A fairly frequent topic covered on this blog before is that of space. In the modern age, where house prices and rent rates are high, space often comes at a surplus for many people. Whilst this tends to be felt most when it comes to choosing appliances or mapping out worktops, but an often unconsidered factor is the use of pocket doors inside your living space.
Doors take up a heck of a lot more space and room then I think many of us first consider. For starters, the width of a given door frame is going to take up space in of itself, as it will need to be kept clear and unobstructed. Secondly, the door itself is going to take up space itself, whichever way it’s hinged. In fact, according to current building regulations, hinged doors require a minimum of 7ft 2” of swing space, which obstructions are not supposed to interfere with; smaller residences are likely not going to have that much freedom to play around with, and even in larger homes this is not always practical.
Typically, it’s the fact that most doors are hinged in any given residence that causes this problem. Chances are good that many people aren’t even aware that there IS an alternative to hinged doors. However, there is, and in a residence where size is a problem, they’re an absolute lifesaver; Pocket Doors.
You’ve likely seen Pocket Doors before, but not known that that’s what they’re called. Rather then being hinged and swinging either inward or outward, a Pocket Door is a slide-door construction that allows the door to easily slip into the wall in which the doorway is constructed. The tracks Pocket Doors operate on are also top-hung, meaning there are no obstructions or awkward footfalls occupying the door frame. These are universal to pretty much any make and model of pocket door, giving each customer the freedom of choice when it comes to style.
The two main types of Pocket Door include ones which side directly into the wall cavity itself, or ones that feature a heavy duty metal cage, called a Cassette, that the door will slide into. As a general rule, Pocket Doors with Cassettes will be far more expensive then those that simply slide into the wall cavity directly, but they offer an additional benefit that ones lacking a Cassette don’t have; extra reinforcement.
Whilst pocket doors without Cassettes are usually more then adequate for most home environments, there are a few non-commercial applications for ones that do feature them. For starters, walls with heavier decor- such as those with intricate tiling- will likely require the extra heavy duty reinforcement. Doorways that feature the most foot traffic are also likely to benefit from the heavier reinforcement as well. Finally, if you’re installing a glass door or fire door, then a Cassette-based Pocket Door is required.
Installing Pocket Doors in a pre-existing residence is far more complicated then installing them in a new build, as wiring and piping will have to be taken into consideration. You will need at least the width of the door frame itself free within the adjoining wall space to be able to fit a Pocket Door, otherwise you will be unable to fit one. Factors such as the door’s thickness, width, and even weight will have to be factored in too. Most retailers will recommend sticking to normal width and thickness regulations, as non-standard sizing may require the need for bespoke options and may lead to higher labour and fitting costs.
If you’re interested in pursuing Pocket Doors as an option, then it’s worth looking into the wide variety of design styles, handle styles, and additional fixtures offered by any number of retailers that deal in Pocket Doors; not only are they a tremendous space saver, but they’re also incredibly versatile things in terms of form as well as function.