Shoji

construction

How thick, wide, tall are the doors?
“ How much space to I have to give up? ”

Standard construction on our shoji doors is 1” thick, with a 2” wide frame.  Stock Contemporary doors feature a 3" wide frame to showcase more of that beautiful Cherry color and grain.  Quick Fit Shoji are built with a slightly narrower frame at 1-3/8" wide.  Typically we add some visual weight to the bottom of the door by means of a kickpanel on the Traditional Shoji styles and a wider 5" bottom rail on the Contemporary styles.  

Since shoji installations are designed to be a lightweight visual screening solution, the thinner construction at 1" thick means a smaller footprint where multiple doors are stacking together.  For example, a quad track (4 doors stacking together) would only consume a little over 5" of depth at the floor!  The beauty of sliding shoji systems is their functional, stackable configurations which quickly transform from innocent wallflower, stacked compactly to one side, to wall-to-wall chorus line of stunning presentation.

We can customize them to other thicknesses, which is typically an upgrade.  If you're looking for a heavier weight door, please consider our Architectural Doors.

What sizes of doors do you carry?
“ Can I get it yesterday? ”

We're pleased to have the capacity to keep several standard shoji door sizes in stock for rapid shipment.  

  • In-Stock Shoji Products are built in solid American Cherry, available in Traditional Japanese or Contemporary styles
    • 30" x 80" (2-6 x 6-8)
    • 36" x 80" (3-0 x 6-8)
    • 30" x 96" (2-6 x 8-0)
    • 36" x 96" (3-0 x 8-0)
  • Quick Fit Shoji Products are single-sided screens, built to order from solid White Ash, with your choice of standard grid patterns
    • Available in screen width up to 38" and screen height up to 88"
  • Custom Shoji Products can be built to just about any size, in your choice of woods
    • Design a Custom Shoji solution here

Japanese doors, shoji screens, shoji doors, sliding doors... what's the difference?
“ I'm out of my element here. ”

Honestly, we use a lot of these terms interchangeably.

When we refer to doors, we're usually talking about shoji that are standard door heights or taller, whereas screens are typically for window treatments or cabinets or such.  Shoji can be used in such a variety of applications, but the differences in construction are subtle and not worth splitting hairs over.  You can call them what you like, and we'll get on the same page.

It's pronounced “show”—“jee”.

materials

How durable are the facing materials (papers, acrylics)?
“ Will my kid/dog/cat/drunk uncle poke a hole in it? ”

Our shoji are designed for your life.  We've carefully selected and developed materials to hold up well against everyday use.  If you have an "Uh-oh" moment, don't fret — you can easily replace the facing.

Crystal White Fiberglass

Crystal White Fiberglass is a pliable, woven fiberglass product which simulates rice paper, but allows more light through.  It is mold and mildew resistant, which makes it an excellent choice for humid climates, especially near the ocean.  It offers a nice combination of durability, texture and translucency.

Paper Laminate Facings
Durability with
Natural Paper Surface

Paper Laminate Facings

Paper Laminates are appropriate for most situations and environments throughout the home.  Unlike traditional shoji papers which are delicate and prone to tearing, our paper laminates are bonded to both sides of a heavy vinyl core, which significantly increases their rigidity, durability and puncture resistance.  Similar to the weight and feel of lamp shade material, these facings can take some abuse.  While they are a true paper surface, they can be easily dusted with a vacuum's brush attachment or microfiber duster.  

 
Encapsulated Acrylic Facings
Natural Look with
Wipeable Surface

Washable Encapsulated Acrylic Facings

When you need the peace of mind of being able to clean the facing more thoroughly, we recommend upgrading to one of our washable acrylic facings.  These options are well suited to handle sticky fingers, the occasional drips or splashes from the bathroom or kitchen, or in commercial environments where durability and surface cleanliness is key.  Available in several thicknesses, shades and patterns, you're sure to find the right combination of durability and style.

