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Double pocket doors or hinged doors?

Pink Poppy
7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

It's great that we've gotten our layout worked out so we can move on to planning other details. Here is a photo of the galley layout we chose (pending discussions with designer and GC):


Here is the layout of our main floor (some details left out to make drawing more legible):

In the wall between the kitchen and the "seating area", we'll be knocking out a new doorway. We're picky about kitchen sounds and smells wafting through the rest of the house so we MUST have doors to seal off that opening when cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. We plan to put double French doors there but we can't decide if we want the doors to be pocket doors or hinged doors.

I like hinged doors because they seem more reliable than pocket doors. I like pocket doors because they don't take up extra space when open.

I don't like hinged doors because of the challenges presented when they are open. We can't have them swing into the kitchen because we risk accidentally slamming them into the cabinets/open drawers. Opening them towards the seating area means we can't place any furniture anywhere along the swing radius.

The problem with pocket doors is, first, I don't know if we can fit two together on that wall. Second, I worry about the reliability of the hardware. Our existing pocket door wiggles and rubs as it is opened and closed. Third, I worry that it's difficult to get a good seal between two pocket doors. I imagine it is hard to get/keep them level and completely flush with one another.

Which is best - pocket doors or hinged doors? Are there any other options?

I may as well lump in another question! the "seating area" has a question mark because we're not quite sure what
to do with the space yet. Currently, it's a dining room but the DR will
be moving to the back. The living room is currently our kids' play
space. We're thinking of making the seating area a small TV or reading
nook (we don't watch TV very often). Any suggestions for how to use this
space?

Comments (28)

  • banana suit
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If you get pocket doors make sure they're solid. Hollow ones will do next to nothing for sound.

    Pink Poppy thanked banana suit
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  • DYH
    7 years ago

    I like pocket doors, but I don't think you have enough wall space on each side to cover the opening shown. You'd have to loose a few inches of open doorway because the door can't come completely out of the pocket when closed.

    What style home do you have? I don't know if barn doors (without the rustic barn look), would appeal to you. Still, you'd need enough wall space on each side for those to slide open. Also, with barn doors, you won't get a "seal" due to the mounting hardware holding the doors off the wall. Barn door hardware requires a reinforced header above the door to support the weight of both doors.

    Pink Poppy thanked DYH
  • herbflavor
    7 years ago


    isn't this a new sight line from living room straignht through kitchen..undisturbed....through to window on back wall of kitchen?? [can't exactly remember your original].....I would vote no doors...I think you will embrace the amount of openness you have and not want to close it off as much as you think...especially if you place a beautiful hardwood floor.....visual lines and clear space with an element like counter edges and floor will be a bonus effect of using your adjacent areas.Perhaps making a wall or pony wall to left of sink.....extend it somewhat into floorspace , beefing it up with double insulating drywall or the current way to insulate, will do more than you might think. The only area I'd have a 2nd though about would be sink, but with deep sinks and quiet dishwashers, I think you'll have less issue than you imagine, and the open, walkthrough characteristic is something I'd embrace. Don't lock yourself into planning the eat in area....it will emerge later. My vote is no door but extend wall a bit if you must do something......do a beautiful floor,some detail to counter edges , and upgrade cabinet hardware as they'll be seen from different angles, with money saved.

    Pink Poppy thanked herbflavor
  • herbflavor
    7 years ago

    As a feature, and you have the wide floorspace, I would spend some time and look at staggered depth on long wall...either install some bases out from wall or order selected cabinets a few inches deeper...this might take some time to draw out as you may want to go to 14-15 in deep on a couple uppers.....but this detail would really be great in your kitchen.......the space is asking for it,really.

  • bpath
    7 years ago

    What about bifold doors? Not on a track, but hinged to the jamb. They take up less room open than standard doors.

    My parents have a wide opening, probably 8-10', between foyer and dining room, and the double folding doors look great open or closed, and even open just a bit to allow passage while controlling light.

