How Much Clearance Does A Door Need To Open

Chapter 4 Entrances, Doors, and Gates
Chapter 4 Entrances, Doors, and Gates from

How Much Clearance Does a Door Need to Open


When it comes to installing a door, one crucial factor to consider is the amount of clearance required for it to open smoothly. Whether you are renovating your home or constructing a new building, understanding the necessary clearance for doors is essential. In this article, we will explore the recommended clearance measurements for doors in various scenarios.

Standard Door Clearance

Generally, a standard interior door requires a minimum clearance of 2 inches (5 cm) on each side to open and close comfortably. This measurement ensures that the door does not scrape against the door frame or any adjacent walls while swinging open or shut. However, it’s important to note that different door types, such as sliding doors or pocket doors, may have specific clearance requirements that differ from the standard.

Clearance for Sliding Doors

Sliding doors operate differently from traditional hinged doors. They require enough space for the door panels to slide horizontally along the track. The recommended clearance for sliding doors is typically 2-1/2 inches (6.35 cm) on each side. This allowance ensures that the door panels can glide smoothly without any obstructions.

Clearance for Pocket Doors

Pocket doors are another popular alternative to traditional swing doors. They slide into a recessed compartment within the wall, saving valuable floor space. For pocket doors, it is crucial to have enough clearance within the wall to accommodate the door panel when fully open. The recommended clearance for pocket doors is around 3 inches (7.62 cm) on each side.

Clearance for Exterior Doors

Exterior doors require slightly more clearance compared to interior doors. This additional space is needed to ensure proper insulation, weatherproofing, and for the door to swing freely without any obstructions. The recommended clearance for exterior doors is around 3 inches (7.62 cm) on each side. Additionally, it is important to consider the clearance needed above the door for the door frame and any potential transom windows.

Clearance for Wheelchair Accessibility

When it comes to wheelchair accessibility, it is crucial to provide wider door clearance to accommodate the passage of wheelchairs comfortably. The recommended clearance for wheelchair-accessible doors is around 3-1/2 to 4 inches (8.89 to 10.16 cm) on each side. This extra space allows wheelchair users to enter and exit through the door without any difficulties.


Having the correct clearance for doors is essential for smooth operation and functionality. Whether you are installing interior or exterior doors, or considering alternative door types such as sliding or pocket doors, it is important to follow the recommended clearance measurements. Additionally, for wheelchair accessibility, providing wider door clearance ensures everyone can move through doorways with ease. By considering these clearance requirements, you can ensure that your doors function properly and provide optimal convenience for all users.