Finding extra room in a home or office can be a challenge. As a versatile and elegant way to save space, pocket doors provide an affordable solution. With a wide range of features, these door designs can be incorporated into commercial and residential projects alike.
Pocket doors not only make the most of the available floor area, but also creates a beautiful and inviting connection between rooms without compromising on aesthetics. As a popular alternative for both small and large interior projects, they create a fresh aesthetic with a modern finish.
The pocket door was popularised in Britain and the United States in Victorian homes. Initial designs used a floor mechanism, but over time, patented top-hung systems came on the market. These designs solved the issues of the floor-based models, and in turn, they became commonplace. Today, pocket doors serve as both room dividers and thoughtful transitions between different spaces.
Pocket doors are extremely versatile door solutions, as any type of door can be used regardless of material or weight. When selecting a pocket door, it’s important to understand the pros and cons, the ins and outs. That way the door can be more easily specified, and the finished product can be incorporated into any space.
What Is a Pocket Door?
A pocket door is a door that’s usually mounted on rollers that slide along an overhead track. When opened, the door disappears or slides into a hollow cavity or “pocket” with a flush, neat fit.
Almost any type of door can be used — louvered, flush, panel, or glass — and that also means doors of any size or weight. Their durability and functionality are also heavily dependent on the quality of the hardware used.
Hardware Is Crucial
When specifying the installation of a pocket door, it’s important that high-quality hardware is used. The hardware will be determined by the type of door; door variations can include glass, wood, aluminum, steel, hollow-core, fiberglass, vinyl, or mirrored.
High-end hardware can accommodate the weight of heavy glass doors and wooden doors, including:
- Hollow-core doors weighing up to 75 pounds and one and three-eighths inches thick
- Solid hardwood doors one and three-quarter inches thick, weighing up to 220 pounds
Measurements required for the door’s height and width and opening can also be incorporated into the design. Pocket door hardware usually includes a track system, trolley, floor guides, and pulls.
Track system components often include guide rail tracks, running rails, channels, and rollers. Most tracks are essentially the same but there are varying types depending on how the door is designed to function. Many manufacturers offer different track/roller combinations for a variety of door weights and sizes. They include ceiling systems, bi-parting systems, floor-mounted systems, as well as ceiling and floor track systems (for multi-pass sliders).
The trolley is a mechanism with wheels that roll along the track. Most high-quality trolleys have four wheels with ball bearings to ensure less rolling resistance and smoother operation.
No Floor guides are needed, except for heavy and large doors more than 118”.
Pulls are the handles or mechanisms used to slide the door open. They come in a variety of styles including pocket, circular, rectangular, bar pull or surface-mounted, or customized. The various options available will allow your client to choose the style to suit their home’s design whether modern, contemporary, industrial, or minimalist.
Door track hardware is available for all types of doors. The trolley interface used will depend on the type and size of the door.
Looking at the pros and cons of pocket door installation can also help when selecting the most suitable hardware to be used.
The Ins of Pocket Doors
There are many advantages to using pocket doors. The most apparent is that they create more usable floor space. An area of 10 square feet or more may be needed to accommodate the swing of a traditional door. A pocket door makes the space more usable as there is no longer any obstructed space. Pocket doors are also ideal for smaller rooms that don’t have a lot of space, such as an office or a small half bath.
A conventional door occupies 32 – 36 inches of wall space when opened. A pocket door can save on wall space that can now accommodate a mirror or a painting. Pocket doors can also be placed in pairs for wider spaces or double-wide doorways to separate two-room spaces.
Modern systems have noiseless, ball-bearing rollers and metal tracks designed for smooth, easy operation. Soft-closing hardware is also available, and they provide a cleaner look for commercial spaces, especially in projects like hotel applications. In terms of materials, a glass pocket door can create the appearance of a more open floor while still allowing privacy.
The Outs of Pocket Doors
Besides the many advantages of pocket doors, there are a few things to consider before making a final decision. Pocket doors may be difficult to repair if something goes wrong with the hardware. This is why it is important to choose high-quality hardware.
These doors also let in more light and noise as they are not as airtight as a traditional solid door when closed. However, selecting a pocket door really comes down to understanding a specific project and its needs, as well as how a room will be used. In most cases, a pocket door becomes an affordable, stylish and efficient addition to a space.
Tips On the Design
When selecting pocket doors, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
Solid doors are preferable.
Use two by six-inch walls vs two by four-inch walls. This makes the opening stronger and creates a solid wall to hang things on.
Use heavy-duty, high-quality hardware. Ensure wall fasteners don’t protrude into the pocket space.
Most importantly, choose professional installers or contractors that will ensure the job is done right the first time. Keep these things in mind to ensure hassle-free installation and a long-lasting, easy-to-use pocket door.
Are Pocket Doors In or Out?
The beautiful design and ingenious construction of a pocket door inherently enhance the experience of residential and commercial spaces alike. They are a great option for hotels, spas, and restaurants, as well as in lobbies, conference rooms, and bathrooms.
Consider glass pocket door designs that allow air and light to flow from one area to another. They can add both functionality and beauty to a range of commercial settings.
For additional design alternatives download our catalog.
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