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Pocket Doors: Pros & Cons [Considerations For Homeowners]

Are you considering a pocket door for a room in your home but aren't sure if it's the right option for you? Well, you've come to the right place. We've put together this guide to help you learn about the pros and cons of using pocket doors so you can determine whether or not they're right for you.

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros:

  1. Great for tight spaces 
  2. They're attractive
  3. Easier to use for elderly or disabled
  4. Allow use of entire doorway
  5. Improves the flow of your home and directs visitor traffic

Cons:

  1. Noisy operation
  2. More difficult to repair
  3. Don't seal well against noise or smells
  4. Won't work in every wall or doorway
  5. Can sometimes be difficult to use

So when are pocket doors a good option, and how can you tell if your doorway can accommodate a pocket door? Keep reading to learn all about these doors and how to use them.

Interior background of room with white door and vase with branch. - Pocket Doors: Pros & Cons [Considerations For Homeowners]

How To Tell If Pocket Doors Are Right For Your Home

Pocket doors are a great way to add a door in a tight space and add a unique touch to any doorway. However, they're not the perfect option for everyone or every situation.

You will need to consider the different pros and cons of these doors and determine whether or not they are a suitable option for your needs. 

White Panel Sliding Door Hidden in the Wall

The Pros Of Pocket Doors

There are some characteristics of pocket doors that make them stand out over swing doors in certain situations. They offer some features that swinging doors just can't compensate for. 

1. Great For Tight Spaces

Pocket doors don't require space on either side of the wall to swing open as standard doors do. Instead, these doors slide into the space inside your wall. This makes them ideal for tight spaces, small rooms, or closets that won't allow for a hinged door. 

2. They're Attractive

Pocket doors can add interest to a house when they're used wisely. You can even choose a decorative door slab to use as a way to increase the appeal. Using double pocket doors for large doorways can add a feeling of grandeur to your home as well.

Mr.Wood 36x84 Door Slab

This decorative door slab is a great way to add even more interest to your pocket door. The wood pattern and colors are eye catching and add charm.

Click here to see this door slab on Amazon.

White wall with an old double sliding door with textured glass in an historic building, copy or text space, nostalgic

3. Easier To Use For Some Elderly Or Disabled People

Pocket doors can be a great solution for anyone who may struggle to twist a doorknob or push a door open on their own.

People in wheelchairs and people who depend on walkers or canes may benefit from the use of an easy-to-slide door. Using large handles when possible will also help those who struggle with knobs.

Tibres 6-Inch Flush Door Pull

These large handles are easy to see and grasp for people who have difficulty with smaller handles and knobs. They're also an attractive option with a chic appearance.

Click here to check out these handles on Amazon.

4. Allow Use Of Entire Doorway

Another benefit of pocket doors is that they allow the use of the entire doorway when they are fully opened, unlike hinged doors.

This makes moving furniture and other large items to and from the room much easier. It's also another benefit for people who use walkers or wheelchairs, giving them more space to move their equipment from room to room.

5. Improves The Flow Of Your Home And Directs Visitor Traffic

When closed, pocket doors create a solid division between rooms, but when they're open, pocket doors are almost completely unnoticeable.

This is a great way to create division or open space as needed between two high-traffic areas, like a dining room and living room. This can be used to provide more space when you have company, or it can be used to close off an area to guests quickly and easily.

A new pocket door in a house bedroom entrance to bathroom. A pocket door saves space by sliding into the wall rather than swinging open.

The Cons Of Pocket Doors

Pocket doors aren't always the perfect solution, and they do have their own downfalls. In some situations, a standard swinging door is a better option.

1. Noisy Operation

Pocket doors slide along a track which creates more noise than hinges. Good quality hardware can prevent some of the noise, but it will still make noise. If you are considering using a pocket door for an infant's room or for other sound-sensitive areas, this is an important characteristic to keep in mind.

DIYHD Sliding Pocket Door Frame And Hardware

Click here to see this frame and hardware kit on Amazon.

2. More Difficult To Repair

Pocket doors tend to be more difficult to repair than standard hinged doors. In turn, this also makes them more costly to repair. Since pocket doors operate on tracks that slide into the wall, the components are much harder to access.

3. Don't Seal Well Against Noise Or Smells

Pocket doors tend to have a small gap at the top, and this allows noise and odor to travel from one side to the other easily. It's not a great option if you want to soundproof an area or create more privacy. This means they're not always the best option for bathrooms or bedrooms.

4. Won't Work In Every Wall Or Doorway

Pocket doors are best suited to 2"x6" wall framing since they need space to slide into the wall. Not every wall can accommodate pocket doors either, especially if there are structural components in the area.

You will need to consult with a professional to determine whether or not a pocket door can be installed in a specific opening.

5. Can Be Difficult To Use For Some

While some people may find pocket doors easier to use than hinged doors, some may also find them more difficult to operate. If an elderly or disabled person doesn't have the strength to slide the door slab or has limited use of their hands, this kind of door could be problematic. 

Open wooden pocket door slid back into the wall cavity concealing it and saving space with close up focus to the handle and pull edge lever

Are Pocket Doors A Problem?

Pocket doors are rather infamous for developing issues in the track that make them difficult to use. Purchasing good hardware when you install it can help mitigate problems, but wear and tear over time will still affect performance. Repairing issues in the track can be time consuming and costly as well.

Are Pocket Doors Hard To Maintain?

Pocket doors are more demanding to maintain than hinged doors. Their hidden tack makes it tough to oil and repairs the parts. The tight space the track fits into in the wall is also difficult to access and maintain. 

Why Aren't Pocket Doors More Popular?

The pocket door's tendency to develop performance issues is one reason they lost popularity. Pocket doors also used to require a track along the bottom of the opening for the door to slide on, creating a tripping hazard, but modern hardware has mitigated this issue.

These doors have gained and lost popularity since their introduction in the 1800s.

Are Pocket Doors Coming Back Into Style?

Pocket doors are becoming more popular once again. Modern hardware that is less noticeable and less invasive has made them more home friendly. They are being used more often in new construction projects now, making them more desirable to the public again.

White Panel Sliding Door With Brass Lockset

Are Pocket Doors Good For Bathrooms?

Yes, pocket doors are an excellent option for small bathrooms. They don't provide as much sound or smell blocking as hinged doors, but they still provide a good amount of privacy, especially if a lock is installed. When there just isn't enough space for a door to swing, a pocket door may be the next best option.

HOMOTEK Pocket Door Lock

This pocket door lock is available in three different colors to meet your needs and match your existing home hardware. It fits doors up to 1 3/8" thick and advertises quick and easy installation. 

Click here to see this lock on Amazon.

Can You Use A Pocket Door For a Bedroom?

Yes, a pocket door can make a great choice for a bedroom. Avoid using them in the rooms of young children who could damage the door by being rough with it. 

Are Pocket Doors Easy To Install?

Pocket doors are very difficult to install; this type of project should be handled by a professional. Average homeowners should avoid attempting to DIY this type of project. Attempting to install your own pocket door without experience can result in costly repairs and door problems.

In Closing

Now that you know all about pocket doors as well as how and where to apply them, you're ready to decide if they're the right choice for your home. Don't forget to consult a professional to make sure a pocket door can be added to a particular wall before making plans or purchases. Good luck and have fun!

You may also enjoy these related articles:

If you aren't sure pocket doors are right for you, read this article to learn about some different door options: 11 Accordion Door Alternatives

For help choosing a color to use on your new door, read this article: Should Interior Doors Be The Same Color As The Walls?