door opening and a 30" wide section of wall for the door to open up against creates 60" of unusable wall space. I am sure you would love to have more floor and wall space to put an heirloom armoire or a book case or even a comfortable chair.

There is a way to open up 30" of floor space in order to accommodate a new piece of furniture. This is with a wall mounted pocket door. Traditionally pocket doors open up by sliding into the "pocket" in the wall. These can be installed where there is no existing pocket door. But the cost is rather high and for a 30" wide door there must be 36" of clear wall space on either side of the door that is accessible. Assessable meaning there can be no cabinets, plumbing tile showers, vanity or any obstructions in the wall or against the wall. Also no adjacent wall can end into the 36" space creating an inside corner of the room on either side of the wall.

For a 30" wide pocket door, installation requires removal of 36" of drywall, studs and base plate. This area is used to house the pocket frame for the door to slide into. Also above the door from one side of the existing door opening to the complete other side of the pocket door frame, a "header" must be installed. This is usually a 4 x 10 beam "#2 grade or better".

Pocket sliding door with light wood trim

Remember to check with local building codes to learn what size beam must be used for your area. This heard beam will hold up the ceiling joists when the wall studs are removed in order to install pocket door frame. Basically for a 30" wide door way we need to create a 66" wide door way where 36" of it are pocket and 30" of it is opening. Any existing light switch our electrical outlet must be moved at this time. Pocket door frame is then installed and drywall, texture and paint. This project usually has a cost of $2,500.00 to $3,500.00.

Another way to get back that 30" of floor space for furniture is to install what is called a surfaced mounted pocket door. This type of door works well because your limiting factors are only what is on the outside of the wall, Inside corner or cabinets. It does not matter what is inside the wall because there is no pocket for the door to slide into. The cost for this type of door is about $400.00 to $600.00, a significant cost savings to installing a traditional pocket door.

Surface mounted doors are installed with an angle track installed on the wall above the door way. The door is hung on this track and slides in front of the wall next to the door. The closing side and top of the door jamb must be built out an additional 4" for the door to slide into when closed. This will allow for installation of lock and latch. A small soffit is built around the track using either 5" crown molding or 4" base molding and is attached to the track itself. Absolutely no removal of drywall or wall studs, no mess no disturbing the ceiling joists either. With your new surfaced mounted pocket door you can put an armoire next to the door not worrying about the door having to swing open because the door just slides behind the furniture piece. - 714-670-9309 - heritagecustom at

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