My house is a single-story frame house, with a shingle roof. My ceiling height is 94in, I would like to install a PGT Impact sliding door that is 120" x 86". I would like the doors to pocket into the wall so I would need a 16ft load-bearing opening. the wall is an exterior wall and it is a shingle roof above the rear of the house and it is a slab foundation. Essentially I only have 10in above the door to fit a header. Would I need an I-beam to do something like this? Is it possible?

  • In what wall is this door going in? A load bearing inside support wall or an outside wall will require an structural engineer to design. Even a plain inside separating wall, the 10 inches will make life interesting.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 12:25
  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 13:13
  • 1
    You do not have enough height above the door (94 - 86 = 8 inches) without going exotic (steel beam which is very expensive to install ~$5K). Select a shorter door height so that you have at least 12 inches of headroom. Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 4:46
  • Thank you so much for your input, the wall is an exterior wall and it is a shingle roof above the rear of the house and it is a slab foundation. Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 13:25
  • Please link to the doors in your post. I'm not finding doors intended to slide into the wall as you describe.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


You don't need 16ft. of load bearing beam you only need 10. This to span the width of the door. Then the door stacks behind a wall that provides the load bearing support.

Bottom line this is something that needs to be calculated by an engineer to work specifically within the needs to frame the door and the dimensions of your house.

Sometimes you can take measurements to drafting companies who will draw up plans for your project and have them verified and stamped by an engineer on staff. This can be less expensive than having an engineer come to your home and do the measurements and drawings himself.

  • Of you have a wall with just typical 2x4 studs any pocket door will require a header over both the actual opening and the part of the door assembly inside the wall. The sliding track for the pocket door is mounted on the bottom side of the header and so the header must be full track length plus the overlap on the studs that it sits on at its ends.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 19:38

It is only a 10' span and you don't have a 2nd story above so you should be able to get by with the 10". Worst case the beam just ends up thicker.

Instead of a single member PSL you just get 2 and bolt them together.

You'll need an engineer to do a quick design but really that should cost $500 and then maybe $250 for site visit after install. Some people worry that hiring an engineer will require the city but they are typically happy to design and sign off and leave you to getting permits or choosing not to.

I have a 10' opening in exterior wall with a 2nd story above - the roof load goes to the other walls though. My beam is 3.5"x 11.78" with 11' span but that is just to match my ceiling assembly for the 2nd story floor.

  • 2
    The exterior pocket door I did is just inset of the exterior wall and slides beside the exterior wall into a pocket that is created using an interior wall pocket offset from the exterior wall. You really shouldn't make a pocket in an exterior wall. I didn't say 2x10. PSL is what I said. Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 16:24
  • I totally agree with @FreshCodemonger 's comment here. Unless you live in a climate where no insulation is required in exterior walls it would not be a practical idea to pocket a door into an exterior wall. Having a second interior wall set in an offset from the exterior wall is the way to go with this.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 19:42

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