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Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Posted by sandy808 (My Page) on
Wed, May 11, 11 at 23:37

We are framing out the walls and doors in our house and we had decided to go with all pocket doors, thinking they would be a nice clean finish. Now I'm not so sure about them.

We purchased the Johnson pocket door frames and intend to use nice solid wood doors. The frames have been installed and when I went in the house today I was not impressed with the frames. In fact my stomach rolled over.

The section of "wall" where the frames are installed flex....a lot. Our walls are going to be tongue and groove cypress (no drywall). I understand that the cypress walls will stiffen the area, at least to some degree, but not as well as a wall with a swing door.

Feeling these frames flex screams flimsy and shoddy. Not something I should be feeling when each frame kit was $200 apiece. I will say that the ball bearing track feels fine.

I'm ready to rip them out and just have swinging doors. Any one else feel this way about pocket door frames? And how in the world would one ever get in there to clean out the cobwebs and cat hair?!

Sandy (who is in much need of a break from building this house)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Sandy, hi lady.
I liked the concept of pocket doors also. I put ONE in. I won't be putting in another one.

For one thing, the wall surface where the door slides into the pocket, you cannot hang any pictures on that surface. Not unless you suspend them from picture molding or maybe industrial strength Velcro.

What I decided to do with the other bathroom was to have a bifold French door, where we did not want the bedroom space taken up by door swings.

When we redo the entry to the master bedroom (move it to a different space), I plan to use a surface mount BARN DOOR HARDWARE KIT which is good if you have enough wall continuing to one side or the other, also a pretty door, and you can also hang stuff on the door itself if you like. I think you might want to look into that. It slides sideways like a pocket door, so does not come out into the room, but it is visible and so is the hardware. LOTS of houses are using that. The walls are normal construction, the doors are mounted then, but do not know how the molding is handled. Your contractor would know I'm sure.

Check out the Lee Valley Tools online catalog for hardware. And do a search of sliding barn doors.

If you don't like pockets with the first one in, it is not too late to change it out before construction continues. The barn doors would probably be easier to deal with too.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Thanks. I love the concept of pocket doors because it lends itself to an uncluttered look. BUT, I don't like the compromised wall situation. We are building everything to be so solid and to have a flimsy wall just turns my stomach. After doing some research it seems people are putting special wall backing, etc. trying to remedy the problem. My husband commented doing all that feels like a hatch job.

I once had a framer tell me one time that he just loves pocket doors and his whole house has them, but to clean the pocket out involves bringing an air compresser in and blowing it out. Can you just see that when I'm totally a little old lady? Here comes Sandy at age 82 dragging an air compresser out of the barn.....it's a hilarious scene to imagine.

I will look into the barn door type of doors and hardware. We are investing in nice doors so I won't mind seeing them. I also thought that if I got tired of looking at all the wood all of the time I could stencil or hand paint a pretty design or flowers on some of them.

Sorry I haven't been around lately. This build is taking a great deal out of me and I'm so tired. We are our own contractor on this one. Once we get past the wiring and plumbing phase, which is coming up soon, I think we can take a short vacation since the person we hired to help us can surely handle doing the insulation without us being here constantly.

That said, I've been having some fun planting native trees and some fruit trees, except it's now getting a bit hot outside and I need to start geting up earlier.

Sandy


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

I've had pocket doors before and don't remember any flexing. I wish we had put one in our garage bathroom. Because of code, we had to put a 36" door there & it takes up all the space in the bathroom.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

I plan to put one in the farmhouse, but not in an area that will be used very often. Just the occasional closing off of space and good point about not hanging pictures on that part of the wall, ML.

Sandy- Can you keep a few and maybe replace some with swinging doors? A combination might be nice, with the pocket doors being used in places that swinging doors will take up too much space.

Hope things improve soon and you get a little away time, later in the project :)


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Have a sick kitty so haven't been able to get back here.

We took the pocket door frames back for a refund. It does seem that the way the frames are made, even the Johnson ones, you have to put either plywood or MDF backing to stiffen the wall, if you don't like the flexing. Seemed ridiculous to us. The situation might be different with 6 inch walls, as it looks as though those frames have some extra vertical stiffeners. I don't want to change to 6 inch interior walls at this point.

I feel good about our decision not to have pocket doors and we are already framed back up for regular swing doors. We're having nice doors so I don't think I'll mind having them after all. I might even decide to do a couple of pretty glass doors with curtains on them for a couple of the closets.

