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I'm planning on taking a few weeks off to do some DIY in the fall, and one of those things is replacing the standard-hinged door in my walk-in closet with a pocket door. This is a non-load bearing wall, so I don't have to worry about that at least!

I'm researching how to do this, and most of it seems pretty straightforward. Cut out the drywall on one side, cut out the studs, put the pocket door frame in place, liquid nail the inside wall to the pocket door frame, hang the door, liquid nail the drywall patch to the door frame, mud, paint.

I'm familiar with most of this, however I'm stuck at cutting out the studs. I know I can use a circular saw set to a very specific depth to cut the studs, but the opposing wall should be screwed to the ~6' section of the studs I want to pull out. Am I just supposed to rip out the screws and patch the other side as well? Is there some other way I can cut the screws without damaging the opposing wall?

  • Have you considered a sliding barn style door? Neat look with no demo required. Easy install but s bit more money than a standard pocket door example homedepot.com/p/… – Kris Jul 22 at 16:15
  • @Kris Unfortunately that's the only wall we can put a dresser against as well so.... It's a good alternative though. – Sidney Jul 22 at 16:31
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I would go ahead and open the wall from the side you are planning on replacing.

Once you open the wall, you might find out that the drywall has been glued to the studs, in which case your best bet would be to make a clean cut and plan on replacing both sides.

If there isn't any glue, you could proceed two ways:

  1. Use a magnet to find each screw and back them out. Done carefully, this would leave a small hole to patch and paint for each screw. Done un-carefully, there will be an ugly chunk of joint compound to patch.
  2. Once you have access to the inside of the wall, you may be able to use a vibratory (or "oscillating") saw to cut the screw heads between the studs and the drywall. The cutting motion on the screws might still cause the paint and joint compound on the screw heads to crack and fall off leaving holes to patch, but you might get lucky and end up not needing to patch and repaint EVERY hole.

Personally, unless there is something unusual about the wall you're trying to save, with special wallpaper, wainscotting, etc., I think it would be quicker to just cut out and replace the drywall on both sides. Drywall and joint compound is cheap; having a professional come out for a patch on both sides of the wall will not be much more than just the one side. Even if you do the drywall yourself, the time spent in trying to save the wall will be longer than just replacing it.

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IMHO - Accept the need to repair drywall on both sides, or fuggedaboutit until you are ready to face that.

You could locate the screws with a strong magnet and excavate and unscrew them, but that's still going to need patching and painting.

Cockamamie schemes involving cutoff disks come to mind, as does the potential for burning down the house with the resulting sparks, and they just don't seem worth the agony or the risk.

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    Yep, locate and remove the screws. Trying to cut them will just tear them loose, creating more damage. – isherwood Jul 22 at 15:44
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    I actually did this in my last house, and isherwood is totally right - trying to cut off the nails or screws makes a big mess on the "good" side. I actually cut the studs on the top and bottom and carfully pried them out. The sheetrock was nailed on and most of the nails pulled out the other side without leaving a hole on the "good" side. I was lucky, but that's how it worked for me. – JPhi1618 Jul 22 at 17:55
  • cut the studs on the top and bottom and carefully pry them out. That. Even if it does pop holes on the other side, still that. - fuggedaboutit "unless there is something unusual about the wall you're trying to save" – Mazura Jul 22 at 23:53

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