Can you plumb walls with pocket doors?

Answered by Brett ~ January 31, 2011 ~ No Comments

I have a large laundry room I want to split in half and make into a small bathroom with a toilet, small vanity and shower stall. The west wall is the exterior wall, the north and south walls are pocket doors, and I want to wall in the east side and again have a pocket door since the space will be tight. Is this possible? Do I plumb it up through the floor instead of the wall? What about the sink and shower drain? What about venting? Do I have to just run everything along the walls and paint them white to match? HELP !!!!!!

K.C. ~ Seattle, Washington

Brett Kulina

K.C., there is usually not enough room for water and waste lines within the frame of a standard pocket door, but that should not prevent you from locating the needed plumbing in another portion of the wall (if the space is available). Most pocket door frames are approximately twice the size of the door opening, which accounts for the door opening and the needed pocket into which the door stores when it is hidden from sight. Standard pocket door frames are made to be installed within an interior 2-by-4 wall, and therefore they are just wide enough to accommodate the door and a half-inch of sheet rock on both sides of the frame. Obviously this leaves no room for your needed plumbing lines.

I do not recommend that you install the plumbing on the finished face of any wall, because exposed plumbing looks terrible and may violate your local plumbing codes. A better option for your new bathroom is to run the water supply lines and waste pipe for the sink through the floor and up into the interior of the vanity cabinet, keeping in mind that this option may require you to install an air admittance valve under the vanity as well. The plumbing for the new toilet and the shower can also come from beneath the floor, but the needed stack vents for toilet and shower are going to be a bit trickier. Perhaps you can enclose them in a portion of the wall cavity where there is no pocket door frame?

Another option for you may be to build a second interior wall side-by-side with the wall that has the pocket door. Although this eats up a little of your usable floor space, it would give you a dedicated wall cavity in which to run all the plumbing lines exactly where you need them. I also think that you should consult a licensed plumber in your area so that you are assured of a finished project that is both functional and code compliant. Good luck with your project and I hope you enjoy your new bathroom.

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