Pocket doors are popular because they do not take up space when they swing and are completely out of sight when they are open. While convenient, pocket doors are not immune to problems. The tracks which the doors slide open and shut can be noisy. Also, a track that is not properly installed could have alignment problems, making it difficult or impossible to completely close. For these reasons, it is sometimes necessary to replace the pocket door track.
Step 1 – Take Out Door
Using a utility knife, cut through the paint and caulk at the base of the door stop, which should be a strip of wood that runs vertically along the door jam. Then use a putty knife together with a hammer as a pry-bar to lift up the door stops from the side of the door frame. You should be able to remove them smoothly, enabling you to reuse them later. Now, swing the door out from the bottom and lift it off the track.
Step 2 – Removing Old Door Track Hardware
Now, remove the top casing on the other side of the doorway along with a small piece (1/2 to 3/4 inches) of the door frame. Using an electronic stud sensor, locate the part of the door track that is concealed within the pocket of the wall. Mark the top, bottom, and sides clearly. Use a sharp drywall saw to cut an area within the borders you marked that will allow comfortable access for your tools to remove the existing door track. When the wall is removed, take out the screws holding the track and remove the hardware.
Step 3 – Leveling the Top of the Door Frame
As mentioned previously, pocket doors can be misaligned, leaving gaps between the door and jam when closed. This was probably caused by the fact that your previous door track was not installed in a level manner. To avoid this the second time around, use a leveler to determine if the area you are screwing the door track to is 180 degrees, or horizontal. If the leveler indicates that it is not, you can use a thin wood shim and nail it to the area which is uneven. This will create a more level surface to install the new door track. Now, you can screw the new pocket door track to the top of the door frame.
Step 4 – Putting the Door on the New Track
Remove the old hardware from the door and install the new plates that came with your door track. Slide the door up towards the top of the door frame. Use your putty knife and some of the wood shims to get the door to the proper height, and hook plates onto the hangers already on the door track. Now you are almost done. Put the door stops back on that you removed in Step 1. If there is still a gap between the door and the jam when it closes, you should be able to adjust the hangers up or down on the track to get the door aligned with the jam.