    Pink Poppy thanked bpath
  • Stan B
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago


    I would do a single, solid core pocket door if I wanted the separation. Yes its a compromise but it's going to be more reliable and lower cost than double pocket doors. If you do decide to go with double pocket doors I think you'd want to be very choosy about what you get and make sure its properly designed. High quality double pocket doors will be expensive so that you don't end up with the problems you are already anticipating. Personally I don't think you have the space to do hinged/swinging doors.

    Then there's the sliding barn door that shows up on just about every episode of Fixer Upper .... I think these are very trendy but it might work for your needs.

    Pink Poppy thanked Stan B
  • cpartist
    7 years ago

    I wouldn't do hinged doors as that would make the room unusable. If it's just the smells, I agree with herb flavor that a good quality hood should mitigate that problem. If it's the sounds, then yes a door will help there.

    Pink Poppy thanked cpartist
  • funkycamper
    7 years ago

    As previously stated, there is a huge different between quality pocket doors and the cheap kind. We have a 48" wide pocket door in a part of our house and I love it. The room can be open to the rest of the house or closed off. The door is solid and muffles sounds. It as built in 1949 and hasn't come off the rails yet. Quality hardware should last if taken care of.

    Also, as previously stated, odors should be contained in your kitchen with a good hood that is used properly.

    If you think you will want the room closed off occasionally, if it were me, I'd go with a quality pocket door with glass inserts so the view between rooms and light flow isn't cut off. You could do a seed glass if you think you would want the view obscured. I would not do a solid door which would cut off the light.


    Pink Poppy thanked funkycamper
  • Oaktown
    7 years ago

    I vote for double-acting pocket doors.

    Pink Poppy thanked Oaktown
  • cookncarpenter
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm with funky, good quality double pocket doors with glass single or multi-divided lites.

    Lots of glass choices, seedy, rain, glue-chip, etc. or just clear.

    I'm typically not a big fan of pocket doors, but in this case I think it's a good choice.

    Pink Poppy thanked cookncarpenter
  • practigal
    7 years ago

    Hinged doors will just take up too much space. This is an "open design" type kitchen, I think you need to leave it open and get a great hood to deal with the smells. You need to decide what you are doing with that "seating area" or you will just end up with a large hallway that will be tough to make useful, little less decorate.

  • Pink Poppy
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks so much for all the replies! You've helped to address all of our concerns about pocket doors so we now feel confident that HIGH QUALITY pocket doors are the most ideal solution for us. I want that wall to be as open as possible so we'll likely go with single lite clear glass doors (hope I"m using the terminology correctly - I'm trying to describe a door with just a large clear sheet of glass within the rectangular frame). I've also been admiring doorways with a transom (is that the right term for a narrow window overtop a doorway?) to bring in more light between the two spaces. Like these:

    Built-Ins · More Info

    Cliffwood · More Info

    About cooking smells: We currently have a high powered fan and if we forget to close both doors that lead out of the kitchen, cooking smells still get through to the rest of the house, even with the fan on full blast and the nearby window open. No doors is no-go for us! ;) Though I love the feel of open concept, semi-open is the better choice for our family. Here's an article that touches on some of our reasons for putting doors in: Are "Closed Kitchens" Making a Comeback?

  • Pink Poppy
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    eam44: We don't currently entertain very often but once the space is opened up after the reno, we hope to! There is no door between the kitchen and DR. It is an open archway.

    bananasuit: Thanks for the tip. As we're getting glass in the doors, I'm guessing that counts as a semi-solid door? ;) I know it's not much for a sound barrier but it's better than fully open.

    dyhgarden: I love the look of barn doors but, as you said, they won't give us the seal we need. :(

    herbflavor: Yes, you're right this is a new sight line! The doorway won't line up perfectly with the back window (the window is not centered on that portion of the wall) but it will still line up with a good portion of window. I can't wait to see the sunlight beaming through the window then through the new pocket doors.

