The Pros and Cons Of Barn and Pocket Doors For Remodeling

Sierra Pacific Multi-Slide Pocket Door

Tips On Remodeling With Pocket Doors

Today's hottest design trends harken back to the past. Sliding barn doors have made their way from a utilitarian function found in the barn, to the design highlight of many walk-in closets. With some updating of hardware, staining and modern stainless steel or cast iron tracks, sliding barn doors can make a design statement that is not only contemporary but functional. Barn doors are not always the best choice. They do not provide the best privacy in a bathroom application as an example. 

Pocket doors were common in homes built at the turn of the last century. In Victorian homes, they were often used to separate formal seating areas or entryways. Today, updated pocket doors are experiencing a renaissance. They are a great way to infuse a space with architectural charm, and they can open up vast amounts of floor space as well!

Pocket doors offer both pros and cons for homeowners. Let's look at the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide if pocket doors make sense for your next home improvement project.

Pocket Doors: The Pros

They Work in Any Decor

Pocket doors fit into any décor from traditional to contemporary, they're a wonderful detail and many homeowners love them. They can be simple or dressed up with modern hardware, stain, or even frosted or stained glass inserts.

They Are Functional

Pocket doors are a good option for smaller spaces that may not have the space for a full-swig door. They're perfect for closets, connecting two spaces (for example between an en suite and a walk-in closet, and small bedrooms where floor space counts. They're also a great way to create a private area within a larger space, for example hiding an office space off the kitchen. Pocket doors can be built with “partial height” doors offering an elegant solution for keeping pets or kids safely in one place!

They Can Act As Art

As an interior design element, pocket doors give you the opportunity to experiment with colors and textures without taking a big risk since the doors are hidden much of the time. You can also restore an original element to a historic home by using architectural salvage to add period specific details to your space.

Exterior Glass Walls

Today, interior/exterior flow is another up and coming trend in home design. Pocket doors can be a stunning way to open your home to the outdoors. If you want an intricate system of sliding panels, make sure to consult with a designer or your design build contractor. A large opening in a perimeter wall can impact the structural integrity of the exterior wall.

Pocket Doors: The Cons

Pocket doors do have some drawbacks. For example, while they can save space in a small bathroom, because of the way they sit on tracks within the wall, it means that they don't always seal as tightly as traditional doors and this can be an issue for some homeowners.

Pocket doors also have some occasional functional issues. They can fall off their tracks, can be difficult to roll, problematic to lock and can make noise if not regularly lubricated. If you're thinking of aging-in-place pocket doors can be difficult to operate for those with mobility or dexterity issues.

Barn Doors: The Cons

Barn doors don't offer acoustic privacy. Even the thickest solid doors do not dampen sound, odors or light. This can be problematic if you have pocket doors separating your office or bedroom from the kid's play space. Not ideal if you're working or sleeping, but if you're taking care of the kids, it can be a good thing! If you have an extra tall space, pocket doors can look incredible, but they can be heavy and hard to roll which can be a problem for smaller or older family members.

The Bottom Line...

Pocket doors can be a stunning architectural element that can be a focal point in your home and offer space saving benefits. That being said, they do have some drawbacks that may not make them the best choice for some homeowners. If you decide pocket doors will be an element in your next home improvement project here are some considerations to discuss with your design build contractor.

Use 2 X 6 construction. Pocket doors are more efficient in walls with 2 X 6 construction as opposed to standard 2 X 4 framed walls.

Always spend extra for heavy duty hardware. Pocket door kits generally come with inexpensive hardware. Upgrade to heavy duty, ball-bearing nylon rollers.

Spend extra to install solid doors. They are heavier and harder on the hardware, but they're much more durable.

• Be careful with wall art. If you install pocket doors, be extremely careful when hanging art or attaching wall fasteners. If you inadvertently install a wall hanger into the pocket door glide path, it requires opening the wall to fix the problem.

Pocket doors offer benefits and drawbacks. The best solution is to discuss your choice with your interior designer or design build contractor. They can help you to determine if they're right for you. They may not be for everyone, but if you're looking for an interesting architectural detail, or to save some space, consider pocket doors!

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