Dorsis Belport glass panel pocket door in a modern home entryway.

What is a full-height door and when to use it

November 13, 2022

An architect or interior designer will tell you that a full-height door is a door that goes from floor to ceiling. However, a full-height door has several representations, each great for a different purpose.

What to consider when choosing a full-height door? First, you should think about the space as a whole, not a collection of rooms.

Here is a simple example to get you started: a hallway from your living room leads to the quiet area of your house or penthouse but you mostly leave the hallway door open. A floor-to-ceiling door will help create a perception of a larger grander space because of the uninterrupted ceiling plane. Any head jamb will close off the room.

Think about the rooms or areas of the house and the floor and how they relate to one another. 

Let's review six basic options with full height doors:

  1. Full-height door with head jamb casing
  2. True trimless full-height door
  3. True trimless full-height door with transom
  4. Full height pocket door
  5. Floor-to-ceiling door panel in a recessed track
  6. Full-height pivot door

1. Full-height door with head jamb casing

A full-height door with the head trim touching the ceiling is a good choice for situations where you want to have traditional door casing wrapping the door panel. It is also a relatively easy path to an "almost full height" appearance. When the door is open, you will see a head jamb that divides the two areas. This could be perfectly fine when your ceiling is quite tall and your eyes are not drawn to the projecting header jamb.

This style is also a relatively easy project for builders as it uses conventional doors and conventional installation steps.

2. True trimless full-height door 

A true full-height door is a door without any head jamb. The ceiling flows seamlessly from one room to another when door is open. When the door is closed, you will see a small shadow gap at the top and bottom of the door.

The additional benefit of a trimless door such as Dorsis Fortius is the absence of casing for side jambs. All you can see is just the very essence of the door, a simple panel, sitting flush with the wall.

3. True trimless full-height door with transom

A door transom opens a completely new world of options. First, you can use a transom as a transition between two different ceiling elevations and maintain a perception of a full-height door on both sides. Second, a transom allows you to install full height doors in rooms and corridors with sloping ceilings, and all that with the help of a trapezoid transom panel.

A modern living room with four trimless Dorsis Fortius doors - full-height, full-height with transom, standard 8' door, standard 8' door with transom panel.
Four options for trimless Dorsis Fortius doors - full-height, full-height with a transom, standard 8' door, and standard 8' door with a transom panel. If your interior design uses floor-to-ceiling elements, such as the fireplace and bookshelf in this modern living room, you might prefer to use full-height doors, with or without a solid door transom.

4. Full-height pocket door

A full-height pocket door has the door panel just shy of the height of the room and the pocket door track is fully embedded in the ceiling assembly. Because of this detail, you will need to plan for this door before any construction begins — but it can be done in new construction or a remodel.

The Dorsis Belport pocket door lets you go full height but you'll need 3" of clearance from the overhead structure (i.e. joist or beam).

Arctic blue tinted glass double pocket door in a full-height variant. Installed in an entryway of a luxury residence.
Arctic blue tinted glass double pocket door in a full-height variant. This entryway features two products from Angelbau: Dorsis Belport trimless pocket door and Dorsis Fortius frameless door which received a custom back-painted glass panel.

5. Floor-to-ceiling door panel in a recessed track

This is essentially a modern full-height barn door with a fully recessed track. Your panel is a movable wall is another way to think about it.

The panel can be quite wide, some of the modern barn door-style panels we've designed and manufactured were between 4' and 5' wide. The full height door panel is a super elegant way to create dynamic, configurable spaces in your home.

The recessed track will hold the full weight of the panel so in your design you will need to account for robust backing.

6. Full-height pivot door

A full-height pivot door is a beautiful expression of modern design. Fundamentally trimless, the door rotates on a vertical axis, a spindle (sometimes called a pivot box).

An interior pivot door that goes floor-to-ceiling creates a stunning effect in your home, largely thanks to its pivot movement which operates differently compared to a regular hinged door. Some of the large Dorsis Axon pivot doors that we designed and installed were 7'-4" wide and 9'-10" tall. A full-height pivot door will have two pivot points - top pivot and bottom pivot (integrated into the top of the door and bottom of the door) plus a ceiling plate and floor plate.

See our Axon collection — Angelbau manufactures wood pivot doors or very popular black frame glass pivot doors.

Where to source full-height doors

The 21st century made full-height doors the preferred choice for interior doors in modern high-end North American architecture. You will find many options for these tall interior doors with some manufacturers being more flexible and other manufacturers being less flexible.

If you would like us to help you navigate the options, just give us a call.