How to Install Barn Doors
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Interior sliding barn doors instantly add charm and character to any room. They offer a functional and stylish alternative to traditional or pocket doors. Thanks to their growing popularity, barn door installation is now simple and straightforward. This guide will teach you how to install barn doors in your home.
Hanging barn doors is not a difficult project, but it does require attention to detail to ensure the door operates properly and safely.
Sliding barn doors work best when there is enough empty wall space next to the opening that the door can slide completely open. Double barn doors require open wall space on both sides of the doorway. Keep in mind that light switches, electrical outlets, and heating and cooling registers on the walls next to the opening could be in the way. Fortunately, it may be possible to relocate these fixtures.
The barn door should be wide enough to completely cover the doorway with an inch or two of overhang on both sides and about one inch at the top. It should be tall enough so that when it’s hung on the track, there is about 1/2-inch of space between the bottom of the door and the floor.
Safety Note: Work with a helper when lifting heavy pieces or standing on a step ladder during this DIY. Barn doors can be heavy and difficult to maneuver alone.
Tools & Materials
Step 1. PRIME AND PAINT THE BACKER BOARD
There should be one inch of space between the barn door and the wall frame. A backer board is only required if you don't have this much space available (see steps 3 - 5 below). It will help create a gap between the door and frame.
Use a color that matches the door or the trim in your home. It’s easiest to paint the board when it’s lying flat on a work surface or saw horses.
Step 2. LOCATE THE STUDS
Use the stud finder to locate and mark the studs above the door. For single doors, start about three or four inches up on the hinge side of the door opening and continue for the length of the backer board. For double doors, locate the studs on both sides of the door opening.
(If your home has concrete walls, there is usually no need to install a wood backer board. Skip to step 7.)
Step 3. MARK THE STUD LOCATIONS
Hold the backer board level and transfer the stud locations to the board. The position of the board is usually indicated in the hardware directions. It should account for the height of the door, with extra space to allow for small gaps between the door and backer board, and the bottom of the door and the floor.
Step 4. PRE-DRILL HOLES
Lay the backer board flat (with a piece of scrap wood underneath it, if you’re drilling on the floor instead of on saw horses). Use a countersink bit to drill two holes at each stud location. Then clamp the metal track to the backer board, as per the manufacturer's instructions. Drill starter holes at each hole in the track.
Step 5. ATTACH BACKER BOARD TO THE WALL
Working with a partner, attach one end of the board to the studs using a wood screw. The screw heads should be just below the surface of the wood. Then, making sure that the board stays level, attach the remaining screws. Cover screw heads with wood filler and touch up with paint, if necessary.
Step 6. ATTACH THE METAL TRACK
Align the track with the holes you drilled in the backer board. Attach the track to the backer board using the provided spacers, lag bolts and washers. The spacers should have a broad base that goes against the backer board. While keeping the track level, use a wrench to tighten the lag bolts.
Step 7. INSTALLING THE METAL TRACK ON CONCRETE WALLS
If you're installing the metal track directly onto a concrete wall and didn't use a backer board, level the track in the desired location and mark the mounting holes on the concrete surface. Use a masonry bit to pre-drill the fastener holes. The kit should contain masonry anchors and lag bolts to install the track.
Step 8. INSTALL STOPPERS
Regardless of whether you used a backer board or not, you must install stoppers on the metal track. Slide the door stoppers onto each end of the track. Tighten using the Allen key (the correct size is typically provided with the kit) or tighten the set screw.
Step 9. ATTACH THE ROLLERS
Some barn door hardware kits contain templates for locating the rollers and other items on the door, and some doors have predrilled holes. Other kits give directions to install the rollers a certain number of inches from the edges of the door.
Some rollers are screwed to the top edge of the door. Other kits use strap hangers that are held in place with decorative nuts and bolts. Whatever style you choose, use a speed square to keep the straps straight.
Step 10. ATTACH THE ANTI-JUMP DISKS
These are small rubber blocks that are screwed to the top edge of the door. Should the roller wheels jump off the track, the disk will hit the bottom of the track and keep the door in place.
Step 11. ATTACK THE HANDLE
If your kit doesn’t include a handle, you can buy one and either screw or bolt it to the door. The center of the handle should be about 36 inches from the bottom of the door.
Place the outside handle near the edge of the door, as you would any handle or door knob. For the inside handle, keep in mind that the door is wider than the opening. Place it with enough space so that it doesn’t hit the door jamb when the door is closed. Some kits contain recessed pulls for the inside of the door.
Step 12. LIFT AND PLACE THE DOOR
Lift the door and place the wheels on the metal track. Heavy doors will require two people for this step. Test the operation of the door.
Step 13. INSTALL THE DOOR GUIDES
These guides are attached to the floor and keep the door from wobbling when it is opened or closed. Some guides fit into a groove that is milled in the bottom of the door; others are installed so that they guide the door from the sides. With the door hanging plumb, place the guides in position and mark the locations for the screws. Use the provided screws to keep the guides in place.
Step 14. FINAL CHECK
Make sure the door opens and closes smoothly. Double-check that the anti-jump disks are in place and that the door stoppers are tight.Make sure the door opens and closes smoothly. Double-check that the anti-jump disks are in place and that the door stoppers are tight.
Because they’re not exposed to the elements, interior sliding barn doors require very little maintenance beyond normal cleaning. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintaining the doors and door hardware. Here are some general cleaning tips:
- Routinely wipe down the hardware and track with a soft cloth and mild cleaner.
- Use oil soap formulated for wood to clean the door.
- Clean glass inserts with glass cleaner.
- Don't use harsh cleaners that contain bleach.
- Don't use coarse rags or steel wool on the door or the door hardware.
Enjoy your stylish new barn door. If you take care of it, it should remain sturdy and functional for the life of your home.