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Page 4 of 7: How to install pocket door:
Install switch on pocket door

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If new switch is for existing pocket door, the switch can be surface mounted with surface conduit carrying wire to switch.
If switch is to be installed inside the wall, then the drywall must be removed to ensure wiring is carefully fit inside the narrow space and cannot rub against pocket door.
Use shallow box.


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Use shallow box for pocket door.
The pocket door frame may not have a good place to connect to wood.
Best plan: A 3/4" block of wood can be attached to frame, giving a place to attach the box.
Another method, for attaching shallow box, although problematic, is using switch box supports shown below
shallow wall box
Shallow wall box
install switch on pocket door Remember: the box must be located at least 4-5" away from edge of pocket door frame
This will allow space for door trim and cover plate, plus not look crowded.

Best choice/ Method 1: Install support board.
Advantage: box can be installed while drywall is removed, so wires can be installed so they don't rub door.
Toenail a 3/4" board between slats on pocket door frame
Attach shallow wall box to board.
Be sure to set face of box out 1/2" from flush of pocket door so drywall will finish correctly.
Box has 1 small KO located in bottom of box for wire... if more holes are needed, drill 3/8" hole into bottom of box.
Keep wires away from opening where door will slide. Add a steel nail plate over wire so nail will not penetrate wire.
Install Box support

Method 2: Use box supports.
Slide a box support along each side of shallow box. Firmly pull support against inside of drywall, then fold the flanges into the box.
In this case the wire must enter box from bottom or top. Wire on the side will interfere with box supports.
The PROBLEM with this plan is the extra length of wire needed for the box to sit outside the drywall. When the box is shoved back into the hole, the extra wire can be difficult to lay flat enough not to rub door. Possible solution is leaving a section of drywall off until switch is installed, so hand can be used to run the wire into switch box.

Switch Box Supports<
Method 3: Old work box.
Full-depth old work box can be cut down to meet depth. Not code. Not recommended
Problem is back of box is open, and must be sealed.
Electric tape is not satisfactory, and will come loose.
Plastic square box cover can be cut to shape and siliconed to back of old work box...but the silicone is not rated for heat and voltage safety requirment for electrical installation. Plus has same problem as switch box supports shown above where wires cannot shoved back into hole without risk of rubbing against door.
Electric wiring:
If the old switch was on same wall as pocket door, then length of wire usually becomes a problem since original wire drops down from top plate. This wire goes to the overhead light fixture. Sometimes there is additional wire going to nearby outlet box.

Install 3/4" shallow wall box for the wall switch. A full-depth box will interfere with the door. Likewise the wire requires careful installation so door does not rub wire.
If you drop the wire straight down from top plate, it requires drilling through header, and then cutting through the horizontal slats of pocket door frame... this will seriously weaken the frame unless you add new vertical 1x2 slats between top and bottom of frame, or attach sections with metal strap.
Ideal solution is to run a new piece of wire, full length,
 from switch box to ceiling light.
Or install octagon junction box (as illustrated) so you can lengthen wire. However: Do NOT conceal junction box inside wall. To solve problem, install battery-powered smoke detector over the octagon box, or add a sconce or track light.
Use cable staples to hold wires to 2x4. Keep wire in center of 2x4.
To prevent hazard of drywall nails puncturing wire, it is best to nail thin metal plates, typically found in hardware store alongside joist hangers, over the 2x4 where wires pass.

Check electric before installing drywall, and mark where wires are to avoid putting nail into the cable.

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Sconce light
Nailing the left-side jamb to pocket door frame at the top but not nailing lower down is an advantage from this point on.
Cut door so it fits into the opening.
Important: You want a close fit. No more than 1/4" less than opening width. If you cut off slightly more, there are work arounds, but more than 1/2" too narrow can be a problem. If you are not comfortable making such a close shave, the left side door jamb can be pried slightly wider at top and then pushed back using prybar.

Attach roller hanger hardware on top of door with screws. Make sure screws are stout enough to hold door. If you choose a solid core door, the weight might be a problem over time. A panel door or hollow-core door is best choice.

To hang the door: Tip door out at bottom and lift to attach to the track rollers. Once the door is hanging straight down, it will not come off the rollers.

Carefully check that the door rolls into the pocket door frame without touching wires or nail etc. Anything that sticks into the opening will scratch the door.
If the door works fine and looks good, remove and apply paint or stain etc so door is finished. Re-install door after drywall in installed.
Pocket door frame
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End page 4/
How to install pocket door:
Back to
page 1 remove old door and trim
page 2 cut opening for pocket door
page 3 install new frame for pocket door

Go to next pages:
page 5 install drywall on pocket door  
page 6 reinstall trim, texture, paint  
page 7 install handrail on pocket door

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