The Master Bath Pocket Door Adventure. Part II.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

So finally, one week to the day after purchasing the pocket door kit, pieces were falling into place in my head.  Things were making sense and I was starting to feel better, more comfortable with what lay ahead.

I mean, I had flashes of no no no no no just get under the covers and hide forever but I couldn't do that.  Let myself down?  Let Mike down?  Let you all down?  Nope.  Could not do that.

It got dark there for a stretch, I will not lie.  Mike said to me, heh, "Einstein got fired from the patent office; see what he did?  You're smart enough to figure this out.  You can do it babe."

So.  Off I went.  Omg.  And a week and a half later, it's done.  It's in.  It even works!  I know, right?!  I am in utter shock.  Truly.

I did it!  I did it!!!!  Holy sh*t I did it.  Butt wiggle dance.

What lit a fire under my rear end to get this massive list check mark done was this tutorial I had read a bit back.  They used a kit similar to what I was planning on buying.  They lucked out with no electric in the way, essentially nothing at all to impede progress.  But.  It was this tutorial that made me realize oh, hey, it is indeed possible with only one wall side removed, ok, gonna go get it, I can do this!  Rawr, hell yeah!!

A gentleman named James Mason did a video tutorial with a similar kit as well which is a helpful watch.  I learned an excellent tip on how to true up the opening with trim after everything is installed which I will need to do as wow, this here rough framing is not square, plumb, level nor true.  The best part of the video I must say, heh, is his Australian accent.

There's a lot out there online.

But be careful on the interwebs.  As helpful as it can be, as I alluded last time in one way, shape, or form, just because it looks easy in a tutorial does not mean it is in reality.  Check yourself and always always consult and/or hire actual licensed professionals in cases like this.


Emailed my dad about a header and that's when things started to click.  "Are you sure??" he asked about this whole pocket door shebang.  After he trustingly sent me header info, I went back to AutoCAD* and drew up all the new stuff in combination with the door kit drawing I had previously done.

So ok, bingo, the dust was clearing in my head and this thing was starting to gel.  I guess the size of a project is directly related to the amount of time I need to get it figured out.  But I was feeling almost pumped at this juncture.

Granted, the labor part still had to happen which was heh, making me positively nervous.  But, whooie, away I went.

First, because the new header was going to be sizably taller yet more drywall had to come off!  Oy I know, I may as well have taken all the drywall off.

At this point, the only thing that may salvage the wall will be wallpaper.  Heh.  Ahhh too bad so sad!  I already know the perfect one, if it exists and it's not fifty trillion dollars.  I'll unexpectedly come across something even better while searching though.

All righty, it was go time.  All in baby!  Yes, heart racing, butterflies in stomach, nerves a jangled mess, hands shaking...ok ok, you get it.  Grabbed the reciprocating saw....

I followed the list I had made, which I taped to the wall along with the new drawing.

pocket door installation task list and drawing
List and drawing, go.
First the door came off the hinges.  Too easy.  But hey, I'll take any little confidence booster I can get, all right?

Incrementally harder step, the door frame.  A buzz up and down the sides with the saw and out it popped.  Right on.

ladder I carry everywhere
Pardon the messy bedroom.  Heh, my handy assistant hidden by the ladder.  I have had that ladder for twenty years.  Huh.
Next, the two studs of the door frame a.) so that I could use them as a header jack while attacking other areas and b.) so that I could get to the middle stud easier.

creating header jack
Oh yeah, freak out time.  I am destroying our house.  Go Becky, go Becky.  Yikes.
The middle stud was next, despite my organized-by-steps list.

I had picked up two different demolition blades plus two metal blades and none of them were cutting through drywall screws.  Nor squeaking between the stud and drywall.  This guy made the slicing and sheering sound sooooooooo frickin' easy.  Nuh uh.  Nope.  Could not make it happen.

So?  I thought I was absolutely and thoroughly hosed at this point.  And what a point to be hosed at, after all that's come out.

I had attempted to trim the screws that were poking through from "holding" the edge trim of the tile on the reverse side but all that was happening were screws wiggling around, no cutting.  I ended up yanking them through.  Upsettingly far too easily.


Ya know, sometimes on occasion, and it pains me deeply to say, I'm grateful the flipper did a crappy job.  By that I mean it can make my job of redoing and fixing things way easier.  At times.

removing wall studs for pocket door
Outlet still in, middle stud gone now.  Um, can we say panic?
Take for instance that half inch drywall on the shower side.  Yeah.  Whew, thank goodness for that or I may never have gotten the studs out!  No joke.

Because of the edge trim screws pulling through too easily, I trimmed the bottoms of the studs, then the tops to the I-found-out-later-not-quite-the-correct-required height (yeah that sucked), oxymoron-ly whacked them gently with a hammer a few times and the studs, with the screws still attached, pulled right out of the drywall.


Yes, ok, it's not the most ideal scenario but hey, sometimes ya gotta go with what works, amiright?!

I am so glad Mike was at work though all of this.

In the end, I wasted a chunk of change on saw blades that would not do as advertised.  Not happy.  But, plus side, Ken gets a handful of new blades for his saw!

