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How Much Space Do I Need For A Pocket Door To Slide Into The Wall?

The primary benefit of a pocket door for most people is that it creates space in a chosen room so that you can change its purpose or make it a multi-purpose room. But a major factor in whether this is possible is the amount of wall space that is required, and this is a very important factor that is often under-appreciated.


How does a pocket door system work?

how much space do i need for a pocket door to slide into the wall?

Pocket doors are able to create space in a room because they retract into a ‘sleeve’ or ‘pocket’ in the wall when they are opened, rather than use hinges to swing into a room. But this does mean that you need to allow for this additional width in your sizing calculations.

A pocket door kit will include a metal frame and an overhead rail. The frame is very easily constructed, it usually clicks together and requires minimal tools, while the overhead rail is what the door is attached to and how it travels in order to open the door. So the metal frame accommodates the door in both its closed and opened positions, and because of this it is over twice the width of the door itself, and therefore you need to allow for this in your calculations. Also, the timber door itself is not included in a pocket door system, so you need to know the size of the door you intend to install so that you can buy the correct pocket door kit (glass doors are provided with glass door packages).


How to choose the right size of pocket door frame

pocket door sizes

Pocket doors are ideal for installing in a stud wall. This is a type of wall where timber uprights are enclosed by plasterboard or drywall, because there is already a void there in which you can install your pocket door frame. You can install a pocket door in a solid brick wall, but you would need to create a new stud wall alongside your solid wall, and this does encroach on the floor space that you have available in the room. When checking whether the type of wall you have is appropriate for a pocket door, you should also check whether there is pipework or electrical wiring in the wall cavity. This is common in stud walls, and while the pocket can still be accommodated by re-routing the pipes or wires, this is a much bigger job and may be outside your DIY capabilities.

So the general rule for how much space you need for a pocket door to slide into a wall, is to double the width of the door and then add 36mm to accommodate the frame itself. So if you are installing a 626mm width door, you need an overall ‘pocket’ width of 1288mm, or if you had a 726mm door then you need a 1488mm wall space.

In terms of height, you need the wall space to accommodate the full height of the door, plus the overhead rail, plus some clearance space for ease of movement. So for a 2040mm door height (the standard metric height for most doors) you would need 2115mm wall height space. For a standard imperial height door 1981 you would need 2056mm wall height space.

One important thing to note is that some people like their pocket door to protrude slightly into the doorway, this is so that the door is easy to grab and operate in order to close it, otherwise it will completely disappear and you will need to insert your fingers into the narrow gap of the ‘pocket’ to grab the door. So if the door protrudes into the doorway by a few millimetres and therefore remains accessible, you need to allow for this in your wall space calculations. It might make sense to widen the doorway a little – particularly if it is a high traffic doorway – and therefore this might offset the wall width you have saved by the pocket door protruding slightly, and hence the wall space needed will be roughly the same as it was originally.

Another thing to note is that if you have double doors – such as if you are partitioning a living room and a dining room to create a partially open-plan entertaining space for example - then you will need to make this wall space calculation for both sides of the door.

Choosing the right size for your pocket door is an essential part of the installation process and you can contact the Pocket Door Shop for expert advice and recommendations when choosing one of our pocket door systems.

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