Sliding Pocket Door

What is a Pocket Door?

A pocket door can refer to two different types of doors:

  1. A door that slides in one direction into a preformed cavity, this is normally a room door where the door leaf disappears into the wall next to it and can be a single or a pair.
  2. A door that opens at 90 degrees and is then slid back into a pocket at right angles to the doors closed position. You can also have pairs of doors that slide together first and then go back into a pocket. For accuracy refer to this as a hinged pocket door.

Are there any things that I should be concerned about when specifying a sliding pocket door?

There are a few things to consider;

  • Access

Simple overhead tracks very rarely go wrong but you will need access for maintenance, particularly if you have automated and/or soft close systems. Therefore, you will need removable panels to access the mechanism and awkward details can be avoided by considering this at an early stage.

  • Weight

If your door is particularly heavy you should incorporate a soft close or damping system otherwise you will find that using them will be accompanied by loud thuds and bangs.

You should be aware that a heavy door closing can be quite dangerous to children and hands.

  • Handles

It seems fairly obvious to say that if you want your door to be hidden completely in the pocket then the handles have to be flush with the face or in the edge

If you are having a surface mounted handle make sure the door stops before it meets the frame to avoid damage and to make use easier.

I have heard that hinged pocket doors are a problem?

They can be and our general advice to customers is to avoid them where possible.

What are the main problems?

  • The biggest problem is that often the mechanism is not good enough for the application. The specifications might give a maximum height, width and weight but in our experience, these are at the very limit of operational efficiency.
  • If you are going to use a system then buy the very best and ensure the specification greatly exceeds the door dimensions and weight. If not, you will quite quickly find that the door goes out of alignment and can then catch so that to use it you start damaging the cabinet and/or door. In the end people just leave them in the pockets.

What is the cost of a good mechanism?

If you are looking to have a small door (up to 700mm high) in a cabinet to cover a tv then you will need to budget a minimum of £100 per door. If you are looking at tall door anything over 1500mm then budget around £1000. For a bi-fold pocket door then you should be looking at £1500 per door.

Are hinged pocket doors quite an expensive option?

Yes, because on top of the mechanism cost you have the additional cabinetry to form the pockets and all of that is additional to the normal cost of the cabinet.

Are there any other options?

There are but I would start with do you really need to hide something in the first place? If you do then is it possible to change the method of concealment so that the tv or bar area rise up on a lift from below or can doors slide across in front or behind of other areas of cabinetry.

Tambour doors either horizontal or vertical can be a solution as long as they aren’t to big and then you can also have front panels that move vertically up or down.