Photo array time....We need an 80's music montage for this I'm sure.

moving the outlet for the pocket door
Moody photo time as the power was shut off to the room.  Outlet, sayonara.  For now.

everything out in prep for pocket door
You wanna talk about alarming, everything is finally out here.  I was terrified yet strangely driven.

installing pocket door frame kit into wall
Kit skooched into the wall.  Light at end of tunnel!  I see it! 
I had forgotten how 2x4's are not interested in going into a wall opening posthumously here so I was unable to get a full height stud in next to the back of the kit unfortunately.  Ambition fire lit anew though as the kit was now located in the wall.  Unreal.  Kit in wall.  Shaking my head.

reinstalling the wall outlet next to pocket door
Outlet reinstalled and rewired, check.  Oh yeah, sweet!!
new header installed over pocket door frame kit
Kit, outlet.  Header!! Oh my, lookie at that new header!  (Nope, will not share what it consists of; do not copy what you think is mine either as your situation will be different.)
I'm on a roll now y'all!  What's next, what's next?!?!  Door?!?!  Door time?!?!?!  Omg.  Light <---> tunnel!

Getting the door attached to the rollers was, how shall I say, a major bitch.  I don't think I've ever sworn and whined and whimpered so much and so loudly in all my life.

Once it was on?  Hey, why is the knob hole so weirdly high up...oh you have got to be f'ing kidding me.

hanging the door inside the pocket kit upside down
Are you freakin' serious right now?  I put the brackets on the bottom of the door and it's upside down?!  Aw sh*tballs.  It was almost funny. Almost.
I was sans snack and water obviously, the world crashing down before me.  Exasperated but determined, I hiked up me jeans and re-did it.  Lots more swearing and whining of course.

Finn unfazed by my swearing
"This is what I was doing while Mommy was swearing like a sailor."
I have to say, I really learned a lot on this project.  I learned about our house and how to install a pocket door kit of course.  But I also learned a hell of a lot about myself in the face of adversity (just let that play out in the background), how I handled and overcame fear ("Fear never conquered anything," said Tim Gunn recently), how I coped with the magnitude of this project, how I organized, compartmentalized the process in order to move forward one step at a time.  I discovered that I could push myself harder and further than I thought I'd go, persevere as Mike said, and get it done.  D O N E done.  I learned and grew.

But uh yeah whatev's dude, DONE!!

pocket door kit finally installed and finished
O.M.G.  Pocket door.  O.M.G.  No frickin' way.  Heh, see Finn's ear shadows near the top left?  Ha!  So funny.
And what a check mark it is off my list.  Holy cats and dogs, people.  I totally feel like I should have some sort of ceremony, maybe a monumental parade when I scratch "master bath pocket door" off the to-do list.

all the space after pocket door installation
Bad bad photo but  No more swinging door taking up tons of space and whacking the shower doors.  Unbelievable.
The learning made it all worthwhile.  Well, that and having a damn freakin' pocket door now!!  I swear, I about tinkled my pants when it was done.  Yes, I opened and closed, opened and closed the door for like twenty minutes afterwards.  Seriously.  Finn was giving me the stink eye for it too.

view of pocket door inside bathroom
Even worse photo but I do not even care.  Wow, just wow, a pocket door.  I did that.
I am not a toot-my-own-horn person in the least but I have to say, though I'm still in shock that it's complete, by me, I am damn proud of myself.  This project stressed me out, I didn't think I was going to survive it many a' time, I wanted to give up, but I stuck with it.  Thumbs up dude.

view of pocket door from bedroom side
My message to you here?  Don't give up.  Decide you can do something, hang in there through thick and thin no matter how rough, and you'll make it.  And hey, if it just will not happen, you tried and there's huge value in that.  But keep trying.

Mike, my cheerleader, was suitably impressed.  Of course he was looking at all the other stuff I have to finish but overall he was thrilled.  He's funny though, he looked at it all like eh, no big deal, it's what you do.  So thanks babe for believing in me!  Thanks Ken for the saw!  Thanks Dad for the structural help!

Would I do this again?  As I sit here now, nope.  Never again, ha!  What a pain in the a**. guess never say never.  It's always easier the second time, right?  Heh, time heals all wounds?

Clearly there's quite the wrap-it-up list left to accomplish, but uh, I am taking a door break.  Plus my birthday is tomorrow, so yeah, gonna wallow in year-older tears while having a super fantastic dinner with my sweetheart and my folks.  I deserve a break today.  I installed a pocket door.

But I think I'll stick to smaller projects for a wee bit to recoup though, heh, if that's all right.  I am wiped!

By the way, a big shout out and chest thump to Kim at The Kim Six Fix for featuring my dog slobber splash blocker!  So awesome, I can't thank her enough!

All righty, catch ya soon!

*The AutoCAD link is an AutoDesk affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. That looks amazing, you should definitely pat yourself on the back. I love your blog!

  2. Awesome job Becky, you nailed it! Thanks for the shout out!!

    1. Thank you!! Hey, thanks for having such a helpful video!

  3. Awesome!!! You're going to love using it. I hope you have a lovely day tomorrow.

    1. Thanks!! We're loving it for sure! Thank you for the wishes!

  4. How did you go about replacing the drywall? How do you make the wall look like one smooth piece after cutting it up and putting it back together?

    This is MAGICAL and I'm sure you sigh with satisfaction every time you go through that door! Excellent write-up and congratulations!

    1. To be honest, I haven't wrapped that up yet. I put back all the pieces, used that mesh drywall seam tape, and have put one coat of joint compound over everything. I need to sand and recoat. Surely Mike is tired of looking at it!

      It is tough, that's for sure. I think the painters sprayed in their primer coat so all our walls have a little texture to them, making it very difficult to seem as if it didn't happen. We'll see, I have plenty left to do.

      But yes, that door, soooooo magical. I really do stand there and open and close it, open and close! True love for sure! Thank you so much!

  5. Looks amazing. I love how you laid this out for us all to see.

  6. What did you use to cut the drywall?

  7. I used my compact circular saw and set the depth of the blade for the thickness of the drywall. Made the task very easy and quick.


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