Sliding door design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Why install a sliding door at home?

Sliding doors occupy smaller space than traditional doors. They are also perfect for linking up separate areas that are in constant communication with one another (yet sometimes need to be separated), like the kitchen and social area, bedroom and bathroom, or living room and exterior terrace. Its design, regardless of style, is cute and can fit in with any type of decoration and dimensions.

Sliding doors are usually made out of glass and can be completely transparent, helping to harmonize spaces and integrate environments. However, it can also be made of completely opaque materials, like solid wood or carved timber, aluminium, steel, etc.  

One of the advantages of sliding doors is that they create the illusion of wide, open spaces. They’re also really easy to maintain.

What are the disadvantages of a sliding door?

They’re not recommended in regions with strong winds or rainstorms. Glass doors generally do not provide much security because they can be easily broken or damaged. In order to be made secure, they must be combined with blacksmithing or steel doors. However, if they are made of aluminium or steel, corrosion can damage the rails and make it difficult to slide.

What are the different types of sliding doors?

Pocket doors: they have the same dimensions as a regular door, but instead of turning, they slide from left to right, hiding behind a wall. They are ideal for small spaces. 

Terrace or patio doors: they are usually large, double-leafed designs with each door of equal size. Usually, each door slides to an opposite side when opening, effectively linking up an indoor area with the exteriors.

What are the best materials for a sliding door?

Aluminium and tempered glass tend to be the most common, both in South Africa and abroad (although it differs depending on region, temperature, etc.). These doors are simple, economical, of standard dimensions and they adapt to any style. 

Some other designs to consider are: 

Steel and tempered glass: they look elegant, are sturdy, and can be designed to measure into any space. 

Wood and stained glass: with a mixture of opaque and transparent surfaces, these can be adapted to any style and will always look elegant and sophisticated. 

Aluminium or PVC and acrylic: ideal for showers or to separate the bedroom from the en-suite bathroom, or the kitchen from the dining room or the laundry area. 

Polycarbonate and steel: they are excellent for terraces or any exterior space due to the resistance of polycarbonate.

How do I install sliding doors?

Like traditional doors, it is recommend to make use of a professional when it comes to installing sliding doors, whether inside or outside your home. However, should you be a seasoned DIYer (or are just curious), installing your (wooden) sliding doors will go something like this: 

Step 1. Measure your door frame 

Measure the centre of your door opening, above the doorframe, and place a mark there. Check the instructions for the height needed above the door and the recommended floor clearance. 

Step 2. Check the frame is level 

Use your spirit level to make sure the timber that you’re fixing the track to is nice and level. 

Step 3. Measure the height for the tracks 

Measure and mark up the correct height for the tracks. 

Step 4. Attach the tracks to door frame 

Then pre-drill and screw the tracks into position on either side of the centre point. 

Step 5. Measure and mark the doors 

According to instructions, measure and mark the position of the rollers onto the top of your doors. 

Step 6. Screw on the rollers 

Then pre-drill the marks you’ve made and screw your rollers on. Repeat on both sides of each door.

Step 7. Hang your doors on the tracks 

Loosen off the rollers and then use them to hang your doors on the tracks above the doorframe. 

Step 8. Install the door guides 

Install a door guide at the base of each door by screwing them to the wall. This will hold the doors in place and stop them from wobbling around. Make sure you consider the finished height of your door and any floor coverings. 

Step 9. Adjust the doors 

Use your spanner to make adjustments to the door rollers, ensuring both doors are the same height and perfectly in line. 

Step 10. Install the centre bump stops 

Install the bump stops in the centre and at the end of the tracks to stop the doors rolling too far in either direction. Align them over the pre-drilled holes in the centre of the tracks and screw them on. 

Step 11. Install the end bump stops 

Align the end bump stops over the pre-drilled holes at the end of each track. Then screw them on. These will also secure the end of each track to the wall.