We want to add a kitchen cabinet in a corner that would need to be secured to the wall that hides a pocket door. What would be the best way to anchor that cabinet? We're fine doing away with the pocket door but should we leave it hidden and frame the door or remove the pocket door? What is the cost differential?
Norm D. ~ Orange County, California
Well Norm, your best solution would be to securely anchor the kitchen cabinet to the wall and keep the pocket door as well. If the cabinet is located in a corner, then you should have one wall that has standard studs in it and these can carry most of the weight of the new kitchen cabinet. Attaching the cabinet to the adjacent wall, which hides the pocket door, is a bit trickier. Most pocket doors are constructed with some framing members around the "pocket", as this is what the overlaying sheetrock is attached to, and you might be able to anchor a few cabinet mounting screws to these underlying pieces of wood.
The pocket frame is usually built with horizontal 1x4's that are 16 inches on center from the ground up. If you use a stud finder, you should be able to locate these horizontal wood pieces, and hopefully one or more of them is located behind the new cabinet.
It is very important that you use the correct length of screw when mounting the kitchen cabinet to the pocket door framing, because if the screw is too long it will go through the pocket frame and into the door itself. To determine the proper screw length you must measure and add together the thickness of the cabinet box(usually 3/4 of an inch), the thickness of the sheetrock (usually 1/2 inch), and the thickness of the pocket framing member (usually 3/4 of an inch).
If these measurements are similar to yours, then you should use a screw that is no more than 2 inches long. When you attach the cabinet to the wall, make sure to leave the pocket door closed(meaning not hidden in the pocket), this way if the screw is too long you will not damage the door. After the cabinet is attached to the wall, try opening the door by sliding it into the pocket, and if the door gets caught up on something, the screw you used is too long and you will have to try a shorter screw.
Good Luck with your project!