Install Sliding Doors to Save Space

Written by Angie's List Staff
Updated December 15, 2011
Pella sliding patio door
Sliding glass doors are typically used for a patio or sunroom, but consider other sliding door uses to save space and money inside your home. (Photo courtesy of Pella® Windows and Doors)

While popular for patios, sliding doors can provide space-saving solutions throughout the house.

Sliding doors are exactly what the name implies — doors that open horizontally by sliding on a track under the door or are suspended from a track in the frame above the door.

In the home, the most common purpose of a sliding door is to accommodate a large opening from the inside of the home to the outside, such as a patio or porch. Sliding doors are also used in areas where a regular hinge door would be impractical or unattractive. Other purposes for sliding doors are to close off small rooms, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, closets or to create two smaller rooms from one large room.

Bob Blanton of All Seasons Windows and Door Co. Inc. in Charlotte, North Carolina, says most of the sliding doors his company installs are on the rear side of the house.

"Most common areas are doors that lead to a patio or a sunroom that has been added to a home," the Charlotte door installation expert says. "A sliding glass door does not take up any room when it opens, unlike a hinged patio door that swings into a space that may interfere with existing furniture."

Mohsen Salama of highly rated Clear Choice Windows and Doors Inc. in Tigard, Oregon, agrees. His homeowners want sliding doors in the kitchen leading to the deck or in the downstairs or basement area leading to the exterior.

"It seems like people have a tendency to feel like a door that can just pull is going to be a much easier door to operate that swings out or in," says the Portland door installation professional.

Salama says sliding patio doors are “more economical, they're more functional and they're more energy efficient.”

Three basic types of sliding doors homeowners can choose to install include:

• Arcadia doors: These are often seen in patio doors and consist of two or more panels. One panel is stationary while the other panel (or panels) slides on a track in front of the stationary panel.

• Bypass doors: Commonly used for closets or room dividers, these doors slide — or bypass — each other in either direction of the track.

• Pocket doors: Sliding the length of the door along a track into a “pocket” or compartment in the wall, pocket doors are often used for rooms where a standard hinged door is impractical, such as in a small bathroom or utility room.

Materials used to make sliding doors vary according to the application. Standard arcadia-style patio doors, which are often exposed to the elements, are made with thick glass panes (sometimes double panes) set into wood, metal or vinyl.

For interior sliding doors, materials such as translucent paper, acrylic glass, mirrored glass or other materials are inserted into wood, metal or plastic frames. Interior pocket doors and bypass-type closet doors generally are suspended from a track at the top of the door, so they are often made from lightweight woods and other materials.

No matter what type of door you're looking for, Angie's List can help you find a door installation expert in your area. Members have exclusive access to company ratings and reviews of recent service.

Angie's List helped Stephen Howell connect with Precision Door Service, a highly rated Cincinnati door installation company he's trusted since 2006.

"They have always treated me fairly and the service is outstanding," Howell says.

"I also like the fact that they give you different options on repair or replacing. It's nice to deal with a company that isn't trying to upsell you on everything."