Small bathroom door options - French door? Barn door?

elphaba_gwJune 20, 2013

We're remodeling a VERY small master bath adjacent to a very small master bedroom (13.5ft by 11 ft excluding closet). We used a small bifold door previously - 24 inches wide. Though I'm not aiming at disability access, I'm thinking of increasing size of door to 32 inches wide. I'm sure that sounds like a smart/obvious thing to do BUT... the master bedroom is very small where the door opens up into - SO... I'm thinking of a French door so that the sides of each door won't extend so far into the room - may even lay them back against the wall on each side.
Opinions or thoughts? (I was also thinking of a barn door style - anyone have this option?)

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A Barn Style or Pocket Door would definitely help give you more room, and your walls are just big enough to accommodate the hardware for a 32in door!

Always ;-)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Since the spaces are small I'd be inclined to do the pocket door so you don't have to worry about door swing or barn door space on the bedroom side.

If that is a shower/tub, and you plan to put a pocket door in there, and tile it, the wall needs more reenforcement than just cement board. This is because the studs are either thinner, or on their sides, and don't provide the strength. Johnson hardware told me to clad my wall in 3/4" ply before the cement board at my shower area where my pocket door will reside. This is to be sure the wall doesn't flex and pop the tile. This is the same build as a floor prep for tile actually, isn't it. Or to avoid all that have the pocket go the other direction.

Looking forward to this project, best of luck.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:58AM
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I'm really interested in what you decide. I'm thinking about a barn or pocket door for mine, which is slightly larger than yours, because the swing of my 24" door is inconvenient.. I was concerned that framing and drywall for the pocket door would encroach to much into my bedroom, which is only 12 ft wide. I LOVE the look of barn doors.

Your other bathroom is an inspiration for me :) And, we live in the same area!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Always pros and cons, LOL. I would like to do a pocket door BUT.. I'm worried about moisture. Houston is very humid. What I see happening is that we don't use the door at all, it stays open for 3 years (or so) and then for some reason, (who knows what - maybe resale, heaven forbid), we need to actually close the door and because of humidity and moisture of bathroom, the pocket door is stuck in its track (or something). Am I worrying too much?
I'm learning that when I'm making choices, going with simplest solution is often the best and that would mean leaving it the way it is with bifold and 24 inches (yuk). I'm thinking of compromising with the French doors (and frosted glass), found some nice looking ones on Houzz (without the dark knobs) - haven't found a barn door that would work for my small space. If anyone has seem something, the barn door actually sounds like maybe the best compromise.

2 Likes    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 2:48PM
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Thanks endearing for the tips about the wall. Yes it will be a tub/shower. I will talk to my contractor about your information - always good to learn from experience of others but I won't be surprised if he doesn't listen much. Waterproofing is where he is an expert - since you participate in the John Bridge forum, you may recognize him as one of the experienced guys there who contribute so much - Cabot and Rowe - Houston Remodelers - Paul - (I have no financial affiliation with Paul except as a satisfied customer - he is one hardworking guy and best of all, he is also a perfectionist) am I lucky.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Ugh, the possibility of not being able to use the pocket door isn't unfounded. It's worse if you're on a slab because of the gumbo movement. I seem to remember that you're pier and beam, though.

You should call the company you used for your other bath and ask them about the pocket door issue.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 3:13PM
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alex - We didn't use a pocket door in the other bath. I was going to but when I talked to a designer (hired her on an hourly basis for alternative ideas), she was a very experienced designer here in our area and strongly recommended I not use a pocket door because of HOuston Climate. But you mentioned there were more problems when you have a slab foundation. I hadn't thought that the type of foundation would be important in making this decision. Gotta think about that some more. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Yes, I get a lot of JB help from Paul. I remember first seeing your bath on there, then here, when you showed the leveling system; or was it the other way around ?:)

I think those french doors are very nice looking. That might be the easiest! Wonder what the width of that door is? I really like it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 4:45PM
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I like the idea of doing a barn door. It's a simple retrofit (unlike a pocket door, where you'd have to refab the wall). When open it's less intrusive than even split doors, and since you mostly leave it open, that's what I'd vote for.

