Advantages & Disadvantages of a Pocket Door

Mary Cockrill

Pocket doors do a disappearing act into walls. These space-saving doors slide discreetly into an adjacent wall opening and are hidden until needed. They typically glide along rollers suspended from an overhead track. Pocket doors were installed in homes as early as the 1800s, particularly the Victorian style. Even though structural design and material improvements continue to make pocket doors a functional and enduring favorite, they aren't suitable for every structure.


Pocket doors use less floor space than hinged doors.

Pocket doors are an ideal way to optimize floor space, especially in an apartment or smaller home. These doors are also commonly installed on yachts and in recreational vehicles that have very limited floor space. Pocket doors require wall space that is only slightly greater than the overall width of each pocket door. However, larger homes with ample floor space may be more aesthetically pleasing with swinging doors. Double French doors or ornately-carved traditional doors impart a grand, designer-savvy presence in large, open rooms.


Planning for pocket door installation prior to home construction is ideal. This avoids installing water lines, drainpipes, heating and cooling ducts, and electrical lines in walls designed for pocket doors. An existing home might require the relocation of electrical and plumbing that is in walls targeted for pocket door installation. Weigh the usefulness, aesthetic appeal and personal preferences with the cost, time and effort it will take to install a pocket door in your current home.


Specially designed pocket doors composed of heavy gauge steel that are anchored to the floor and walls are created to provide security against severe weather and hostile entry. These pocket doors slide from within a wall to securely cover the entryway to a safe or panic room. A steel frame, remote or keyless entry and peephole are typical door features. Optional bullet-resistant panels may be integrated into some security pocket doors. A disadvantage of these doors is the hefty price you can expect to pay.


Proper installation of a well-made door frame and pocket door will typically provide a convenient, trouble-free door for the life of the home. A modern pocket door is quiet, strong and seldom comes off its track. Common problems of older pocket doors may be attributed to age, wear-and-tear, inferior products or poor construction. Sometimes these doors stick and won't slide, the wheels come off the track or pieces are missing or broken.