The barn door is such a wonderful addition to your house’s style. Not only is its functionality good, but it is also very stylish and fun. In fact, it is not so difficult to build barn doors on your own.
It is important to know that you can almost use any material to build barn doors. In this article, I will give you a complete guide on the DIY sliding barn door and even more, what you have to consider before taking actions.
A Complete Guide on DIY Sliding Barn Door
Are you fascinated by the designs of barn doors and you want one instantly in your room? Many people assume that only with the help of professionals can we install barn door.
It is not necessarily true. You can learn how to build barn doors by yourself.
But it all begins with the first step which is to choose the place where you use barn door. Then, you need to consider which mounting hardware is good for you, regarding budgets and styles.
Choose Location and Door
The installation of barn door all starts with choosing the most appropriate location, which should fit your preference as well.
It is necessary to make some preparation regarding the opening, whether you already have one or need to make a new one.
A great tip for you to make everything easier in this stage is to work closely with structural engineer or architect. They will give you proper advice on the installation of headers for load-bearing walls.
In case of non-bearing partition walls, you will need the minimum of a double 2×6. It aims to mount your track more effectively.
Besides, if you have to encounter some items that were painted before 1979, you need to pay more attention to the potential effects of lead in this paint.
It is highly recommended to read and understand the useful information written in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s leaflet to protect you and your family members from unfortunate effects.
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A careful and thorough preparation will help you install the door with ease. It is divided into 2 categories – materials and tools.
Regarding materials, you will need:
- Zinc washers and bolts ( 5/16 x 3 inches) and (5/16 x 1-1/2 inches)
- Rod (1-inch x 6 feet)
- Flat strap (6 feet x 1 x 1/8 inches)
- Carriage bolts ( 5/16 x 1 inches)
- Interior door (36 x 6’8 inches)
- Angle iron (6 feet x 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches)
- Barn wheels
In term of tools, you will need:
- Drill bit (1/2 inches)
- Level ( 4 feet)
- Tape measure
- Plastic caliper
- Arc welder
- Chop saw
- Safety glasses
- Center punch
- Framing square
- Drill press
How to choose the right wheels
Cast-iron wheels would be a nice choice because they are cheap, easy to find and good operators. Some people worry that they might be covered with rust, but an interesting color is added to your door thanks to the oxidized black.
However, please be aware that to hand the door, you will need DIY hangers. After selecting your favorite wheels, let’s move to the exciting parts where you will work as a craftsman.
This process is quite complicated, so read the guide carefully to make sure that you thoroughly understand them.
- Carriage bolts and angle iron are required for this step. Otherwise, to help your door function well, your 3 feet opening must go with a 6-foot piece of track
- The top of the track should be in shape of round to fit the diameter scallop of the wheels
- Use a rod to prevent the wheels from going off the track. Next, hang a Z-shaped bracket on the wall. After that, weld the rod on its back
- Orient the angle iron so that it has the shape of letter U. Punch 4 holes at 5’6”, 4’, 2’, and 6”. Then, drill through the center with a bit to ½ inches diameter
- Use an angle rod (no welded rod) to mark the holes. Take a pencil and a tape to mark the position of the track on the wall
- You should measure the distance between the location of the stud and the end point of the track to mark it on your angle iron
- 3 bolts and 1 bolt should be placed in the door header and each stud respectively
- Drill a series of holes which are marked on the iron
How hangers are made
Making hangers is not as complicated as preparing track. However, it requires absolute accuracy with the use of 1 formula to complete the task. The first job you must do is to measure the horizontal leg by taking this formula
- The leg = (the depth of wall trim ¼ inches thickness of the door) – (mounting surface)
You had better make 3 legs for your hanger
- 1 door mount that is vertical (9 inches)
- 1 horizontal offset (1-3/4 inches)
- 1 wheel mount that is vertical (1-3/4 inches)
You do not need to make a very long bottom. In fact, the adequate length is approximately 9 inches to cover the 4 inch trim band. To make sure that the calculation is accurate, you should do a test before trimming the legs.
