pocket door question.. again..
So the people I hired to remove two walls and replace with LVLs, finally got their part done. mostly..

One of the things I had asked them to quote was framing and installing a pocket door in the new wall. 
They quoted just about $800 for the track and framing/installation.  I asked what brand track, they said it would be a "Rocket Pocket" brand which looked ok, it's ~$200 at Home Depot.  

After they then damaged hardwood floors they weren't supposed to work around, I basically said "supply the pocket door assembly and frame it in for free, and we'll call it even" to which they agreed.

Framer arrives with an $18 bi-fold closet door track from Home Depot and I basically said "uh, no that's not what we discussed" 

So he calls his boss, who proceeds to scour the surrounding Home Depot's for a properly sized Rocket Pocket door frame, and he couldn't find one. He found a Johnson brand (better I think) somewhere and brought it to the site. 

However, the frame he brought was for a 2x4 wall, but this is a 2x6 wall it's going into.

Framer says to me "you know, I've been building houses for 25 years, and this metal framing mechanism is designed to give good structure to a pocket door inside a 2x4 wall. You've got a 2x6 wall, I can use 2x4's on edge to frame out the opening and it will be just as strong.. The 'cheap bi-fold closet door track' will be fine for the roller mechanism.   

Still partly unconvinced, I said I wasn't sure about the quality of that track, but could accept that a good rigid opening could be framed that way in the 2x6 wall. 

He said "ok, we'll go see if we can find a Johnson track for a 2x6 wall and get back to you"

Haven't heard anything yet.

My question is, is the steel frame (i.e.. Johnson or Rocket Pocket brand) necessary in a 2x6 wall given that he could use 2x4's on edge to create a rigid opening to which drywall can be screwed? And if so, is a simple bifold closet door style metal track and wheels mechanism sufficient?

I don't imagine the door itself will be particularly heavy.
I'll start this by saying that I generally hate pocket doors (and bi-fold doors), but that's probably strongly influenced by the builder's-grade stuff that is usually encountered.

A number of years ago, I encountered a pocket door in someone else's house that was actually really nice, and that was enough to convince me to include one in the master bathroom remodel that I did a few years back. I have been happy with it since then. The items that I believe to be key to my happiness are: high quality hardware with ball bearing slides, a solid core door (the weight makes a difference to me), high quality hardware, soft-open/close features (more important with a solid-core door), and high quality hardware.

One question up front for you that may impact your decisions is how much you anticipate using the door. In some houses, I've seen pocket doors that I don't think have been closed in years. Since ours is on a bathroom, we use it daily.

For my hardware, I used Johnson and have been happy with it. It appears that they've done some slight modifications since I purchased it, but nothing crazy. I used the 1500 series for a 2x4 wall in a 2x6 wall. I did not center the door in the wall so that I could add extra cut-down 2x4 supports to the bathroom side to stiffen the bathroom side of the wall as much as possible, given that it would have tile on it and any flex could be a problem (note: I added the cut-down 2x4s to the steel framing, not in place of it, and think I added some extra 2x4s on edge in between the steel members as well). So yes, if you have a framer that knows what he's doing, this can absolutely be done. He'll probably have to rip some 2x4s to get the right thickness. I'd vote for keeping the steel framing in there in addition to whatever wood is needed to get the right wall thickness instead of just relying on 2x4s on edge, but it's probably not the end of the world if you just use 2x4s (again, depending on your situation and if this a wall where some stiffness i

Even with the steel frame of the Johnson kit, the wall around the pocket door will have more flex than a standard 2x4 or 2x6 wall. I'm a fan of beefing it up as much as possible, but I like to overdo things. The width of your door (and thus the pocket) will also play into how stiff things are.

If Rocket Pocket is at least comparable quality to Johnson, that could be a good option too. I am not familiar with Rocket Pocket.

I would never use a simple bifold closet metal track and wheels mechanism (sounds like a cheap, low-quality alternative) as a replacement to a high quality pocket track. But if you never plan to realistically close that door, maybe it's a non-issue.

Good luck!
The pocket door I installed years ago was to install the metal parts of the door in the wall then fir the wall out to 2x4 thickness. Is there a reason he can't simply use the door designed for a 2x4 framed wall and fir to the thickness he needs? As long as the door tracks end up in the center of the wall, it shouldn't matter how thick the wall is.

Good points. I do expect this door will be opened and closed on a fairly regular basis. Pocket door because a door that swings in either direction would be intrusive given where it's being placed, sliding into the wall seems a perfect solution.

Sounds like they brought the same track you used, the 1500 series.. I too thought why can't the 2x4 based Johnson frame be made to work in a 2x6 wall. Do you happen to have any pix of how you made it work in a 2x6 wall?
I too have used a 2x4 version of the Johnson track in a thicker wall.  My reason was that it allowed for placing light switches on that wall.  I simply installed the kit flush with one side of the wall and used 2x2 furring strips to build out the other side.  Just screwed them to the steel/wooded studs of the kit.  That resulted in a 5-inch thick rough wall which was enough for me.  Of course for a 2x6 walls, those strips would have to be full two inches.
I'm not sure this picture of my wall it going to help a ton, but here it is. Going from the right side, there is:
1. Wood stud (or firing) on top of the steel stud
2. Extra wood stud
3. Wood stud on top of the steel stud
4. Set of three studs to support a glass shower door (also extra)
5. Normal 2x6 stud at the back of the door

As mentioned, my door is installed flush to the wall on the other side, giving me more room for firring/extra studs.


For a 2x6 wall, all that's really needed is a good track and trolley system. 2x4's on the flat with a 2x3 between them (to mount the track to) will work. I personally have experience with 2x4's on the flat not staying flat. I've used a steel stud in a steel track as "studs" for maximum stability. if you have doubts on the stability of your 2x4's, you can screw a 3-5/8" steel track around them when the contractor is done framing (but before sheetrock).
Sign at N.E. Vocational School Cabinetmaking Shop 1976, "Free knowledge given daily... Bring your own container"
Johnson is the minimum quality acceptable.  No off the shelf units from the BORG

Hettich units are better , but more $$$ and you'll have to special order them in.

A bi-fold door track is not the same profile as a pocket door .  FORGET THIS SOLUTION which isn't really a solution. That HVAC return is a crucial piece of the puzzle you forgot to mention
Thanks all!

I installed a Johnsons pocket door a few years ago. The one tip I will give you is to make sure the track is dead nuts level. Close enough is not close enough. If it's off by more than 1/8 inch, then the pocket doors will not stay closed, or not stay open. DAMHIK.
Telling a man he has too many tools,
is like telling a woman she has too many shoes.

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