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retro pocket door in 1930's house

brucet999's picture

I have been asked about installing a pocket door in place of an existing 2-6 door in a bearing wall of a 1930's house. Does anyone have a good suggestion how to support roof loads while I remove existing header and studs in order to install a new header across a 5'-wide opening for the pocket door frame?

House 24' wide by about 35'long; hardwood floors over 1x6 subfloor boards; flat roof; center wall runs front to back supported under the floorboards by a 4x6 beam set on piers (outside walls are on concretefoundation). I am pretty sure that the joists that support the flat roof do not span the whole width of the house but rather span from outside walls to the center wall. Interior walls and ceilings are of course lath and plaster.

Thanks in advance.



(post #100322, reply #1 of 5)

Read the latest issue of Fine Homebuilding. There's a very elegant method of retrofitting a header into a load bearing wall. Otherwise, you'll need to use jacks and posts to transfer the load away from the wall and down to a solid foundation while you put in the new header.


"When we build, let us think that we build forever.  Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone." --John Ruskin

"so it goes"


(post #100322, reply #5 of 5)

Thanks guys. I'm always amazed that busy people like you will take time to help out with other guys' questions.

Zak, I especially appreciated the tip about the FH article. Just the preview illustrations online tell me enough, but I'm subscribing today so I won't miss other gems in the future.

BTW, do you suppose the method shown in the illustrations works only if you have one right-handed and one left-handed carpenter on the job? :-)


(post #100322, reply #2 of 5)

Build temp petitions 2ft inside of the bearing wall on either side.

You may want to run the header sizing by an engineer or your building inspector.

Good luck and be careful.




It's Never Too Late To Become What You Might Have Been






"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." — Sherlock Holmes, 1896

(post #100322, reply #3 of 5)

Zak is right. That FHB tip is awesome. That goes into the WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT category. Pick it up if you haven't seen it. It missed my mailbox by 1 week. I had just done a kitchen expansion with marble on one side and finished oak on the other. I had to get creative and pad the temp. bracing with moving blankets and packing foam. The FHB method would have saved me a few hours. Looking back I'm glad it was time and materials!!!!!!!!

Good Luck,


(post #100322, reply #4 of 5)

If you get really scared off - try a door mounted on barn-door hardware. It is surface mounted, so it won't look anything like a pocket door - but I suppose the advantages (besides not having a swing) is that it still slides out of the way, and you don't have to get too down and dirty.

All the best...

To those who know - this may be obvious. To those who don't - I hope I've helped.