    I love all the suggestions you shared for adding visual interest. I'll be coming back over the next few months to get more detailed advice on the aesthetics - that's something that hurts my brain to think about right now... so many details to consider!

    bpathome: Bifolds are a great suggestion. Thanks! If we can't get the double pocket doors to fit, we'll look into bifolds.

    Stan Z and cpartist: I agree that we don't have the room for hinged doors. They will eat up valuable space in the tiny seating area.

    funkycamper, Oaktown, cookncarpenter: thanks for allaying our fears about the reliability of pocket doors. Any tips on how to choose a high quality pocket door?

    practigal: Oh boy, we are kind of stumped what to do with that seating area! As I mentioned, the best idea we've come up with is to use it as a TV/reading nook. Any suggestions you have would be much appreciated! Currently, that area and the living room area are carpeted. We will be re-tiling the kitchen with wood-look ceramic tiles. Should we leave the seating area carpeted or should we put tile in to get a continuous flow between that area and the kitchen?

  • homechef59
    7 years ago

    I like the picture with transom. It's a very handsome solution. Your contractor should be able to do this without difficulty. I've had both antique and modern pocket doors. First, good quality doors. Second, really good quality hardware. While a bit more expensive upfront, they will stand the test of time and use. The transom windows make it seem more open.

    Pink Poppy thanked homechef59
  • cookncarpenter
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here's an example of the type of hardware to use.

    Your application is termed converging doors. I'd use 1-3/4" thick doors. Any good carpenter or contractor should be able to set the frames and doors for you. Not difficult, but I'd say a bit beyond most DIYers capabilities...

    Love the transom as well!

    Edit to add; Note the thick walls in your photos, this type of hardware requires a minimum of 2"x6" framing of the pocket wall.

    Pink Poppy thanked cookncarpenter
  • funkycamper
    7 years ago

    Sorry, no, since our's came with the house and built before we were born, lol. I think cookncarpenter is steering you right. I'd spend extra for the most heavy-duty, quality hardware you can find with a good gliding action. You don't ever want to have to tear out your walls to repair. Thankfully, our's recesses into a box in the upper-area of our stairwell going down to the basement so if it ever does fail, we aren't tearing out walls to repair/replace it.

    Good luck. I'm looking forward to seeing photos of how this project progresses.

    Oh, I LOVE the transom.

    And I think a transition to different flooring would look best at the converging pocket doors instead of in the middle of the room. Or change out all the flooring throughout living/sitting/kitchen/dining to be the same. Changing the flooring in the middle of a big room is going to limit your furniture placement options.

    Pink Poppy thanked funkycamper
  • Oaktown
    7 years ago

    Ms K, when you get into the working details of pocket doors, interaction with light switches, etc. you might ask for input over on the Remodeling forum, lots of good info there.

    Older pocket door discussion

    Pink Poppy thanked Oaktown
  • Pink Poppy
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Glad to hear such positive responses to the transom! We love the look so we really hope it will fit. Our ceilings are only 8ft high so I'll have to see if we can fit it in above the pocket door hardware and frame. If no transom then we'll see about getting taller doors to help maximize the amount of light and openness between the two spaces.

    Thanks so much for all the additional info about installing pocket doors. We certainly won't be attempting this ourselves but it's great info for us to know as we work with our GC to choose and install them.

  • salex
    7 years ago

    I love the transom! In addition to getting high-quality solid doors and high-quality hardware, make sure the installer does a high-quality install. Otherwise the other stuff won't matter. I'd ask if it's an installation they do often, and make sure they're familiar with the hardware you end up using. Also pay attention to whether or not there is a removable rail at the top of one side of the door. It's somewhat standard to install one side with hidden screws rather than nails, so that if the top of the door ever needs to adjusted for level, you don't have to open the frame or the wall.

