How to Install a Sliding Barn Door

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Step 1: Apply sealer and primer

Doors need to be sealed on all edges and both faces to ensure that no moisture can infiltrate the door — ensure that no bare timber is exposed. You can buy timber sealer and primer from any good paint store. If you’re staining the timber (rather than painting it) you will need to apply a tinted stain first and then a top coat of an approved varnish to ensure moisture can’t affect it.

How to Install Double Barn Doors

Installing double barn doors works much the same as a single, you just have a longer rail. You will need to measure the rail to get the length for your header. This time instead of lining it up against the trim, it will need to be centered so it hangs over evenly on both sides of the opening.

As mentioned above, you will locate the studs to screw the header into directly on top of the trim (you can adjust this if your doors are taller). Attach the rail to the header following the directions for your hardware. Refer to previous steps for installing the doors.

Fasten the Rails

  • Mark the height of the rails on the door and attach them with construction adhesive and nails.
  • Since the fasteners show, we decided to use 1-1/2-in. wrought-head nails. Because the nails protruded slightly from the opposite side, we shortened them a bit by holding them with locking pliers and grinding off the tips on a bench grinder.
    • Pro tip: You could also mount a metal grinding wheel in your angle grinder.
  • Drill pilot holes for the nails that are near the ends of the rails to avoid splitting the wood. If you don’t mind the appearance of screw heads on the opposite side of the door, you could flip the door over and drive 1-1/4-in. screws through the boards into the rails for a little more strength.
    • Pro tip: If you prefer, you could brush on a coat of flat polyurethane. Test the finish on a scrap to see if you like it before you apply it to your door. We didn’t put a finish on our door.

The Final Details

Hang the door. Aided by a helper, put the heavy door on the track. Unlike swinging doors, which are partially supported by their jambs, barn doors rely solely on their hardware and its connection to the framing. It’s important to correct any weak framing before hanging heavy doors like this one.

Mount the guide. Space the bottom guide from the wall so that it aligns with the track above. One of its two mounting screws is accessible with the door fully open, and the other is accessible when the door is fully closed. This ensures that the door can be removed in the future.

Finish up with casing. Barn-style doors are cased like conventional swinging doors. Secure the inside edge of the casing with 18-ga. brads, then fasten the outside edge with

15-ga. finish nails.

Apply a Base Coat of Stain

  • To achieve the look you see here, start by applying a base coat of light gold stain to the boards. Wipe off excess stain with a rag.
    • Pro tip: We applied the stain with a mini roller to speed up the process.

Step 3: Centre railing and pre-drill holes

Take your sealed and painted DAR block and centre the door railing on top of it. We did this outside where it was easier to place the two parts together on a table. Once the door railing is centered over the DAR block, predrill holes into the DAR block using the existing holes in the railing as your guide. This makes it easier to install the DAR block and railing above the door later.

Included hardware
Included hardware

Codes and Permits

Interior door installation generally does not trigger the need for a building permit. But to be on the safe side, check with your local permitting department. One of the values of a pair of barn doors is the extra width. So if you need to widen an existing doorway or create a new doorway, you may need to apply for a building permit since this may compromise the wall’s structural integrity.

When to Call a Professional

If you need to widen the doorway or create a new doorway in a load-bearing wall, you may wish to hire a contractor to perform the work since additional support must be added. Pulling back and opening walls may also require moving electrical outlets and light switches; you may want to hire an electrician for this work.

Instructions

  1. First, be sure you have enough room for barn doors! You’ll need at least as much space on the outside of the door as on the inside, to allow room for the door to slide out of the way. For double barn doors, you’ll install two full sets of hardware, centered in the middle of the door opening.
  2. Once you’ve bought the correct size door and hardware, open the package and make sure you have all the right pieces. Gather your tools so you’re not climbing off your ladder to find a screwdriver in the garage.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the instructions. Keep in mind that one of the doors will be hung as a mirror image of the other, so keep this in mind while reading instructions.
  4. Take your time making measurements and markings!
  5. Your laser level is your best friend! The key to barn doors that operate well is getting them exactly level. Hang your laser level on the opposite end of the wall from where you’ll be working, so your hands don’t get in the way of the beam.
  6. Get a buddy to help you with the actual installation. There are some parts that seem to require more than two hands.
  7. You can modify a door stop (included) to cover the gap between rails, if you prefer a seamless look. Or you can get a track joiner if you want the doors to be able to slide to either side.
  8. Install the soft close mechanisms before hanging the door slabs. (This step may not be included in your hardware instructions if you bought them separately.)
  9. Use the included floor guides to keep your doors from banging against the wall or door frames!

Barn Door Wall Decor Ideas

We wanted to install a barn door to replace the door leading into our bathroom. Our room has a cottage farmhouse vintage feel so I didn’t want a new door and I wanted it to serve as a focal point and feel more like wall decor.

I turned to Facebook Marketplace and found an antique door for $35. One side had already been stripped but the other side was chippy white paint. Both sides were really cool and perfect for what we were going for!

The guy told me it was 3 feet by 7 feet but he was off on his measurements. When we got the door home it was too short so we had to add a section on to make it long enough.

At first, I was bummed because I thought I would have to paint both sides since the added piece didn’t match the door. But then I decided to just paint a strip of white on the top where the new piece was and see how it looked.

We ended up loving the look! Dipped furniture is really popular right now and so I took that idea and applied it to the door and it worked well! Now it was ready to hang!

What you need

Tools
Materials

Install The Track With A Ledger

Locate the track. Once the jambs are installed plumb and level, use scrap stock for guidance to mark the locations of the head and side casings. In this case, the track must be at least 1⁄4 in. above the top of the head casing.

Mark the holes. A scrap-plywood ledger holds the track while the screw holes are transferred to the wall. The ledger is the width of the head casing plus 1⁄4 in. The end is positioned so that it’s 1⁄2 in. beyond the outside edge of the side casing, which accounts for the wheel stop.

Fasten the track. After drilling the holes with a twist bit, fasten the track to the wall with the supplied hardware. Starting at the center, work toward the ends, where the L-shaped wheel stops are located.

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