What Are the Pros and Cons Of Pocket Doors When Remodeling?
Some of the most recent trends in home design have their origins in the past. Sliding barn doors have traditionally been used, well...in the barn. Change the hardware, add some stain and some cast iron tracks and you have an interior design statement that is contemporary and functional.
Pocket doors have their origins in Victorian homes where they often separated formal seating areas or entry ways. Today, pocket doors have been updated and can infuse a space with architectural charm, and they open up plenty of floor space too!
Pocket doors have some downsides as well. We'll look at both sides of the issue to help you decide if adding pocket doors to your next home remodeling project makes sense for your family, your home, and your lifestyle.
The Benefits of Pocket Doors
Many homeowners love pocket doors! They fit into any décor from traditional to modern and they're a great detail to show off to your friends. Pocket doors can be plain or can be dressed up with modern hardware, stain, even glass or stained glass panes.
Pocket doors are a great solution for smaller spaces that lack the wall space for a full swing door. This makes them perfect for small bathrooms, closets and connecting those two areas, for example between a master bath and the walk-in closet. They're also perfect for creating a private space within a larger area, for example, hiding an office nook off of your main kitchen. Smaller, “half” sized partial height pocket doors are an elegant solution for keeping dogs or the kids safely in one space!
From a design perspective, pocket doors also give you a way to play with colors and textures without making a big statement since the doors are hidden much of the time. You can also add an authentic element to an older home by using architectural salvage to add period specific details to a historic home.
Today, another major trend in home design is creating a sense of flow between your interior and exterior living space. Pocket doors can be a stunning way to open your home to the outdoors. If you want an intricate system consisting of several sliding panels, you should consult with an engineer or your design build contractor. A large opening can reduce the structural integrity of the exterior wall.
Pocket Door Drawbacks
There are some drawbacks to pocket doors. For example, they are space savers in the bathroom, but they way they sit on tracks within the wall means that they don't seal as tightly as traditional doors and this can be a problem for some people. They also do not create any acoustic privacy. Even the thickest doors do not dampen sound, smells or light. This can be a problem if you have pocket doors separating your office or bedroom from the kid's playroom. It's not great if you're working or sleeping, but it you're taking care of children, it can actually be a plus!
Pocket doors do also have some functional issues like falling off of the tracks, they can be difficult to roll, problematic to lock and often make noise if not regularly lubricated. If you're thinking of staying in your home as you age, pocket doors are not good if you have dexterity issues like arthritis and the hardware is not as user-friendly.
If you have an extra-tall space, tall pocket doors look incredible, but they can be heavy and hard to roll which can present a challenge for smaller and older family members.
The Pocket Door Take-Away
Pocket doors can be a beautiful space saving architectural feature in your home. However, that being said, they do have drawbacks that may not make them the best choice for some homeowners. If you do decide to add pocket doors to your next home improvement project, here are some considerations you should discuss with your design build contractor.
• Pocket doors work best in 2X6 walls rather than standard 2X4 walls.
• Always order heavy duty hardware. Pocket door kits typically come with inexpensive hardware. Spend the extra money to upgrade to heavy duty ball-bearing nylon rollers.
• Spend the extra money and install solid doors. While they are heavier and harder on the hardware, they are much more durable. Hollow core doors breakdown more quickly.
• If you install pocket doors be especially careful when hanging art or using wall fasteners. If you inadvertently project a wall hanger into the pocket doors glide path, it requires opening the wall to repair the problem.
The best option is to discuss the pros and cons of pocket doors with your designer or design build contractor. They can help you to determine if they're the best choice for your specific project. Pocket doors are not for everyone, but if you're looking for space savings or an interesting architectural detail in your home, consider the pocket door!
Image courtesy of Domporte.
Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.