Pocket Door Buying Guide | How To Choose Pocket Doors

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Pocket Door Buying Guide 1

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You know what comes to our mind when we think of doors? That episode from FRIENDS when the door in Monica’s apartment got locked. 

What’s memorable about that episode is that ultimately Joey breaks down the door and is sarcastically appreciated by Chandler for being “quite the craftsman.” But not all of us have a friend like Joey, and you can’t bank on others to help you if a door gets stuck or locked. 

An easy way to avoid this is by installing a pocket door that slides open and fits into the wall recess. Moreover, these doors are perfect for tight spots and increase space inside the house, ensuring you don’t bang your toe when trying to step aside while opening a traditional door

If you have no intention of living out your version of that FRIENDS episode, read our guide about using pocket doors. 

What Is A Pocket Door?

What is a pocket door

When you don’t have much interior space and find yourself dodging or tip-toeing like a gymnast while opening a door, it’s time to make changes. Instead of traditional hinged doors, install pocket doors, a type of sliding door that offers more room than a swinging door. 

These doors slide into a hollow cavity or “pocket” rather than using the free wall space, thanks to the overhead track, which guarantees easy sliding. You will find that the pocket door system slides into a recess in an adjacent wall to disappear completely. 

Compared to pocket doors, swinging doors take up an additional space of 10 square feet, which makes the former highly desirable for modern homes. 

Short History Of Pocket Doors

If you weren’t familiar with pocket doors, you are forgiven for thinking they are a new invention. In reality, pocket doors have been popular since the 1950s, with the only difference being anyone can install a pocket door now, which was once a luxury in affluent homes. 

The bigger problem was that such doors were noisy, bulky, sticky, and would even fall off the rails. Cut to contemporary times and several design changes later, modern pocket doors are elegant, stylish, streamlined, and sleek so that you won’t need too much floor space. 

The rails and rollers are smoother for easier gliding and offer longer service life. You will also find that most pocket doors are made from plywood, tempered wood, solid wood, and glazed wood. 

To install a pocket door, you can opt for one or more of the following locations: 

    • Home office
    • Kitchen and dining room
    • Master bedroom
    • Laundry room
    • Small bathroom
    • Pantry

Why Choose Pocket Doors?

The primary benefits of using a pocket door over a traditional door are versatility, functionality, and privacy. But these aren’t the only reasons for installing a pocket door, so check out the following points: 

    • Helps maximize space in small rooms, unlike a hinged door
    • Most pocket doors are sleek and add a classy touch
    • Blend into any room while guaranteeing more privacy and safety
    • Easy to use
    • Rooms can be joined and separated when needed
    • Minimalistic design that complements crisp and clean lines

Room empty with tatami mats and paper sliding doors called shoji on room zen style. 3d rendering

How To Choose Pocket Doors?

We can sense that you are a bit more interested in opting for pocket doors, and in this section, we will tell you how to make the right choice. 

1. Location

Where you install a pocket door is the most important factor since the goal is to maximize space. Suppose you want to install a security door, in which case your location will be different from someone who wants to install a stylish door. Similarly, you must decide between space-saving exterior and interior doors. 

The bottom line is that if the sliding door satisfies the functional and structural demands of a pocket door system, you’re free to use panel, glazed, louvered, or flush designs. We also believe that wood, barn, glass, steel, or solid curved doors will prove useful. 

2. Design And Style

The easiest way to choose a pocket door is by comparing it to your home’s aesthetics and interior design to ensure that the installation is elegant and matches the layout. When space-saving is your criteria, opt for a pocket door with a simple yet practical design, as there’s no need for anything too ornate. 

But in spaces like the dining room, you can experiment more with style. Some people install glass panel doors for their elegance while they allow natural light to enter a room to make it appear larger. 

On the other hand, a louvered pocket door is more modern and suits contemporary homes. 

3. Types Of Pocket Doors

Once you decide on the location and design of a pocket door, it’s time to think about the type. We have listed the most common options below to help you: 

    • Single pocket door
    • Double pocket door
    • Righe or double glass door
    • Custom doors
    • Cavity doors
    • Smartrobe units

While each of these options has its pros and cons, you will more or less be able to enjoy the following benefits: 

    • Soundproofing
    • Durability
    • Fireproof 
    • Security 

4. Size

To ensure there is enough space inside the house even after installing a pocket door, be sure to determine the size beforehand. The recess on the adjoining wall should be sufficiently large for the pocket door to retract into. For that, measure the current door opening and add a couple of inches to it to be on the safe side. 

If your current door space is roughly 25 inches, keep more than 25 inches of wall space to account for the sliding components and leading edge. 

We must mention that sometimes you may have to opt for a different design when the size doesn’t permit it. So, install a heavy and solid door for small rooms but light and hollow doors for large rooms. 

You should also consider the depth, height, and width of the door opening to align with the plane and appear plumb and square. 

5. Pocket Door Kit

You get all the pocket door hardware online, or they come in pre-assembled units. Consumers will have to decide whether they plan on buying individual components, depending on the design, type, safety, and sound rating of a pocket door. 

But when you’re not a DIYer and want things to be easier, opt for pre-assembled doors that come with the following components: 

    • Pre-made cage or pocket
    • Pocket door frame
    • Hanger track
    • Jamb 

Along with these, purchase flush pulls, handles, fascia, soft-close mechanisms, and fitting kits to refine the structure and design. 

