• Deen Gabriel

Sliding pocket doors and barn doors – ideas and advice for fitting these ultimate space-savers

When space is tight or when an outward or inward-opening hinged door is inconvenient, a sliding pocket door makes a neat and sleek solution. It creates a cute, cabin-like feel, and is a great go-to if you are – say – trying to squeeze in an en suite, or creating a cloakroom or office under the stairs.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about sliding pocket doors, as well as barn-door designs that are an easy retro-fit alternative.

What is a pocket door?

The door slides into a cavity (or ‘pocket’) in the adjacent wall, disappearing from view when the entrance way is open. The wall needs to be deep and wide enough to accommodate the width of the door. The Standard size of a door in South Africa is 813mm X 2032mm, with a thickness which varies between 35 mm and 44mm.

‘Make sure you buy a good quality system which has been thoroughly impact tested, to ensure that the installed pocket door is strong and robust,’ advises Caroline Clarkson, marketing manager at Eclisse.

How do I fit a sliding pocket door?

Typically, the door slides along an upper track, available in kit form, built into the studwork wall. Alternatively, a door can slide into a steel-framed cassette, with plasterboard installed directly over its surface. Usually the door and finger-pull need to be purchased separately to the system.

Make sure to buy a door style without projecting facings and be aware that non-standard door sizes may require a custom-made solution.

What are the alternatives to a sliding pocket door?

Solid and loadbearing walls may make installing a pocket door difficult or impossible, although it is sometimes possible to build a false stud wall, alongside the original, to accommodate the door.

Alternatively, a surface mounted sliding door may be a solution, as long as there is sufficient wall space free of radiators, sockets, pictures and furniture.

What about tracks?

There are many different types of sliding track systems on the market, from those which require installation by a builder or carpenter to more affordable ‘barn door’ sliding systems, which may be suitable for DIY fixing.

Pocket door ideas

1. Double up doors for a more glamorous look

Twin sliding pocket doors create a grand entrance to a bedroom or entertaining space. If you are looking to to create a semi-open-plan layout, rather than just knock out a wall, they could be a good solution.

2. Go industrial with a steel-framed barn door on tracks

This powder-coated steel frame door is a nod to factory windows and Crittall-style design. Because it’s on a rail, it’s a good retro-fit option.

3. Keep it simple in a large room with a solid, flush door

Looking for a solution for larger doors in a room with high ceilings? Then head on over to Todd Doors. This kit is suitable for flush doors with a thickness of 35mm to 44mm. This panelled design is clean and modern, and the lack of glass provides extra privacy.

4. Go rustic with a tongue-and-groove barn door

The owners of this home found a barn door to be the perfect way to separate off a WC from this bedroom. Using tongue-and-groove panelled doors with a distressed finish is in keeping with the slightly industrial look of the space.

Fit a pocket door and you’ll soon be enjoying a little more room for manoeuvre, and a little more privacy where you need it.


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