Installing a Sliding Barn Door…How Easy is it?
I’m kind of obsessed with barn doors. Actually…I want my own barn. ☺ That’s going to have to wait though, since I’m a farmhouse girl living in the city, so I make due with cute barn doors scattered throughout my house. I’ve wanted to make a sliding barn door FOREVER. When we did the “great room switch” a couple of months ago, my girls moved to into what had been the office. The doors were glass french doors, so they needed to be switched out, and a sliding barn door was exactly what was needed.
Sliding barn doors have been around for quite awhile, and I’ve seen many different versions and tutorials. There are just SO many to choose from, and honestly, it starting to feel a little overwhelming! And this is coming from a girl that’s used to building and installing and DIY projects! I finally just decided to go for it and do my own thing, and it worked out just right! We built a barn door, and I finished it with stain. (Minwax Dark Walnut) I love the painted doors too, but with the style of our home, it just didn’t match. We bought inexpensive barn door hardware that was a silver color, and I spray painted it a hammered black. I LOVE how it turned out. It’s perfect in the entryway, and completely changes the way the space looks. I love that it’s what people first see when they come into our house, and provides the perfect amount of privacy for the girls.
If you’ve been debating whether or not you want to tackle this project, or wondering just how difficult it is, I’m going to give you my opinions based on our experience. I’m also going to share a few tips, some choices you have, and some places to look for hardware, doors, and tutorials if you want them.
So…how hard was it? Building a barn door isn’t hard, in fact, it’s one of the easier wood projects because it’s so straight forward. If you feel comfortable tackling it, and have the tools (or access to them) to do it, I definitely say go for it!! The nice thing about building, is that you can do whatever you want. There are SO many options and possibilities, and you’re not limited to what you can find. If not, you can always search for an old door(s) to use instead. A vintage door has its own charm, and certainly lends to specific style.
The hardware? Not bad at all! At least not the kind we used. (There are lots of different options.) I was expecting it to be a lot harder than it actually ended up being, which was a good surprise. It took us only about two hours to install–maybe an hour and a half–but it DEFINITELY takes two people. This is not a job you can do alone! We had everything ready to go and then the installation went pretty smoothly.
Overall, I really recommend this project. I can’t believe what a difference it made–I haven’t been able to stop staring at it yet. ☺If was going to rate it on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being easy and 5 being very difficult, I would rank it a 2. The one we made was a weekend project, so it really doesn’t have to be time intensive either.
How much did it cost? We spent $75 to build the door, and the hardware was around $130. This isn’t a “cheap” project, but considering the absolute transformation that can take place by adding one, it’s a $200 bargain in my opinion! Keep in mind that this amount can really vary depending on the hardware you choose, and the type of door you get, but this will give you a basic idea of a more inexpensive version, of cost is an issue, and you’re on a budget.
Where would I put one? Do you have a pocket door in your house that you don’t love? What about double french or glass doors you’d love to replace? I love it as an opening to a laundry room, or in a bedroom going to the bathroom or closet. Closing off an office space, craft room, or any other room off of a foyer or entryway is a great place for one, because it’s visible right from your door.
Where to Start
1. Gathering Information
Measure your space–know how wide and how tall it is. Know how wide your door needs to be, plus the amount of space it needs to slide open. Look for studs above the door opening, because barn doors and hardware are HEAVY. As in pull off your drywall and destroy your wall…so you REALLY have to know what’s under there! We didn’t have sufficient studs for our door, so we ended up hanging a 2×4 (painted to match our wall color) above the top trim and then screwed the hardware into that instead. It was an easy fix!
2. Decide what type of door you want, and how you’re going to get it.
Are you going to make a barn door? Find or use an old door?
3. What kind of finish do you want?
Do you plan to stain it? Paint it? What color?
4. Buy your hardware
Hardware can be VERY expensive. You may decide to invest in it, and spend more if you’re looking for something specific, or want a certain look. I didn’t want to spend a lot, so I went with an inexpensive alternative available at Tractor Supply. We don’t have one near us, so I bought ours on Amazon. (LOVE Amazon Prime!!!) It was silver, which I didn’t match my house, so I just spray painted it a hammered black (Rustoleum). All the links to the hardware we used is in the Resources section below.
1. If you spray paint your hardware, DO NOT paint the trolley hangers. You don’t see them at all (they’re hidden under another piece of hardware) and the paint would most likely affect the way it rolls.