Cut the strap you have prepared into 4 pieces and record the first measurement result by taking a square. Pull it slightly above the strap. Next, hit the strap by the jaw gently with your sledgehammer until you form a ninety-degree bend.
Do these steps to make the second bend and pay attention to the right direction. Finally, drill a top hole to ½” after marking it.
One handy tip for you is taking advantage of the heat to the strap because it will be bent much more easily.
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To arrange the track properly, you will need a supporter to level and mark it at the desired height.
½ inches is the distance between the top of your barn door and the track. It is also the right distance from the bottom to the floor. You had better the 2 track’s ends to ensure the distance. Keep in mind that there is no need to make the floor and the track parallel to each other. However, you should see to it that your track is already level to prevent the door from rolling later.
Sloping is very common when it comes to old floors, so what you have to finish first is locating the studs by using the stud finer and small nail as well. After that, drill ¼” pilot hole as the location as the stud. Then, fasten the track and the wall to each other but not tightly. You should also drill 3 mounting holes into the door header via track holes
One thing that you should notice is that the track must be leveled before being tightened securely because of ½ inch holes as well as 3 – 4-inch lag bolt. If you forget to do it, your barn door will slide off the track for sure.
1-inch carriage bolt will be used to fasten the angle iron that has the top rail and the wall together. At the top spot, you need to place a wood shim which is a ½ inch long and then makes your door stand on the shim. While the wheels are being laid on the track, you should be careful and ensure that your lag bolts are located properly.
Next, 2 holes need drilling in each trap. Therefore, we will have 8 holes in total. Drill them to ½ inches for 5/16 inch lag bolts. Fasten the straps and the barn door together, but remember to get the wheels leveled. After finishing them all, just take the wood shim out and check if your barn door rolls in the right way.
In fact, if you want to move your door up and down or take the track in or out with ease, just make the bolt firmly fixed. Last, door stops should be installed on the wall in case they were not placed on the top track.
Useful Advice for the Plan
When it comes to barn doors, certain things will attract your attention. And you have to take them into serious consideration; otherwise, barn door will turn into a nightmare.
The privacy issue is just one of many concerns. Let’s take a look at top problems of a DIY sliding barn door.
The Structural Stability
Among top priority, concerns are the structural stability. It means that you have to decide to remove or add more to your door’s current structure.
If you do not have any plans for the house, it is nearly impossible to know what to do with the structural stability next. Looking does not result in an accurate result, and the possibility is that your house might be damaged.
Besides, the crucial thing you have to be aware of before taking actions is whether you need a permit to build a barn door or not. It sounds hard to believe, but in fact, many cities demand that if the cost of improving house exceeds $500, a permit is essential.
Meanwhile, some others demand the confirmation of structural engineers, especially if you want some large or heavy barn doors.
So, even though some of you might think it is irrelevant to do so, you should check first to avoid troubles later.
What to Cover
A barn door is a fun idea to make your house unique. However, remember that there are lots of differences between it and a normal door.
I’ve tried some barn doors for my house. Some of them are great, but some prove to be useless. For example, the barn door is used for the bathroom.
Barn doors help you cover the opening, but it never seals the door completely. Not in the same way as a normal door! Therefore, you can imagine what happens next with you inside your bathroom and people outside.
On the other hand, privacy is a big issue when we talk about barn doors. With the restroom, you need to be certain that the contact between door and door frame is as close as possible.
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When you want some great alternatives for traditional doors, the barn door is a great option. But along with its style and outstanding features, you do make some sacrifices for it as well.
Building barn doors will leave some holes on your walls, and you need to invest a certain amount of money and time on them.
While you can easily change the designs, getting barn door is a long-term issue. Therefore, you need to think about it in the long term before truly installing it.
In general, it is not impossible to build a barn door on your own. This article has just given you a complete guide on the DIY sliding barn door. Hope that you found it useful.
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