ADA Requirements for Doors in the United States

The ADA requirements for sliding doors can often be a grey area for us within the building envelope. Whether you are specifying, supplying, or installing openings for public or commercial use it is important to be aware of the requirements of these openings, to ensure they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sliding openings have become increasingly popular in ADA settings because they are comparatively much easier to maneuver through than swinging openings and do not require extra space for the door to open.

ADA Opening Requirements

Clear Width of Doorways ADA Standards for Accessible Design

What is one of the main requirements for an ADA Opening?

One of the requirements for ADA openings is to maintain a minimum of a 32” clear walkthrough. This ensures that a wheelchair can pass through the opening. In addition, the hardware on the door must be operable with no tight pinching or twisting of the wrist. For this reason, ADA hardware is designed with pulls or levers that protrude from the door to ensure accessibility.

How do you set up a pocket door opening to meet ADA requirements?

In a pocket door setting, the door must extend into the opening. A general rule of thumb used by inspectors is that the door’s pull must have a 1 ½” space on both sides of the door in both the open and closed positions.  To maintain these standards, the pocket frames should be designed to allow a minimum 4” protrusion into the doorway.

Utilizing The CS Cavity Slider Pocket Frame in an ADA Opening

For project work, the CS Team provides shop drawings to ensure the frames supplied meet the requirements of the openings. We consider critical net door dimensions, finished floor to underside of head, jamb thickness, protrusion, flooring thickness…etc. to ensure our frames are manufactured perfect to their specification. These adjustments can also be made in the field on standard-sized units based on a formula provided in the instructions and also below.


In the field, the horizontal members of the pocket frame can be cut based on the formulas provided in the kit sets' instructions (shown above). The installer can use these calculations to make the pocket basket depth shorter to ensure that the door extends the 4” minimum outside the frame and comply with ADA standards.

What are the ADA requirements for door handles?

According to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, the operable parts of the door handle must be 34 inches (865 mm) minimum and 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground. When a sliding door is fully opened, the door handle hardware must be exposed and usable from both sides of the entryway.

Cavilock Magnetic ADA Hardware

An easy way to meet the hardware accessibility requirement, Cavity Sliders offers ADA Hardware using the same patented magnetic mechanism of the award-winning CL400 Magnetic Handle.


The CL400 ADA Magnetic includes additional functionality within the handle as it is easy to grasp and can be used with a closed fist or flat palm. The opening force required to operate the unit is 2.5lbf, which is under the 5lbf threshold for ADA compliance.

Learn more about the CL400 Magnetic 
Learn more about the CS Cavity Slider Pocket Frame

Have questions about using our hardware in an upcoming project?
Contact us at or call us at (888) 466 0030.






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