What do you mean when you say you can't find a barn door that will work for your space? You can use any door slab you like.

This is one of ours, over a 24" opening.

And a 30"-er on the Jill side.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:31PM
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You are worrying too much. Houston humidity or not, a well installed pocket door will do just fine even if it is "open" most of the time.
The concern I'd have with a pocket door in your situation is that it takes away that wall for towel racks/hooks... you kind of need that, I think.

For that reason, I'd suggest the barn/sliding door option.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Friends of mine in an older home had the contractor split the original doors down the middle of both the master bedroom and master bath. Looks great and the only concession was a lock at the top of the door.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 11:07PM
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weedyacres - where did you buy the hardware for the "track" on top of your barn doors? I like how inobtrusive they are. But In looking at the "barn door" websites, I mainly see the kind of barndoors that have hardware that is kind of for "show". I like yours very much. Would appreciate a tip where to find them?
Did you use something like this "kit" from Home depot? And add some trim to cover up the hardware? Or something like that? Inquiring minds would like to know.
wall mount sliding doors at Home Depot

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 1:25AM
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Nevermind weedyacres - I found a kit at:
Johnson Hardware's website
I like the idea of using Johnson Hardware better than Home depot. I will talk to my contractor about this but I really like it. Also hope to use in another room we haven't got to yet (except that I've read comments here on gardenweb from a few years ago saying that the door needs to be very very plumb. - not sure if our old house will meet this req..)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 1:37AM
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I'm in Houston. We have completely gutted our "new" house and are in the process of rebuilding. Throughout the house, we have installed pockets for 4 pocket doors. One of those is in the master bath. I am really excited to be getting those doors out of the way.

I can share my experience. We have 3 pocket doors in our office here, and we have not had any problems. The office is on a slab, and the thermostat is only kept at a comfortable level 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This means that it gets fairly humid in there on the weekends. The office pocket doors are rarely used, but when I do use them, they work just fine. They were installed about 3 years ago without any problems. It's true that it is humid outside, but I wouldn't think with central air that it would be any more humid than anyplace else on the inside of your house. Of course a bathroom is more humid than other rooms, but if your cabinet hardware isn't sticking or rusting, I would think that the pocket door would behave in the same way. At least that's what I'm hoping since we just installed 4!!! My vote is for the pocket door. Best of luck with your project!

Enduring, that's great info on the pocket doors. Thank you for sharing.

This post was edited by TXBluebonnet11 on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 3:13

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 3:03AM
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You're welcome TXBluebonnet11 glad to be of help.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 7:46AM
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Our (unfinished) barn door. Our contractor made it and I haven't had a chance to finish it yet. Please excuse the poor quality/blurry phone pics:

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Not sure why that posted twice. Trying to remove it.

This post was edited by bumble_doodle on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 11:54

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 9:50AM
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When choosing a pocket door, definitely go with Johnson Hardware. No big box substitutes... I like pocket doors. I like them to work years later. JH only.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 1:01PM
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There are two problems with barn doors and bathrooms.

1)You will lose the use of the wall space that the open door takes up on the room side that the door is installed on.

2)Lack of privacy. When closed, the door protrudes from the wall a distance greater than the depth of the casing. That's because the door has to be able to slide past the casing when opening and closing it. There will be a resultant gap that any curious eyes will be able to see through. That might or might not bother you.

As long as you condition your house (and I can't imagine that you don't with your climate), you will not have any problem with pocket doors because of the humidity. You definitely should make the pocket on the toilet end of the room if you are putting in a shower. Your plan calls for a drop in tub, but you said you are putting in a tub/shower. Be aware that you cannot properly waterproof a tub surround for a shower with a drop in tub.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 8:35AM
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