 

Glass

In general, we don't make a lot of shoji with glass, but sometimes it is the right option for a more minimalist look and extra strength.  Our standard shoji construction can accommodate 1/8" glass, which is available in clear or satin etched (frosted) on one side.  Thicker glass or special patterns can be special ordered if your project requires it, though for these configurations, we would suggest moving into an architectural passage door style product.  Glass is always tempered for strength and safety.

Is the facing see-through?
“ I'm modest [or] I don't want to see the piles of laundry in my closet ”

No, all of our shoji facing materials are quite private.  Paper Laminates have the opacity of lamp shade material, to be a soft diffuser of light, with low translucency.  Of the Encapsulated Acrylics, some are more translucent than others, but none are see-through beyond about 4” behind, similar to that of frosted glass.

We are happy to send actual samples for you to see and feel.  We can send 4 facings and 2 wood samples at no charge, or you can order a complete set here.

Is it real wood or veneer or something else?
“ Can I get shoji to match my cabinets/dresser/poodle? ”

We are proud to use only premium, select solid hardwoods for our shoji frames and grid.  Where we employ "technology" is in our kickpanel material, which features the highest grade plain-sliced veneers on an engineered core.  The reason for this is dimensional stability and flatness — where a solid wood panel would be prone to warp and shrinkage.

Don't be confused by imitations that label themselves as "cherry finish" or "walnut finish" — these are usually lower grade woods that are stained, or may even be particleboard with printed grain!  Many shoji makers use pine, cedar, basswood or rubberwood frames, which we feel just do not compare to the weight, stability and beauty of true hardwoods.  Softer woods easily dent and can be more susceptible to warpage.

Please review our Materials Page for more information on standard woods and finishes.  We usually hate to hide that luscious grain of these beautiful woods behind anything other that a high-quality catalyzed clear finish, which really showcases the depth and clarity of the natural hardwoods.  However, by popular demand, we do offer a few standard finish upgrades, and... 

Yes! If you want it to match something else in the house, we can work with you to develop a custom finish solution tailored exactly to the look you're after.

How soundproof are the shoji doors?
“ Will I hear husband watching the game in the next room? ”

As a lightweight visual screening solution, shoji systems do not create a tight seal across an opening, so they are not designed to block a lot of sound.  Our experience working with hundreds of projects over the years has taught us that most of the facing materials do a decent job of reflecting higher tones, like normal talking or TV sounds, but there is not enough bulk to absorb lower heavier tones or the louder drones of vacuums, hair dryers, etc.

If soundproofing is a concern, please talk to us about your project, and we can strategize on the right configuration of materials and installation to meet your needs.

installation

Is there a bottom track?
“ Am I going to trip over something on my way to the kitchen? ”

Most shoji systems do not require a bottom track.  All of our pre-built Stock Shoji systems come with top-hung roller aluminum tracking.  The weight of the doors is completely supported by the top track.  In multi-door systems without bottom guides, there can be some sway to the bottom of the doors.  Most people don't mind this, and prefer that to having a track on top of the floor in situations where a bottom track cannot be recessed.  Shoji are lightweight and slide easily on the upper tracking, so having the doors captured in a track at the bottom is mostly personal preference.

Single sliders and pocket doors are guided and stabilized at the bottom by means of a single guide, placed at the edge of the opening or pocket.  This keeps the door from swaying or scratching against the baseboard or interior of the pocket.

Double door bypassing systems and 4 door systems on double tracks can be stabilized with a double bypass guide attached to the floor where the doors overlap each other.

For systems of 3 or more doors where the doors are all stacking to one side, we can do a matching hardwood bottom track which can be set on top of the finished floor, or recessed into the floor.  The "set-above" tracking (on top of the floor) is 1/2" thick, with beveled edges, similar to a raised threshold, so the profile is relatively low.  For a recessed track, we can match your flooring thickness, typically 3/4”.  Our  bottom track has narrow 1/8” wide grooves which register guide fins placed on the bottoms of the doors.  If you're installing shoji over hardwood flooring, you might consider carving these grooves in the flooring itself, which can be done with a sharp circular saw blade (and a steady hand :).  