2. I highly suggest using an impact drill to install the screws into the studs or 2×4 piece of wood (like we did). The screws can be really big (to hold that much weight–depending on your door’s size). We bought ours at Home Depot for about $100, but there is a price range depending on the brand. You could possibly do pilot holes instead, but I honestly don’t think it would be good enough. You don’t want to mess around with this part…it is SO heavy.
This is what we used–
1. 8 foot trolley track: It comes in different lengths, but this is the size we needed for our barn door. Buy the length you need!
3. Single Box Barn Door Brackets (4)
Check out these other barn hardware examples.
Take a look at some different types of sliding barn doors.
If you’re on the hunt for old doors (they don’t have to be barn doors), check out your local Habitat Re-store. It’s one of my favorite places to find building materials. Other possible resources are Craiglist and your local classifieds. We have online classifieds in our area, and I’ve found made some awesome things.
Another of my tricks to find old things (doors, windows, etc.) is to find out when heavy trash day is in areas with older buildings and houses that might be replacing them. Then I drive around a day or so before, and check out what’s on the side of the road. Don’t laugh…some of my most favorite finds ever came that way!
Honestly. if you google DIY Sliding Barn Doors, you’ll find a million images and options to sift through, plus there’s Pinterest. So, I looked and found THIS tutorial–it seems to be very similar to what we did, so I thought it might help you visualize it a little better. There are quite a few doors that I love, and depending on the style of my home, I could have easily chosen differently.
I’m happy to answer any questions I can! Leave me a comment, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honestly, I can’t wait to do another sliding barn door. ☺
Kierste Wade is a published author, blogger, and mom to six. With more than 20 years DIY and project experience, she has been sharing ideas on her blog since 2009. Focusing on simple and doable projects, she loves to share attainable ideas for all things home, holidays, and family. Kierste has been featured on Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, American Farmhouse Magazine (print and online) Taste of Home, Country Living, and more.
Super cute Kierste!! Love all your ideas!!! My son thinks he should have one too!
Keep up the great work!!
I love it! My son was a little jealous it was on the girls’ room. :)
I love this door! I have always loved the look of barn doors as well. Now I am wondering if we can do this with our laundry room door..
I would measure it out to see! We are doing the same to our laundry room door (it should have been a pocket door, because the space is so small), and I can’t wait! Let me know if you end up doing it…
What a fantastic project and thanks for sharing the tutorial and tips! I would love it if you linked up to The Makers link party going on right now on my blog, http://upcycledtreasures.com/2014/02/the-makers-link-party-5/
-Katie @ Upcycled Treasures
You are so welcome!! Thanks for dropping by!!! xoxo
We have been wanting to convert our computer room to a bedroom. The door way is quite narrow and we have been considering a barn door. Thanks for posting this and giving us a little knowledge and encouragement.
you are so welcome! we have the same problem with our laundry room door, and we’ll be doing a barn door there too. :) If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!!!
Thanks so much off the great tips! We are putting a barn door in front of our kids playroom. What kind of screws did u use and do u know the cost by chance?
Let me check with my hubby–they were screws we already had, and he grabbed them from our woodshop, so I’m not positive. I will check for you!!!
What a great project! I’ve added a link to one of our pinboards. Check them out at Pinterest.com/Homedepot
Thank you so much! I have to admit, it’s been one of my favorites. :) I’ll definitely go check out the Pinterest board! Have a great day!!!
I love this Kierste! This may be a dumb question but does your door fully cover the opening of the double french door? We are trying to replicate this project and wondering if it would be more beneficial to do two doors or one giant one!
Hi, Amanda! Yes, it’s big enough to cover the door space. We had to do it that way, because if you can tell from the picture, we had a big wall to the right of the opening, and no wall space on the other side, so we had no option but to make one door. Thankfully, we had enough space on the right side of the wall to accommodate it.
I also really like the look of a big door, but sometimes it does work best to do two. I think it depends on how big your space is, and how much wall space you have on either side.
Good luck! If you have any other questions, please ask!!! xoxo
Can you show us what the door looks like from inside the other room? All I ever see is the side with the hardware and I’d love to know how the other side looks!
I would love to show you the other side, and I totally would, but we just moved from that house! We took the door with us, but it’s in storage while we build a new house. It’s basically just the up and down wood slats–like the ones on the front, but minus the X. I’m so sorry, I hope that helps a little!!! xo
I’ve always wanted to see the other side as well. Did you use nuts and bolts or regular wood screws? And your door doesn’t look like panel wood, as in the tutorial. Correct? If so, can you give a little more advice on constructing the door? I would prefer to use 1x4s as I think that would prevent the bowing that was a problem in the tutorial. Thanks for such a helpful post!
