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Sliding Pocket Door vs. Barn Door: Pros and Cons You Need to Know

pocket door vs barn door

Sliding doors can bring a modern flair to any property. But there are so many models on the market, which one should you, choose? For making things easier for you, we came up with this nifty guide comparing the most popular sliding door types out there: the pocket and barn model.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know before making your purchase. From price comparison to visual characteristics – all of your questions answered in one place.

Ready? Let the pocket door vs. barn door comparison begin,

Pocket door vs. Barn door: which one looks better?

Pocket doors can bring a modern feel to any room because of their mechanics – basically, when open, they slide into the actual wall. With that being said, most models are plain in style, but interior decor faux can happen.

Why get a beautiful door when you are going to hide it?

Still, there are quite a significant number of options available on the market – traditional, contemporary, and modern, etc. You are not limited in terms of materials, too. You can get a door made from wood, aluminum, and even from the glass.

Check what The Best Pocket Door Hardware Kit Reviews 2019 with Buying Guide is.

Barn doors aren’t as versatile as the pocket option. This sort of door is made from wood and has a pronounced rustic aesthetic. It goes well with rooms decorated in a country, rustic modern, cottage, and farmhouse style. If you are looking to install a barn door in a space that is more on the contemporary side, let’s say that the results wouldn’t be very eye-pleasing.

Check Best Barn Door Hardware Kit Reviews 2019 with Buying Guide.

Which one is more practical?

Both door options are designed in a way to save you as much space as possible. The solutions are perfect for small rooms like closets and bathrooms because the doors don’t swing out when opened.

According to Fantastic Handyman, the Australian home improvement & maintenance company, there is a slight difference that makes one door model better than the other – pocket doors slide directly into the wall, disappearing completely, while the barn doors move on a track which is located outside the wall.

Unlike pocket models, barn doors can block access to light switches and outlets. Same goes for artworks and shelves. This means that if you want this type of model, you need to install it on a bare wall.

Which door option is more comfortable to install?

Overall, pocket doors are more difficult to install, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong during the process.

Like we said earlier in the article, when opened, pocket doors are pushed in the actual wall. This means that the first thing that needs to be done before placing the door is to open up the wall. Some walls are too thin to hide the track, and if you do want a pocket door model, you need to demolish the whole thing and rebuild a thicker wall.

Compared to the pocket model, barn doors are a dream to install. You can place the track on any wall you want, as long as it’s obvious. However, this means that the door and its track are always visible. Also, barn doors are a bit more challenging to handle than pocket ones.

Related Reading: How to Remove a Pocket Door: Step by Step Guide
Also: How to Drill into Bricks With or Without a Hammer Drill.

Which one is more budget-friendly?

Generally, pocket and barn doors cost roughly the same – about $300 for a 70cm wooden door. What doubles the end price is the installation. You see, a barn door placement will cost you somewhere between $70 and $250, no matter if you are installing it on an already existing wall or оn a new construction.

While on the other hand, a pocket door can make your wallet cry – the price for installing the model on new construction can reach $400 and nearly $2,000 if you want it set up on a new wall.

Which one provides more privacy?

If you are looking for privacy, silence, and light blocking, barn and pocket style doors are not your best options. While most models are designed to slide smoothly and fit the doorway, a tight seal is not something you are going to get. Of course, you can always buy a door that has a locking mechanism.

Still, pocket and barn doors have one significant disadvantage – they tend to leave their tracks. If this happens to you, forget about the whole tight seal deal, because you’ll have a gaping door to deal with.

Which one is easier to maintain?

When it comes down to maintenance, both door models require the same type of care – the track must be kept clean, there shouldn’t be any dirt on it or the rollers, regular oiling is also a must, followed by a rehanging if the track has sagged.

However, taking care of a barn door is a lot easier, because the racks and the rollers are visible. When it comes to the pocket door, everything is half hidden inside the wall, making the cleaning process harder and more time-consuming.

Which one is more durable?

Pocket and barn doors move on a track that tends to cause problems. Like with everything, the cheaper the track, the more issues you are going to have with it.

Both pocket and barn doors can start squeaking, become hard to move, come off their tracks, or overall hang out. Still, barn doors come with a smaller number of problems than pocket ones, because of their track is visible and more prominent.

Which one is sound-proof?

If you are looking for a door that has insulation properties, a barn or pocket model isn’t a good option. Both styles aren’t designed to reduce sound in any way. If you attach acoustic paneling to them, you’ll make the doors heavy which will result in them coming off their tracks.

Generally, both of these models open and close smoothly, without making any loud sounds. However, if your barn or pocket door starts making annoying, squeaky noises, then you’ve probably neglected one significant thing – to oil the track regularly.

Related Reading: Home Soundproofing, Decorating and Organizing ideas.

Which one is easier to operate?

Pocket doors and barn style models are perfect if you have a person that requires mobility aids in your home because they are easier to operate.

Also, if you want to make a pocket door even more accessible and safe, get two doors panels installed instead of one. They are a lot lighter, which makes them easier to slide.

Which one will raise the value of my home?

As much as they cost to install and maintain, neither a pocket door nor a barn style one will add value to your home if you want to sell. In some cases it does precisely the opposite – potential buyers, especially first-timers, might lose interest because barn doors have a particular look to them, while pocket doors can become a nightmare in terms of maintenance.

Let’s sum it up…

Pros and cons of pocket doors

    • Can be fully concealed
    • Easy to operate with
    • Doesn’t take up any space
    • Doesn’t need to be installed over your wall
    • A wide variety of style options
    • Compliments most homes

  • A nightmare to install
  • Hard to maintain
  • Can come off its tracks
  • May not shut or seal properly
  • Doesn’t have any insulation properties
  • Won’t raise your house value

Pros and cons of barn doors

    • Can act as a centerpiece to most rooms
    • Doesn’t take much space
    • A dream to install
    • Low-maintenance
    • More budget-friendly

  • Bulky and can become hard to move
  • Covers your wall when opened
  • Not as versatile in style or design
  • Can come off its tracks
  • Doesn’t provide privacy

In Conclusion

As you can see for yourself, both door styles come with many advantages and, of course, disadvantages. Before you purchase either of the two, make sure to take into account every factor we’ve described, because it’s still a serious investment and nobody wants to be sorry at the end. With that being said, we hope our guide on pocket door vs. barn door have made your decision-making easier.