Planning For A Pocket Door

Before buying a pocket door, ensure there is enough space in the room which is possible when the free wall space is bigger than the door opening. Measure the rough opening and multiply it by 2 to determine the minimum size of the pocket door, including the recess in the adjacent wall. 

The door opening should ideally be bigger than this, but in case you don’t have too much floor space, here are some helpful suggestions: 

    • Instead of two doors, ensure the pocket door slides into one wall cavity
    • With a little more room, you can install double doors that retract on either side
    • Two openings in adjacent walls will require a wide enough cavity
    • Opt for curved doors that retract into curved walls to save space

Other than that, choose an existing wall that doesn’t have HVAC systems, sockets, or intricate wiring. This will increase the cost of remodeling, and in some cases, you will have to call an electrician or plumber. 

And do you plan to have wall hangings on the cavity wall? Usually, hangings require hooks or nails for mounting them to the wall, but if the nails go in deep, they could damage the functionality of the pocket door. 

After considering all these factors, you can either install the doors yourself or hire a licensed installer. 

Tips And Tricks For Pocket Door Installation

One of the best techniques to avoid problems with an interior door is installing models with a lever that makes it easy to open the pocket door. This ensures the wheels won’t jump the track, but if it does develop issues, install removable tracks that you can dismantle without damaging the existing wall. 

Another point to note is that you should never compromise on the quality of the load-bearing wall to keep the jambs plumb and the header level with the structure. Usually, a gap of 3/16 inches between the door and the jambs will reduce the chances of sticking due to warping. 

Types Of Pocket Doors

We have listed three common options that look good in most homes if you’re unsure which pocket door to opt for. 

1. Panel Pocket Door

Panel pocket door

This product comes with all the pocket door hardware, hangers, pulls, door tracks, trims, etc. It has a sturdy MDF construction further supported by an eco-veneer coating which gives the door slabs a total thickness of 40mm. 

You should know that the door isn’t pre-drilled while the manufacturers have used Ciplex technology to laminate the wood and strengthen the core. This wooden layer has a high-quality film coating to prevent dust accumulation and saves upto 35% more heat to reduce energy expenditure. 

Also, all the materials in this product are eco-friendly and reduce noise by 30%, which gives it the edge over other pocket doors. 

2. Sliding French Double Pocket Doors

Sliding french double pocket doors

The warmth and brightness this door provides make it perfect for installing in bathrooms, bedrooms, and closets. It’s made of high-quality materials, most noticeable among which is the eco-veneer design and solid wood core. And like the earlier model, it doesn’t come with pre-drilled holes either. 

This pocket door kit has all the installation equipment in the package and, once set up, reduces noise by 30%. 

3. Pocket Door With Frosted Glass

Pocket door with frosted glass.

This door delivers an elegant appearance to most rooms, and the frosted glass guarantees privacy while allowing light to enter. We loved the black matte color that complements the eco-veneer coating and the solid wood core to lend sturdiness to the structure. 

Installing this door reduces noise by 30%, and the eco-friendly materials save 35% more heat by lowering energy consumption. 

Pocket Doors Frequently Asked Questions ?

What problems can a pocket door have?

A pocket door can be easy to use and maintain, provided that you take care and don’t bang it shut. But even then, it may encounter some problems that we have listed below: 

    • May stick
    • Screeching noise
    • Can fall out of the track
    • May not seal as tightly

What is the difference between a pocket door and a sliding door?

Although you might get confused between the two because of their similar mechanism, an easy way to tell the difference is by looking for a wall recess. A pocket door slides into an adjacent wall recess, completely out of sight, and doesn’t take up too much floor space. But a sliding door doesn’t glide into the wall surface, instead moving parallel to it. 

What door model is best for a pocket door?

As long as you know the measurements and rough thickness of the door opening, it’s possible to use any standard door for a pocket door. Also, check whether the door is pre-drilled because if the measurements are for regular locksets and door hinges, you won’t be able to use such a unit. 

Can you lock pocket doors?

Despite their sliding mechanism, you can lock pocket doors easily to keep your home safe. You can install a lock on both ends or one end of the door, while some consumers opt for the far more traditional lock and key system. Usually, a pocket door lock is round or square. 

How big are pocket doors?

In most cases, pocket doors measure 80 inches in height and 30-36 inches in width. But the height can vary, and we have seen some single-door models have a height of 80-120 inches complemented with a width of 24-48 inches. This means you can customize the door opening to make it narrower or wider. 

Study with open door. Pocket doors conclusion.

Pocket Doors Conclusion

We bet you never thought that the doors you saw on kids’ shows like Doraemon had so many practical applications. 

But to keep them in good condition, educate your kids on how to use the doors gently instead of banging them shut. Moreover, if you can’t install the door yourself, hire a professional contractor to get the exact measurements. 

The thing about pocket doors is that a slight inaccuracy in wall measurements or cutting out the recess will result in costly remodeling. So, unless you’re an experienced DIYer, get someone to assemble the hardware and make sure to purchase from a reputable doors manufacturer

With the right pocket door, you will have more free space while enjoying the wow factor it adds to the interior décor. 

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