We moved out of our house right after I posted this, and we’re in temporary housing while we build a new house. I would love to show you that door, but it’s in storage! Give me another six months, and I’ll get back to you. :)
What is the stay roller for? Does it attach to the door or to the floor?
It goes into the baseboard–it keeps the door from flipping out at the bottom! Let me know if you have any more questions!! xoxo
Hi. We are going to be building free standing “barn doors” for my daughter’s outdoor wedding at a farm this summer. She is thinking about hinged doors, but they would later like to install them as sliders in whatever house they buy (you know, keep a piece of the wedding with them). Well, hinges would leave screw marks, and the hardware purchased for hinges would not be used again (and thus I’m thinking a waste of money as they are not cheap), so I’m contemplating doing sliders. I know there is added weight that we will need to deal with and brace to ensure the structure will not blow over in the wind, but we can handle that part. What I am mainly interested in knowing is how difficult it is to put the doors on and take them off as we would be transporting them in pieces and putting together and taking apart on-site. If you could let me know the logistics for this, it would be greatly appreciated. I’m thinking it’s something like putting up the structure, taking the end “stoppers” off, sliding the doors on, and putting the stoppers back on. Is it kind of that simple? Really appreciate any help you can give me before we start construction.
Hello, Vicki!! Yes, it really is that easy!! If you’ve already got the structure figured out, and how to accommodate for the weight, then taking the doors off and on is easy.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and good luck with the wedding!! It sounds like it’s going to be amazing! (I wish I had had the option to have an outdoor wedding at a farm–that’s just up my alley!) xoxo
Love your barn door suggestions and thoughts. My wife and I planning to install 3 to 4 in our farmhouse here in Texas. Love to have more ideas….
Yay for sliding barn doors! I’m so excited you’re planning them for your farmhouse. We are actually in the process of building nine of them for our new farmhouse that will be finished in August. Can’t wait! I’ll definitely share more details once they’re finished. Good luck, and let me know if you have any more questions!! xoxo
Did you have to remove the framing around the doors. We have a closet and it would seem that that would be an eye sore if left and that the door would not fall straight? If you did how did you finish out?
We didn’t remove the framing around the door opening–it actually makes it look more finished to have it on, at least on our doors. I think it just depends on your doors and frames!
what kind of stain did you use on the barn door?
We used Minwax Provincial–just regular stain!
Love your barn doors!! Thanks for all the info. Something I’ve been wondering…what do you do with the existing hardware in the trim when you take existing doors off? Do you remove the hardware and paint over it to camouflage it?? That’s the only idea I have. I don’t want to permanently change the door frame in case we have to reinstall the existing doors. Plus removing and reinstalling trim would be difficult.
Yes, we remove the hardware and paint over it. It covered it up enough not to notice it much, and we also wanted to be able to put the original doors and hardware back on–which we did when we sold the house and moved. It worked for us!! xoxo
Just read about your experience with ‘barn door’ installation.
We are ready to install one but ‘DO NOT KNOW’ the exact length of hardware. there simply is no place on line that deals with question: The opening for door is 35″ with 45″ clear space next to it ( all in all it would be 80″). There is no trim around this opening.
My question is; what length hardware should we get?
You said you used 8 feet length. May I ask then what the size of the opening is. Or should we get 6.6″ length.
Julie on Long Island New York
Hi, Julie! If the door opening is 35″, and the space next to it is 45″, then I would get the 6.6 foot length—which is exactly that what you have. It really just comes down to how much space you have, and how long you want it to be. You would make your barn door to be just bigger than the opening, so that it will cover each side completely when closed. The hardware will line up with the opening on one side, and then you can have it as far over on the wall as you want it to be, but at least as wide as your door, so it can clear the opening completely. Does that makes sense? Hopefully I’m explaining it right. It sounds like you lucked out, and your opening would fit that length just right. Good luck, and let me know if that helps!!
Hey just was wondering with the metal rollers and metal bracket how much noise does it make when sliding the door? Want to put one in our master bedroom to go in our bathroom but not sure about metal to metal contact noise
Hi, Josh! We have one in our master bedroom as well, going into the bathroom. It does make some noise, but honestly, I had to stop and think about this when you asked it! I’ve never really noticed it being really loud, or loud enough to bother either one of us. The rolling is pretty smooth, so while you can hear it, it’s not clunky or grating, at least with the hardware we used. I’d say that’s the case for all of the barn doors in our house–we have 7. :)