Pocket doors and barn doors serve a similar function in terms of providing a space saving door design, but aside from the fact that they both open and close, they are very different. We created this guide highlighting each door’s pros and cons to help you understand the difference between the two.
The installation process for installing a pocket door versus a barn door is where you’ll see the biggest difference in terms of cost and effort. Unless you have the existing pocket and track set up for your new door, you will need to undertake substantial renovations, which include tearing down the wall where you want the pocket door to sit, rebuilding that wall, and then re-drywalling. And if it is a structural wall you will need both an engineer and a contractor to do the install. Sliding barn doors use a track that’s installed on the outside of the wall, regardless of whether it’s load-bearing or not, which means you won’t have any additional renovation costs to open and reconstruct your wall in order to install your sliding door.
Functionality & Appearance
Both doors save you space in tight quarters because they don’t require a swing radius, but that doesn’t mean they are the same. Pocket doors require a wall that is free from plumbing and electrical wiring, which can limit where you use them, and they can generally only be used in entranceways. On the other hand, you can install sliding barn doors practically anywhere, and many homeowners even use them to cover up pantries, cabinets, and entertainment centres.
Viba’s barn doors use unique nylon wheels that are rugged and durable, allowing for smooth opening and closing for years to come. They don’t require any lubrication or complex maintenance, only periodically wiping down the hardware with a damp towel to remove any dust or debris. Since the hardware for pocket doors is recessed in the wall, it can make simple maintenance extremely difficult.
Another big difference people notice when they are deciding between a barn door and a pocket door is the installation price. Barn doors tend to be the more economical option, mostly as a result of how they’re installed.
Pocket doors can be very difficult to install in an existing wall, which can drive up your final costs considerably as the wall may not be thick enough to conceal the track, in which case, the whole wall must be rebuilt. For this reason, pocket doors are typically only installed in new home construction projects.
On the other hand, sliding barn doors install across your doorway and along the adjacent wall. This makes them much easier to install without the need to open the wall or refinish it after installing the track. A sliding track can be installed on any wall, no matter how thin or if it is load-bearing, with the use of a header board.
Pocket doors hardware is usually sold in relatively standard sizes, getting really large doors is very difficult. Viba barn doors are available in sizes up to 96 inches tall and 78 inches wide, making closing off large spaces easy to do.
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Viba has been designing and building custom barn doors since 2013. We are a Canadian owned and operated company committed to sustainability and customer satisfaction.