What is your opinion on pocket doors?

jenswrensOctober 18, 2010

Do you like them or not?

Should I worry about completely rearranging a room to avoid an inappropriate door swing (blocks half of window when open) or just put in a pocket door? It's a bathroom that will be used daily.

I've heard differing opinions on pocket doors. I'd like to hear yours. TIA.


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How funny! I have been dwelling on that today, as I continue to tweak our house plans. Trying to decide on whether to separate the vanity from the tub/toilet in the guest bath. I feel like the only way to do it and not make it feel too tight in the tub/toilet room is to do a pocket door. But I, too, can't decide if I like them? I will be curious to see what responses you get.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:30PM
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IMHO, pocket doors are left open more than they are closed and that was our experience with a pocket door in our bedroom. But that being said, we are putting two pocket doors in our new build: one in the bathroom separating it from the master closet and one in the utility room. (I guess that one's in case my laundry is spilling over and I want to hide it) We are currently in a rent house that has a pocket door on the main bath and it is a pain to shut. But I don't know anything about the newer doors which perhaps are more convenient to operate.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:37PM
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I love pocket doors.

That said, remember that when you install a pocket door the frame of the pocket limits what you can do on the wall containing the pocket frame. For example, you can not put a light switch on that wall.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 4:50AM
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Pocket doors can solve problems in tight spaces. Don't go cheap. A good door will last forever, but replacing a cheap pocket door is a messy pain. I like the real wood version.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 7:08AM
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We used pocket doors for the powder room and on the two downstairs ensuite bathrooms. Good doors and good hardware (Johnson would be my suggestion) have made these doors trouble-free for the nearly 7 years we've been in the house.

If I had it to do over, there are a few more places where I would do pocket doors rather than deal with door swings.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 8:39AM
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I like pocket doors.. but our current home has 3, one for the master bath and the 2 master closets, and I agree with trinintybay.. I find them open more than closed, so we will be using swing doors this time.

Also, 2 doors are make a lot of noise, where one - the builder used a much better track and it is smoother and quieter.. don't know why the 3 are different.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:34AM
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I have been installing pocket doors for almost 30 years now.

The only hardware you want to look at is made by Johnson Hardware.
The 111PD hardware is excellent.

You need to be aware of clearances for electrical boxes.

Unless the wall is built thicker you cannot install any electrical boxes were the pocket is located without going to low voltage controls.
There is not enough clearance from the face of 1/2 inch drywall to the door itself for the boxes.

The only other issue with Johnson Hardware is preventing door sway when the door is closed.
The plastic guides they supply will scratch the face of the door.

A groove in the bottom of the door and a small piece of aluminum angle on the floor of the pocket work far better.

Any minor scratching is inside the groove were it doe not show.
If you stop the groove before the exposed edge of the door the entire groove is hidden.

For bathrooms stops can be placed opposite the pocket on the jamb.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:36AM
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We have 6 pocket doors in our house. While not ideal, they aren't horrible either. Sure, I'd perfer a regular door, but where the door doesn't have a good return wall to sit against, I'd rather have a pocket door than a door that swings into another door or a cabinet, etc. We had some challenges with placing a couple of light switches in our kids' bath where we have pocket doors, but it worked out ok in the end.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:35AM
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I have mixed opinions, but think they are great in some circumstances. It is very true that one has a tendency to leave them open, however, I think that would hold equally true if a standard door had been used in place of the pocket. i.e. if one habitually left the door open in the master bath, having a pocket door isn't going to increase the times it's left open nor would having a standard door increase the times it was closed.

Have lived with pocket door to pantry (loved it), to half-bath (solved a space-swing problem but didn't really like it), to a linen closet (didn't like it at all), to storage closets (okay).

I do agree with brianstreehouse, go with solid wood; it simply feels better in everyday use.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:57AM
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They only work right when you don't use them.

Yogi Berra

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:14PM
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We have 8 (including 2 double sets into the DR/Library) with whatever the mid-grade Johnson hardware is. Open and close them all of the time, and love them!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:18PM
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We have pocket doors in two locations:

A skinny pair for DH's pocket office that will normally be open but we can quickly shut them if there is unexpected company.

The other is between the kitchen and the dog room (mud room) which leads to the flap type doggie door to the outside. We wanted a door at that opening, but would have needed a doggie door in the interior door for them to be able to go out by themselves. One of our senior citizens is blind (cataracts so she still sees some dark & light), so by leaving the pocket door partially open we think she will be able to establish a mental map that gets her outside.

BIL has one on the laundry room at his house & it works very well, so we're hopeful.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 2:45PM
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We have 6 -- all with Johnson hardware and we love them and also open and close them all the time. Certain ones are left open more than others due to use, and others like the laundry are closed alot.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 11:44AM
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We recently visited the Southern Living idea house in Senoia (GA), and it had some lovely pocket doors. Some matched the interior doors (quite heavy) and even had knobs. In the dining room, they had lovely reclaimed doors (no knobs). Here are a few shots of them opened. I don't have any closed shots.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 1:37PM
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"Some matched the interior doors (quite heavy) and even had knobs. "

And as you can clearly see in the first picture you cannot fully open the door with a know in the way.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 3:43PM
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We don't have knobs on ours; we have the recessed ~2" round thingys. However, we keep ours pulled out as far as they are in the picture, since it's easier to close them that way.

However, if you had knobs and visitors, I can see where they might bump the door trim with the knobs by leaning against the doors while standing in the opening while talking.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 7:42PM
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I have three pocket doors. Two are heavy with decorative glass. One is in the guest bathroom. I do like pocket doors, but they are easier to close then open. I like the idea above with the knobs. Since my bathroom pocket doors is 36", I think I will install some type of knob to make it easier to open and close for guests.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Just make sure the stop in the pocket is set to prevent the knob and hand from being the stop (especially with a heavy door).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 1:07PM
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The only way I would do pocket doors is quality hardware. We have some in our house now (jack and jill bath) and I hate them because they dont roll smoothly.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:46PM
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