    Pink Poppy thanked salex
  • Pink Poppy
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks for the tips salex! We'd like these doors to last a long time so the removable rail sounds like a must.

  • sheloveslayouts
    7 years ago

    Great suggestions above. I just wanted to say I'm sincerely so very excited for you. I expect that this renovation is going to have a huge, positive impact on the way your family lives in your home. It's going to be great.

    Pink Poppy thanked sheloveslayouts
  • hanibi
    7 years ago

    A symmetric converging pocket door like this would be nice:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nstf-yv67yA

    Pink Poppy thanked hanibi
  • Pink Poppy
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    hanibi: is that ever neat! I'll have to think about if it will work for my family. I have two little ones and I know they won't be able to resist getting mischievous with those doors! I envision them using it like a sideways guillotine and body parts getting squished. Sigh...

    Aww, thanks benjesbride! You've been with me from the beginning of this process so that means a lot to me. I've REALLY appreciated your help and your great eye for kitchen design. I spend so many hours of my life in the kitchen. This reno will definitely make my life so much more pleasant... it's a bonus that it'll work nicely for my husband and kids too! Ha ha... ;)

  • CEFreeman_GW DC/MD Burbs 7b/8a
    7 years ago

    What did you do?
    (Warning: Novel coming:)

    I am here to tell you that antique pocket door hardware is perfect, but 50s through early 90s hardware is AWFUL. Who ever thought a J channel would hold a door that gets a lot of use was an idiot. But not as big an idiot as anyone who installed it and walked away.

    It is ALL in the installation. I've put in 15 pocket doors using the Johnson Hardware's extruded tracks, with their 3-wheel system. No matter what the weight, I always use 3 rollers. Not only can I, a self-taught, dangerous DIYer, do it, but it's well balanced and beautiful. You don't need those giant pocket door kits, either. A 2x6 base plate, then 2x4s turned sideways down either side of the 2x6 makes the channel. The hardware goes on the top, add wheels, bumpers, trim and DONE. DONE I SAY!

    Your hardware fears are only valid if the same installation you're experiencing is used again, or the installation is too quick or faulty.

    I don't know what I'd do without the 9 extra square feet in my rooms. I've even used antique French doors (perfect for your dining room!?) in 3 of them. In the other doors, I'm using antique, horizontal 6-panel doors (harder to find than the 5-panel and cooler doors, I think) which are solid and beautiful. More interesting than any slab door.

    The only other tip I would suggest is to make certain they're exterior thickness, which is at least 1.75" thick. Interior doors these days are usually 1 3/8" thick and rather flimsy for a pocket.

    Today I'm installing the trim on the last of the French doors I'm using. It's an antique (i.e. also reclaimed) and just beautiful. Great sight line from the window in the mudroom, into the kitchen. Gives me more light than my dark kitchen than I'd had before.

    As you can see, I can't rave enough about my pockets. Don't let some contractor tell you they're too difficult or more expensive. Show them this DIYer's post and I'll help their pro-butts out. Remember, if this (nitwit) chick can do it, a pro should do it with their hammer tied behind their back.

    Pink Poppy thanked CEFreeman_GW DC/MD Burbs 7b/8a
  • Pink Poppy
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    CEFreeman: That message was much appreciated! I'm getting a better understanding of how pocket doors are installed. I am so, so relieved and delighted that pocket doors can be trouble free. I, too, don't know how I'd make that "seating area" just outside my kitchen useable without pocket doors. Thank you so much!!

  • divotdiva2
    7 years ago

    I have pocket doors in three bathrooms and got quality hardware. No problems. I have one in my laundry that was installed by the original build - cheap and falling off the rail. That one will be demolished when we do the kitchen. I have absolutely gorgeous doors to my patio that are three stacking doors that slide to one side. They have an upper track to hang from and one that is flush to the floor to glide on, no threshold to step over. You could look into those also. Good luck!

    Pink Poppy thanked divotdiva2