When we built the mancave and craft studio in the basement, double door access was a must have so we could easily move my industrial equipment into the space. We used a sliding door kit elsewhere in the house and were so happy with the result that it was a no-brainer to install a similar system in our basement. This time, we chose to do pocket doors since we were dealing with new construction.
This isn’t an affiliate post so you can trust our unbiased opinion; we just have to sing the praises of quality products when we come across them. One big advantage in investing in a quality system, like the K.N. Crowder pocket door kit we used, is that the door can be hung AFTER all the work is complete. You don’t have to build into the wall during construction. Another advantage of the K.N. Crowder system over those you can find at the big box store is the steel components. The steel is strong and durable. Since K.N. Crowder provides awesome instructions with their kits, we’re just going to show some highlights of our install.
For a double access pocket door, you need two single frame kits. Hubs started with the wooden frame structure before adding the steel header and uprights from the kits.
Once the framing is in place, the steel header can go in (cut to size if necessary). Since we’re installing two doors, our header is extra wide to accommodate two 24″ doors. Joiner kits are available for even wider expanses.
The header rests on the brackets (which Hubs points out in his video). Install one screw in the oval slot (the slot allows leeway to adjust up and down if necessary so you can get the header perfectly level).
Slide the hanger assembly for the doors and track stops onto the track before the header goes in. The header track is lowered onto the brackets to span the opening of the doors. At this point, double check to be sure the header is level. Then the bracket is screwed securely in place using the remaining two holes on either side.
The steel uprights are placed on a bracket too. The uprights are plumbed and secured to the top of the header track.
Here you can see where the door will eventually slide right in between the vertical uprights.
The picture below shows the right side of the pocket; you can see the face of the uprights more clearly.
Testing it Out
Just for fun, Hubs installed the door hangers to test out the track with an old door, which we eventually upcycled and turned into a desktop for my craft studio. Waste not want not!
The ‘test’ door was obviously not the right size so Hubs double checked the measurements to make sure there was enough clearance for the actual door before drywalling.
Before closing it all in, Hubs insulated between the two rooms to help a bit with sound transfer between the common wall of his mancave and my craft studio.
Here’s how it looks from the other side (from the craft studio looking into the mancave).
Once the drywall goes on, you finally get a sense of the width or the opening. Later on you’ll see that Hubs found a creative solution to bridge the gap between the metal header and the ceiling.
We had fun with the temporary door, but found a brand new pair of 24″ doors on Kijiji for only $15 each; you can’t beat that!
Measure Twice, Rout Once!
Before painting the doors, we hung them so we could eyeball where to place the door pulls. It’s so much easier to visualize exactly where the pulls look good when they’re vertical. Hubs and I took turns stepping back to view the pull from a distance. We left the plastic wrap on the door so we could mark the measurements right on the plastic.
Before You Paint
Double doors take up a lot of surface area so we painted an extra large swatch of the colour on a piece of foamcore to help us decide if it was the right colour for the space. The paint got the thumbs up from both of us! More info about the paint later.
Once everything was decided, Hubs could rout out for the door pulls. It doesn’t have to be too perfect; the edges get covered by the extended sides on the pull.
Hubs also cut aluminum guide to size and a channel in the bottom of the door to accommodate it. Here’s a closeup of the aluminum once placed into the channel. The door was painted in preparation for it to be hung.
The guide for the aluminum track is a nylon tube with a screw in the centre.
Hubs positioned the guide and screwed it in just inside either end of the pocket.
Ready to Hang
Now we can focus on the top of the door. Hubs attached a bracket that will secure the bolt once the door is lifted in place. One side is left free to it can be secured once the bolt is in position.
This is the top plate assembly to hang the door:
Hubs turned the door around so he could screw the hanger plates into the top of the door.
The centre of the top plate assembly is positioned equally in from the edge of each door. The door is predrilled and the top plate secured with 4 flathead screws.
Hubs hung the right door first, then started on the left side. Here’s a closeup of how the guide works in conjunction with the channel:
The top plates are in place on the second door and it’s ready to hang.
Remember the bracket (six pictures above)? Hubs secures the other side of it to sandwich the bolt in place.
But when we stepped back, we could see our doors were out of alignment.
Not a problem! You can easily make height adjustments if necessary with a wrench (as shown on the video).
And Now the Fun Part!
At the entry into my craft studio (on the mancave side), Hubs and I combined personal pieces to create this vignette. The black and white photography is a picture of a car I took and then submitted to Jones soda. They liked it so much, they actually featured it on one of their soda bottles! Hubs scoured the city to find the 3 bottles with my car picture on it shown here. The shelf they rest on was pretty easy to build.
Hubs loves to restore gas heaters so we pulled a yellow one from his collection. I guess it was meant to be, because the yellow soda bottles look great with Hubs’ heater!
The car photo was so well received, that Jones Soda actually ran it on a second production line. The second run ended up being a grape flavour. If you ask Hubs, he’s pretty happy he didn’t end up with purple decor! As much as I love purple, I guess I am too.
A Final Surprise
I wasn’t around for the last step which was to hide the track with a custom header. Here you can see the edge as Hubs positions it to bridge the gap.
Hubs finishing touch was a wonderful surprise for me! He made a header with a chalk board face so he could create a custom sign over the entry to my studio.
Notwithstanding its form and function, I didn’t know Hubs had it in him to write legibly!! I can actually read what it says! What a great way to cap off the entry to my craft studio!
On the other side of the pocket doors, in my sewing room, we hung a North Street sign found on one of our antiquing ventures; it actually DOES face north! The bottle green enamel vintage lights were another DIY.
Our double pocket doors turned out better than I ever imagined. It may seem complicated, but thanks to quality hardware, it was a pretty straightforward DIY. We really believe that paying a little extra always pays off in the end!
If this post has inspired you to try a pocket door in your own home, pin it for later! Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!
For anyone wanting to know about the type and colour of the paint, we used PPG Break-Through, satin finish. Break-Through is our go-to paint; it dries in less than 20 minutes! However, the actual colour is from the Benjamin Moore paint deck and is Van Courtland Blue (HC-145). You might recognize this colour; it’s one we also used to makeover my Mom’s existing vanity when we reno’d her ensuite bathroom.
Other Pocket Door Installs
If you’re curious to see where else we installed K.N. Crowder pocket doors in our house, check out our living room makeover. Our first post talks about knocking down a wall between two rooms to install sliding doors and the second one discusses the unique way in which we created a shoji screen look for our custom doors. For this DIY, it was all about letting the light shine in!
This won’t be the last time we install K.N. Crowder pocket doors so stay tuned. We recently worked on an accessible bathroom makeover for my Mom. We hired out the work to HGTV personalities the Brolaws. It was their first time using the K.N. Crowder pocket door system and they loved it just as much as us! If you don’t want to miss it, get your DIY mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe to us here. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
If you’re still on the fence about pocket doors (or any sliding door for that matter), K.N. Crowder has an entire gallery full of residential and commercial ideas so go check them out and get inspired!