Barn Door Series Post 4 – Pocket Doors, Barn Door’s Close Cousin

This week we are breaking out of the “barn door” box just a little bit with by talking about its cousin, the pocket door.

The main difference between a barn door and a pocket door is that barn doors are on the outside of the wall and pocket doors are on the inside of the wall. They’ve got similar functionality but each has its own pros and cons with the details.


What makes pocket and barn doors so functional is that they don’t take up floor space by swinging open and closed. Often in remodels we are faced with the challenge of how folks have had to use their spaces and combine their lifestyles with the bones of the home, especially older homes. Pocket doors were once the answer to these frustrating narrow hallways, or tight corners and even a busy thoroughfare.

So why did people make the switch?

  • Pocket doors are notorious for problems with functionality, they often fall off their tracks, move with difficulty, are problematic to lock and are loud when they move in and out of the wall.
  • Pocket doors do not seal tightly enough to prevent passage of fire and smoke from one room to another through the wall around the door.
  • Pocket doors require the full width of the door inside the wall to be free to move the door open and closed – which may create electrical and HVAC limitations.


Small spaces and creative solutions are bringing the attraction to the pocket door back and we’re seeing some of our own clients choose these over the trendy barn doors as well. If you’re considering a pocket door for your own home, take these things into consideration when making your selection:

  • In a world where aging-in-place is common practice, it is important to consider grip and dexterity when thinking about installing a pocket door.
  • Upgrade the hardware so that the door is more durable to reduce functionality issues.
  • Hang art with careful consideration to door pocket – you don’t want the wall hanger to obstruct the door pocket and prevent it from closing properly.


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