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Pocket Doors Add Privacy and Space

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Article Provided by: Nashville Home Inspection

A door isn’t a door when it’s ajar, right? But this old (and tired) joke has a second, often overlooked answer. A door also isn’t a door when it’s a pocket! Pocket doors are not only space-savers, but problem-solvers for rooms tucked into tight corners or up against awkward angles.

Pocket doors function as room-savers when they enclose spaces where there is no room for an in-swinging door, and an out-swinging door would result in a collision or become an obstacle. The addition of a pocket door in these circumstances allows for small or large spaces to be enclosed when necessary, without the need to add or remove walls.

Some of the earliest mentions of pocket doors appeared during the Victorian era, with patent applications and advertisements for pocket-door parts appearing as early as the 1870’s. The parlor/pocket doors of this time employed trackless mechanisms or bottom sheaves (wheels/rollers). By the early 1880’s, a third construction appeared – overhead tracks, door hangers and top door plates. For a large, double-wide doorway between two rooms – a dining room and living room, for example – a pair of pocket doors can be an elegant and practical addition. In fact, this was the most widely used application of pocket doors during the turn of the century.

Pocket doors all but disappeared in the early 1900’s, but are making a comeback today in both small and larger homes. When open, pocket doors don’t clutter or obstruct the area around the doorway. A pocket door can add up to ten feet of usable floor and wall space that would normally be occupied by a door’s swing. Kits can be purchased for under $100, but retrofitting them into a home includes tearing out a portion of the wall to install split studs and tracks. They are easily added to new home construction or in a home where remodeling work is already being planned.

Some factors to consider when planning for a pocket door:

  • There must be enough clearance in the wall framing for the door(s) to fit.
  • The wheeled trucks that latch to the door and ride back and forth in the track must be ones that will not jump out of the track. (Some pocket-door frames and hardware come with this guarantee).
  • Plumbing, electrical, or other mechanical equipment must be routed around a pocket door’s location. Also, it must be remembered that the pocket’s structure is weaker that that of a conventional wall.

Ultimately, it is usually a little more costly to install a pocket door than to hang a conventional door, but the cost may be well worth it for the space savings.

Source: John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection | Blog distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee


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