For more traditional looking installations, or where the header cannot support the weight of the doors, we can fabricate wide groove hardwood tracking.  In this configuration, the doors slide in shallow channels in the lower track, and the upper hardwood track is used as a guide.  Wide Groove Tracking typically requires tighter tolerances where the upper and lower track mounting surfaces must be level and parallel.  This is the authentic Japanese look for sliding shoji, yet it does require more maintenance of keeping the tracks free of dirt and debris, and occasionally waxing the lower tracks for ease of movement.

 

Can I slide/stack the doors all to one side or beyond the opening?
“ Can I get these out of the way when I need to? ”

Yes! Most shoji systems are designed to be stacked together.  

To stack all the doors to one side, each door will be on its own track, i.e. 4 doors will be on a Quad (4) track system.  

To stack the doors beyond the opening, you will need to use Outside Mount tracking, which mounts on the wall above the opening, or if you're mounting to the ceiling, the tracking would need to be in front of the opening.  To accomplish this, we can provide a track extension package, priced at $26 per lineal foot.  For multi-door systems that stack beyond the opening, we recommend using a floor track, which will keep the doors in line and prevent scratching the baseboard or wall.

 

Can I get the tracking ahead of time?
“ My contractor is billing me by the hour here! ”

We're no strangers to projects on tight schedules, and projects that need to be done now.  

Sometimes the lead times for our fine products can be a few weeks out or more, so we're happy to help expedite the installation process by sending everything but the doors ahead of time.  This allows your installer to finish the job on schedule, and when the doors arrive, it is a simple matter of hanging them from the already installed tracking.

Just confirm with us what your plan is, and we can usually ship tracking within 1-2 days via UPS or FedEx. 

Can I install it myself?
“ I'm not sure what a phillips bit/miter cut/koshita is. ”

You probably know the answer to this.

While installation is fairly straightforward, there is some cutting to do on-site of the tracks, mounting boards and valance material.  We strongly recommend using a competent, licensed professional to achieve a high quality built-in look.  

For your reference, all of our installation instructions and guides can be found here.

BTW, "koshita" is the Japanese term for the kickpanel at the bottom of the screens, tateguya.[1]

ordering

Can I get a price list on your products?
“ Okay, so how much? ”

All of our products are Made in the U.S. by skilled craftsmen, and we use premium materials so that our shoji last a lifetime.  There is simply no comparison to cheaply made import options.

Our Quick Fit Shoji Systems are our most economical option.  These products are single sided, and best suited for closets, window treatments or where seeing the "back side" of the shoji is not that important.  Pricing starts at around $310 per screen for 2 screens over a 4 foot closet opening.  You can get live pricing on Quick Fit projects through our Quick Fit planning tool here.  

In-Stock Shoji Systems offer the same high-quality construction as Custom Built Shoji, but are produced in larger quantities so that we can pass along our efficiency to you in price savings.  Pricing starts at $523 per door for the 30" x 80" size.  All of our In-Stock products are available to browse in our web store.

Custom Shoji are priced per project, and we are happy to work up a quote for you with a few specifications.  Pricing starts at around $775 per door for a 4 door room divider spanning 8 feet wide and 7 feet high.  Please use our Design Tool to plan your project and request a quote.  We can usually respond with a quote within 24 hrs.

We do have a few products available that are Factory Seconds.  Generally these are good for single screen or fixed applications due to some slight warp or twist which prevents them from working well in bypassing/stacking configurations.  Factory Seconds are sold as-is and are not warrantied, and exclusive of facing (unless specified), tracking, freight charges.  The list of Factory Seconds is available here.

How long does my order take?
“ When can I get my hands on these beauties? ”

Stock shoji packages are usually ready to ship within 1-2 weeks, depending on the options chosen.

Quick Fit Shoji products can typically be built within 2-3 weeks.

Custom orders can take from 3-6 weeks from the time we receive a signed contract on specifications. We try to accommodate tighter timeframes whenever possible.

Freight shipping takes 2-5 business days. West coast is usually 2 days, East coast is 4-5 days.