The term pocket door is used today to describe a sliding door which is generally top hung and slides back when opened into a cavity called the pocket, inside the wall - very simple.
Pocket doors are not new. They have been used for centuries, dating back to almost 2000 years ago, they were even found in the ashes of Pompei!
So if they are that old then why did they never catch on?
There is a simple reason - the technology available at that time did not give the required reliability. The Victorians also understood the advantages of pocket doors in particular double pocket doors which you can sometimes see in very old films however the fact that the jumped off the tracks and didn’t last very long caused them to go out of use.
Recent developments in technology mean they can now be made from steel and aluminium eliminating the damaging risk of wood warping causing a bad sliding action. Runners have also improved immensely, they are now completely sealed for life chrome steel bearings which generally last at least 30 years if not more. The runners are now held inside the tracks so there is absolutely no chance of them jumping off the rails. Finally the pocket door frames have been designed to work inside standard 100mm (4”) walls with standard doors so there is nothing special or difficult in fitting or using.
So with all this development Pocket Doors have become an accepted part of everyday life throughout the world.
WHY?- this is easy to answer. With the door retracting inside the wall the space that it would have opened up into if it was a hinged door becomes usable, “behind the door” no longer exists! This completely changes the room opening up the area both practically and aesthetically. It is estimated that using pocket doors can create between 8 and 10% more space for the user, put an armchair, a bookcase, a table in the space that was ‘behind the door’. More space is a good thing today with houses and rooms becoming smaller and smaller, there are situations that immediately spring to mind, en-suites, bathrooms, utility rooms and even the double doors between living and dining - no more bashing a hinged door into the dining chairs!
Another positive aspect of pocket doors is difficult to explain in words, you need to see it to believe it! The fact that the pocket door slides back inside the wall changes your perception of the use of space in any room. With traditional hinged doors it becomes an automatic thing to avoid standing in front of the door in case it opens unexpectedly. Your mind therefore limits the space in which you can operate by this amount and your perception of the room and the space is reduced. If you eliminate this perception using a pocket door instead your mind quickly understands the available space and perceives the room to be much bigger. This concept is called space re-evaluation and is an automatic mental process that is a result of using pocket doors.
Pocket doors, a better space to live in!