I'm building a custom wardrobe which has two elements, each should have a sliding door. The dimensions of each door will be about 1700x800. There will be a wooden frame of 60x60 slats where I'd like to attach the doors:

door frame

How could I attach sliding doors which lock airtight when closed? They don't need to be perfectly airtight, but there should be nearly no gaps between the doors and the frame.

Is there a readymade system that I can just attach (I didn't find any that look nearly airtight) or do I have to build one myself and if so, what is the best way to do it? Or is it just not possible with sliding doors?

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to Woodworking. Old-school sliding doors that ride in a channel cut into the wooden frame are possibly as close as you're going to get in a DIY solution. Generally this design is employed for much smaller doors however so the friction between door and grooves, mostly the bottom groove for obvious reasons, isn't too large (and even so they can still stick). For doors of this size I don't think you can be sure how they'll run until you build this at full size, unless you can figure out a way to prototype it with just a bottom frame element + some weights. – Graphus Feb 9 at 17:45
  • There is a very, very difficult design, where the tracks have a sort of J curve at their ends, which forces the doors together at the end of the run, possibly to engage some sort of weather stripping (perhaps soft piping, or even bent copper strips if that is more appropriate for the application). – jdv Feb 13 at 16:01

Generally speaking, the exterior doors to your house are (or, at least, can be made) reasonably air tight. You'll want to use similar type seals for your door.

I'm thinking a product similar to this self adhesive gasket: enter image description here
Image of M-D 20-ft x 1/2-in Black Door Seal Silicone Door Weatherstrip supplied by Lowes.com. No endorsement of product or vendor intended or implied. Shown as an example only.

If your door runs inside a channel, put this gasket on both sides of the channel, all the way around the door. If it runs across the surface, put it on the frame and let the door slide across it, compressing slightly as it does, for a good seal.

As noted by Graphus in his comment on your question, getting the door to slide nicely against the seals could be difficult. Also, they're really not designed for sliding, but for compression only, so the seals may wear out far more quickly than they would on a front door.

For added ease of sliding the door and longevity of the seals, you might try designing a "plug" door like you would see on a workman's van. This would slide a centimeter or so from the wall, then push in toward the wall as it closed the last cm or so, compressing against the gasket, making a seal. Making this kind of sealing mechanism would take a bit of engineering on your part and some precision routing of channels at the top and bottom for it to run in so that it can execute the "plug" motion smoothly at the top & bottom, left & right sides, at exactly the same time and by the same depth so that it provides a good seal.

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