Chinese screens are opaque doors that slide on upper, lower, or a combination track that allows the doors to open up an entire room, or close it off completely. This can be a very useful design feature in a small home, in order to increase the usable space during family gatherings. This can also be used for affect and to create privacy at certain times of the day, or open up the area during another time.
Chinese Screen Construction
The construction of Chinese screens is very simple. The frame are made of wood, traditionally bamboo, but can be made of any wood you would like. The interior of the frame has a lip on it that allows the screen to be attached with small nails or staples. A trim piece covers the staples. The screen itself is more of a fabric than a screen and allows light to pass through the screens while at the same time allowing privacy.
Depending on the size of the room, the track can be quite substantial. If the Chinese screens open all the way back to the wall, each door will have to slide to the wall, meaning that each door needs its own track. This is not a popular design. Instead, a portion of the doors are fixed, while the middle two doors slide from side to side. A single door can also be installed.
This method is very similar to a pocket door in that the door hangs from a track that is mechanically mounted to the ceiling and the door slides along the track on ball bearings or a series of wheels.
Bottom tracks have a groove in the floor that inset wheels on the bottom of the screen fit into.
Combination tracks incorporate a bottom and top track that incorporate a track where the wheels are mounted to the top and bottom of the door. Original Chinese screens slid directly on the wood and was lubricated with oils to allow the doors to open and close easier.
Chinese screens are a cool design element that can be incorporated into many spaces. The use of this method is especially great for outdoor rooms. The best part of these screens, is you can build them yourself ans customize the look you are looking for.