When it comes down to it, every type of door has it's pros and cons. We just have to make the best decison we can at the time, and hope it's the right one. Older homes had thicker walls and the construction was different, so many of their pocket doors were very good.(Like my grandma's).

Thanks so much for the responses. Lavender lass, hope we can get away soon too. I'm getting cranky:)


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

"Older homes had thicker walls and the construction was different, so many of their pocket doors were very good.(Like my grandma's)."

right. a lot of things just aren't like they used to be...
darn it! glad you caught it and returned them. you would
drive yourself nuts every time you had to open or close one!

here's a link to Pioneer Woman's blog - when they put barn doors on the lodge bathroom. I do love her barn doors there!

Here is a link that might be useful: barn doors


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Hi Steph. so good to see you posting again. Hope you are feeling well.

I really love those barn doors.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Love those barn doors! I'm not sure that we have enough wall to use one for the bathroom but they may work for a couple of others. Thanks....they are so much prettier than I thought.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

That link to Barnhardware.com lured me away from the forum, and it took all day to get back. Kidnapped!!

I REALLY like the plain hardware, and am trying to see how I can use the pair of old cypress doors we salvaged from our river house that was torn down after Katrina. I know that I MUST use them somewhere. Very very old. And heavy too.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

hi shades! no, mostly sick... I've been reading, just not posting much here. nothing to post really. I finally did take 2 pics this past week - just of 2 light locations in the new place that need new fixtures. thought maybe I'd 'see' it differently in a photo. don't know that I did tho. might post them here later for input.

thx for asking.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Steph sorry you have been sick again. No way to email you so send to me through my page. Do not want to hijack this thread. You take care. I know how hard all this redo stuff is . We have been doing it here too. So much work.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Steph, hope you are feeling better. You've talken on a lot so please don't over do it.

Sandy


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

The only thing I don't like about my pocket doors is the locking device. Too small to turn and have to pull the door
towards me to get it to fit into the latch. I've been putting off buying a better locking device. This door came with the house and like most builders they went cheap. Other than that, I have always liked pocket doors.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

I put a pocket door in for the entrance into my bathroom because it is so small that you could barely get in with the door open. The hallway is on the other side of the wall where the pocket door is and I have hung a fairly large picture there with the ooK style picture hangers and haven't had any problem with it. It made getting into my bathroom so much nicer. I researched online to find a good frame and so far so good. I never thought about the cleaning aspect though!


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Totsuka, glad you mentioned that. Our old contractor who put in the pocket door did not add any hardware at all, and it's been two years now with nothing to pull/push/lock anything on our bathroom pocket door. Of course, we don't have an issue with that, but I'm at a loss how to remedy the situation.
Fiddle-dee-dee, I'll worry about that tomorrow.

Katrina, what are ooK style picture hangers? Can you give a link to them?

I think the door can be lifted off its upper rollers and taken out of the pocket, right? And then you can vacuum inside the wall. Or so I was assuming.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

I've had a few experiences with pocket doors, and never liked them, although they are a good solution in tight spots. We had one in this house, and when our child was little, he was always catching his fingers somehow. Then, when he got older, he would slam it, which caused it to jump the track. Eventually, the track was damaged, so I replaced it with a regular door. I can also see how an elderly person with arthritic hands might have trouble when the door is fully open- some of them leave precious little room to grip the door when it's recessed into the wall all the way.

After all that, i still haven't ruled them out for our next house, with the following caveats: 1) A really sturdy track. 2) Some way to stop the door with finger clearance so you can't catch your fingers. 3)Another stop so that the door doesn't go all the way into the recess, making it hard to get a grip on it to close it. I do like the barn door style, although they do eat up wall space. At least the mechanic in me would be able to do maintenance and repairs easily.


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RE: Pocket Doors....Not So Sure Now

Well, I've had to reavaulate the pocket door situation. Going into the house yesterday I realized that the half bathroom will have to have a pocket door unless I want the door to swing out and eat up a wall that I need for something else. I thought I could swing it in, but one way would block the window and the other way which I thought was going to work will force the bathroom user to sit on the toilet in order to close the door. We're putting 36 inch doors throughout so they eat a great deal of space.

I am also going to put one on our bathroom because there isn't a good resting spot for that door either, and in reality won't be closed much.

We've ordered the extra heavy duty (for a 400 lb. door) Johnson pocket door hardware because it looks more reinforced.

flgargoyle I am taking your suggestions about pinched fingers to heart and see if we can set something up to prevent that.

We'll still have some swing doors, but the pocket doors do fix door issues at times.

I don't really have an area in these instances where a barn door would work either.

Sandy


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