Good Morning

   I wrote this in one of my groups and i didn't get a reply, maybe I didn't do it correctly. I recently did an audit on 2 homes in Hollywood , Ca built in the 50's which have pocket doors. Because of those doors I got readings of 9000cfm When I found the leak and walked thru it. It was like going thru a car wash when they where blowing the water off. I can blowdry my curly hair straight. lol

    Now I need to fix the problem, the question how to go about it, from the crawl space ? or attic? or drywall? comments greatly appreciated

Thanks for listening.

Judi Lyall with SHE BUILDS "GREEN"


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What did you see from the crawl or the attic over the pocket door? Which is open? Wading through attics is not recommended, crawling through crawls is not the best either.

I would spec the Air Sealing RFP to locate the opening from the attic and from the crawl. Then to seal what they find. You may have both.
Based of your description, it sounds like you really need to attack it from two different directions - the attic & the crawl space, trying to do it from the inside is generally near impossible & generally will only create a bigger mess

Depending on the gaps & holes, you are either looking at a combination of 1 part foam & caulking, or using rigid insulation board along with those two items. Make sure you pull back any additional insulation & air seal those area's properly.

Based on the numbers above, I would probably recommend that all the insulation in the attic is removed, air sealing is completed & a new layer of dense packed cellulose is installed with appropriate venting

For the crawlspace - I would make sure that the air sealing is done properly & then figure out what the best option is for your area - sealing, insulating, etc...
I agree with Sean that the attic insulation will probably need to be removed to expose other openings in the envelope. For example, insulators typically don't define or air seal the envelope first, including attic openings from interior wall chases/soffits. On my house the pocket doors are open to an exterior wall stud bay which has no top plate and is open to the attic, and on the inside the pocket opens into an old gas fired fireplace chaseway that is also open to the attic.
Short Answer: yes!

You'll have to supply a little more info about the construction of the house, however to get a detailed answer…Ranch house, split level, two story? Attic & crawlspace characteristics, etc., etc., etc.

But typically pocket doors are built with a "split jamb" so if there is not solid framing around the pocket door frame, you've got wide open bypasses to the interior wall cavity, a la @Tom White.

Good suggestions so far! I would just recommend caution in the application of spray foam - you'll need to be SURE to physically block off the framing cavity, or "pocket" so that the foam does not intrude into the door mechanism and impede the functionality of the door.
Based on my experience, pocket doors are very hard to seal up. They are basically connected to the entire interior wall system of the house. So what you really need to do is do a good comprehensive job of sealing up all leaks into the interior wall system. Not just the leaks at or near the pocket door.

So the answer is, all of the above. In the attic, you need to get all the top plates, especially those above the pocket door, but all others as well. Cover and seal all drop soffits, electric and plumbing penetrations, etc. Same from the crawl with bottom plates and penetrations. Blow in dense pack cellulose in the exterior walls.

I have had good results when we were able to get at all of these areas and do a good comprehensive sealing job. But the results have been not so good in homes where we couldn't get at all the top or bottom plates due to accessibility issues, or if the walls were already insulated (poorly) with fiberglass batts, which provided air leakage into the interior wall system.

So bottom line, the key to doing a good job sealing up pocket doors is to do a good job doing a comprehensive air sealing job on the whole house. That's why they call it the "whole house approach."

Good luck!


This is a cheap but easy way to seal pocket doors. If you have room and it does not interfear with the movement of the doors you can take plastic bags and stuff w/ fiberglas and push them into the cavities. This works well to block air especially on ext. walls where there is no existing insul. w/ no plans on adding any. The top can probably be sealed from attic ( one story? ). The bottom will must likley not be accessible. The major leakage will be coming from the top and through the sides.

If all these remedial actions seem difficult, why not waste the drywall?  If you came down several inches from the ceiling, to avoid a corner joint, you could slide the door open and have easy access with foam or caulk, and be quite sure you have sealed all the leaks.  In an unrelated application, I have removed a stud bay panel to install additional anchor bolts thru the plates into the concrete foundation, and I have removed 2 feet of roof decking at the eave  (as part of re-roofing) to install a metal tie on both sides of the rafter. Toe nailing splinters the wood at its weakest point (the birds mouth), and brite nails have poor tear out resistance.  P.S.  Part of "Durability" and "Sustainability" should address the problem of having the roof, or entire house, sail off in a hurricane or tornado.


Good advice, but on older homes you most likely will find plaster/lath as your wall surface. The cost and containment for removing this material may be prohibitive. If you use drywall to repair, you best make sure you are going to get a good match on thickness and texture.

True.  Maybe remove enough plaster to angle in a nozzle, but that does nothing for the vertical gaps.  It is a shame that veneer plastering, over blueboard and a bonding agent, is a lost art.  I would do almost anything to solve a 9000 cfm leak, including going on a diet so I could squeeze thru the room side opening.

The pocket door void is like any other open chase.  (like a kitchen cabinet soffit)  You need to stop the air flowing into and out of the area.  Seal from the attic and the crawlspace as well as sealing any wall outlets along the same wall with foam gaskets.

It seems to me that Adam covered it well. Keep in mind the structure of a pocket door-the framing members are probably 1x material and the frame is surely very open. Applying foam can be tricky. Also, the hardware is probably suitable for the door-but the rollers are most likely plastic and depending on the weight of the door, may have a limited life. How does the door operate now? Does it still match the decor of the room(s)?If either of these questions are negative, it may be advisable to open up the wall and replace the door during renovations-and having it open, you can properly airseal the pocket with blueboard or drywall and spray foam for the joints.

A lesser modification would be to have a carpenter or woodworker provide a false jamb that matches the existing jambs, and cap the leading edge of the door with it. That would reduce leakage while the door is open, and you may need to provide a similar pair of pieces on the trailing faces of the door for when it is closed. This is not perfect, but it may reduce leakage enough for the situation-especially once the reachable areas above and below are sealed.

I have the same problem in a 1960 era house with 2 pocket doors that are still useable and appropriate. For a winter season fix, I use clear packing tape over the voids next to the open door. It is mostly invisible and stops all air flow, but really doesn't fix the problem of cold air penetrating the wall cavity.


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