I’ve always really liked pocket doors. When I was a little kid, and I walked into a house with doors that slid right into the walls, I was amazed. Normal doors needed space to swing in or out, but these doors just disappeared and reappeared when you pulled on them. Of course, it didn’t take me long to figure out the magic, but I never stopped loving this cool bit of design.
Pocket doors obviously don’t belong in every house, but they have a few advantages that you really can’t ignore. Of course, they have some disadvantages, too. So before you decide that you absolutely need a pocket door in the master bath of your next home renovation, or that you’ll never add pocket doors to any house you ever work on, you might want to think about some of the pros and cons of this kind of door design.
Pro – Get the Best Use Out of a Small Space
One of the best arguments for pocket doors is how much space they can save. Think about how much space you lose in a small bathroom when you have to figure out how to arrange everything around the door’s swing. With a pocket door, the door’s swing radius is nonexistent. Instead, it’ll just slide right back into the wall, and you can use the bathroom space however you want.
Con – Pocket Doors Aren’t Great at Sound Damping
A regular swinging door will fit more tightly in the doorframe, and so it will create a more effective barrier against sound. If you’re thinking about what kinds of doors to use for a home’s bedrooms, you’ll probably want to go with traditional doors, so that people trying to sleep aren’t constantly woken up by other people in the house watching TV or cooking.
Pro – Give Yourself More Wall Space
In addition to making life a little less cramped, pocket doors give you more use of your wall space. With a swinging door, when the door is open, the wall behind it is basically useless, and you might have to worry about damaging the door or whatever you have hanging on the wall if you open it too wide. With a pocket door, you don’t have that kind of issue at all. In fact, you have full use of the wall all the time.
Con – Installation Can Be a Challenge
Most homes are already set up for swinging doors, so if you’re planning on installing pocket doors, you need to think about installation costs and challenges. Not only can this add cost and time, but what do you do if there’s a problem that makes the door stick when opening or shutting it? There are ways to repair pocket doors and figure out how to make sure that they’ll slide freely, but doing this will definitely eat into your budget more than buying and installing a traditional swinging door.
You can get around a lot of problems by going with a high-quality door that has a well-constructed frame. This will minimize problems with swelling and shrinking, and it will ensure that you don’t buy a door that will stick or otherwise be difficult to open and shut.
So, are pocket doors a good idea for an old home renovation? They can be a great addition, especially in small spaces or between two rooms that are designed to be adjoined for some occasions and separate for others. In other instances, the best solution is still a traditional swinging door.