View Full Version : Pocket Door Behind a Shower Wall
05-23-2011, 10:53 PM
To save space in small bathroom/bedroom I want to switch out the bathroom door with a pocket door, as part of whole bathroom remodel.
It would need to slide behind the rear wall of the shower, opposite the side with all the plumbing. There isn't enough space to slide the door that way.
Before I get to far into the planning, is this a Ok idea or is there something inherently wrong I don’t know about? (i.e. it adversely effects the framing of the shower wall, code won't allow it, etc)
The shower walls and pan will most likely be mudded, same as it is now.
05-24-2011, 12:35 AM
I did that once in a new home that I had built.
The tile job lasted about 30 days, then I had to go back and tear it out to put in a solid wall and a door that swung in on hinges. I took out the pocket door.
Never again. Pocket door framing is very flexible and the tile won't be supported.
Sometimes you learn the hard way, but you don't have to in this case if my misfortune decades ago is any help to you.
A pocket door frame was never intended to be used for backing tile in a shower.
05-24-2011, 01:05 PM
If you can stand to make the wall thicker there, it can work fine...but, instead of using the somewhat flimsy thin studs they give you, I used regular 2x4's. This made the wall thicker, but it worked. If you can't make the wall thicker, I agree with Terry, it's a tossup, and may not work. Look at the hardware from www.johnsonhardware.com (http://www.johnsonhardware.com) . They supply metal jacketed 'studs' that may end up strong enough, especially if you can use plywood instead of drywall or cbu directly. Again, if you use ply, if you're tiling, you then need a vapor barrier and some cbu, but you could use 1/4" stuff over the ply and not make that wall too thick. Or, if you were tiling and going to use Kerdi, maybe 1/4" drywall, then the Kerdi (check out www.schluter.com (http://www.schluter.com) if you are thinking of tiling).
05-24-2011, 08:39 PM
Thank you very much for the warning, I will definitely avoid the flimsy big box store pocket door frames. (and I'm about 99% sure this aspect of the remodel is a no go)
Would you please clarify what you meant by making it out of regular 2x4s? Do you mean you added additional 2x4 wall framing inside of the original wall, with the door sliding between the two? Or rather that you replaced the horizontal “studs” of the pocket door with 2x4s? Or something else?
Use cultured marble wall panels and the rigidity of the door's frame will be immaterial. However, my walls have stood the test of time for 12 years now without the tile coming loose or failing, and I have pocket doors at both ends.
05-25-2011, 01:12 PM
Instead of using the supplied framing for the pocket, I framed it out of regular 2x4 lumber. this made the wall about twice as thick, but wasn't a big issue in the room where it is used.
Another possibility is a surface mounted track (similar to a barn door) in the room outside of the bathroom. Then, the walls are all 'normal'.
05-28-2011, 09:13 AM
You do not want to tile the back side of a pocket door in a perfect world. In the real world and here in Vancouver it comes up all the time.
I have my own little secrets and can share some pointers here with you all.
First off if you want to play by all the rules you need to address the deflection of the wall. L/360 for small tile and L/720 for large tile. This is very hard to do.
The wall to the right of the entry is the pocket door. Here there was a tub before and we just converted the tub to a shower. With a linear shower drain from Quick Drain USA.
05-28-2011, 09:13 AM
A typical pocket door is strapped with 1"x5" strapping most times. Adding 1/2" cement board is not going to help much if any in the flex. Adding 1/2" angle iron is a whole other story.
We installed two lengths of 1/2" angle iron and then taped them in place with mesh tape and thin set. To install the angle iron we pre drilled holes through the metal and used 5/8" pan head screws to secure the angle iron. The screws where set at 4" centers all the way up. For good luck we used a little construction adhesive as well.
Before the process started the pocket jamb was secured level and these braces left in place until the grouting of the tile was complete. The wall will be further stiffened with the glass panel and once installed against the pocket door wall and curb top will make this wall incredible strong.
You can see in this picture that the builder had the back side of the pocket door clad entirely with plywood. But still the wall had lots of flex.
I built the bottom 6" of my pans with 1/4" cement board - but this is a whole different thread...
One of two strips of 1/2" angle iron we attached to the plywood. Careful no fasteners stick through and into the pocket door cavity!
We installed two strips of 1/2" angle iron and then the 1/2" cement board. If you look close you will see I used metal stud framing as braces to pin the pocket jamb opening level and true.
This approach worked very well. Hope it helps.
11-14-2013, 06:36 AM
Thanks for the email Ed.
Sorry - not sure what happened to the photo's. I scanned for the orginals but could only find these few for you.
We further improved the stiffness of the wall with the fixed pane of glass. The brace on the pocket door opening left there until after tile and after glass installation.
The angle iron offers up only a fraction more strength.
Hope this helps.
Let me know if you need anything else Ed.