Sliding Doors: A Return to a Classic Style

In the early 1900’s it was common to see pocket doors installed into many elegant homes.  It was a new and easy way to partition off a space for special event, or merely just for privacy. These doors were typically bi-parting doors that would recess back into pockets built into the walls.

The use of pocket doors has continued to the present day in situations where the swing of the door poses a problem in tight spaces. In many new homes, fairly inexpensive pocket door hardware is used, and reliability can pose a problem down the road.  When the hardware fails, it’s almost impossible to repair without tearing the wall apart.

As a solution, contractors began surface mounting the hardware. As this references back to the large doors that slid open on rails in large barns, the term ‘barn door’ hardware was applied to this style.  To further embrace the throwback to the rustic look of old barn door track hardware, designers and manufacturers began developing the hardware to mimic an actual barn door. Not only does surface mounting the hardware prevent costly repairs down the road, but now the hardware is used to make a bold design statement.

New styles are being developed rapidly as demand rises. The term ‘Barn Door Hardware’ typically refers to an exposed track and trolley system, with straps mounting to the front of the door (although some are top mounted) and indicates the use for the hardware as an aesthetic, rather than just functional element. The most basic styles are a steel trolleys on a flat bar steel track. Many colors are available, including stainless steel. Some  trolleys have nylon inserts in the wheel to provide smooth rolling and quiet operation.

An inexpensive way to surface-mount a door if you want the function of surface mounted doors (but not necessarily the look of the track and trolley) is to use a box track and soffit.  With box tracks, the carriers ride inside the track so you don’t see them. A wood soffit can be built around the box track to hide it and the look is very clean.

Sliding door hardware is now being used in increasingly more diverse applications.  Beyond standard door openings, many homeowners and contractors are integrating barn doors into laundry rooms to hide the washer and dryer, entertainment centers to hide the television, and partitioning areas in loft apartment settings.  They set a stylish tone for your space and are a durable option as a utility door.

Interested in exploring different styles of barn doors and interior applications?  Contact us or schedule a visit in our showroom.

Photo: Frank Paul Perez via




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