How to Install a Barn Door
Barn doors are quickly becoming one of the hottest trends to hit the housing market, and for good reason. Barn doors are functional, easy to install and offer a beautiful interior design statement. With a simple installation in your home, you can transform any part of your living space to match a rustic farmhouse, chic loft, or modern industrial feel.
8 Steps to Install a Barn Door
- Measure Your Space
- Gather Tools
- Install Header
- Install Metal Track
- Prepare the Door
- Install the Door
- Install the Door Guide
- Maintain Your Door
When installed properly, a barn door will add charm and personality to your home for years to come. Thankfully, installing a barn door is a very reasonable DIY project, and you can easily accomplish complete installation in a day or less. If you have someone helping you, it becomes even easier. Barn doors look stylish anywhere in the house, from your kitchen pantry to the bedroom closet. No matter where you install one, you’ll instantly upgrade your home and give yourself a pop of style that draws the eye and sets your house apart.
1. Measure Your Space
The first thing you’ll need to do when determining how to install a barn door is to measure the intended space where it will hang. The measurements you’ll need to take include the height of the opening, the width, and any depth to account for trim. You’ll also want to measure the space on the side of the doorway that you want the door to slide. You need to make sure you have enough area for the door to slide and clear the doorway, and that it won’t cover up any outlets or light switches.
Mark these measurements down and compare the options you have for the opening you need to cover. You ideally want to cover the entire opening plus two inches on each side, and one inch at the top. You also need space above the opening to mount the header and track. If you find you have a small space above or no space at all, your best option would be to consider installing a barn door that hangs from the ceiling instead of mounting to your wall.
2. Gather Tools
Before starting any remodeling project, it’s imperative that you have all the necessary tools and hardware for your installation.
- Hardware: If you purchase a barn door kit, it likely includes a hardware kit that comes with most of the necessary supplies needed, such as bolts, nuts, washers, and other hardware specific to your door. Double-check, though, when ordering so you can be sure you’ll have everything you need for the door.
- Lag Bolts: These are also known as lag screws and are extremely sturdy. They are used to fasten heavy wood objects onto wood studs and allow for incredibly high load-bearing.
- Screws: For smaller details on your door, you’ll want to have some screws handy.
- Drill: Unless your setup comes with pre-drilled holes, you’ll need to drill pilot holes for your lag nuts in addition to holes for the header and track.
- Allen Wrench: For areas with bolts and nuts that need to be tightened down, an Allen wrench will be your best friend.
- Socket Wrench Set: You may not need this, but it’s a good idea to have a set in case your project requires some extra torque. You probably have this on hand already, so just have it available, and you’ll be ready for anything you encounter.
- Stud Finder: The weight of your barn door will be hanging from its fasteners, so it's important to attach those to studs in the wall. Otherwise, you’ll find the door pulling away over time, requiring time and repair work to fix.
- Level: Installing your door without checking to ensure its level means it might not work properly and you’ll have to take it down and start over.
3. Install a Header
You’ll want to initially determine if you have one inch of space between the barn door and your wall frame. If you don’t, then you’ll need to install a header to achieve that space. You need to ensure that the door is not flush with the wall, where it can rub while opening and closing. While this is not a difficult process, it will take time. The most important thing you can do is be thorough during installation and hang your sliding door properly so it will last through the years.
First, if the header is raw, then you’ll want to prime and paint it. Use a color that matches the door, wall, or trim in your home to give it a cohesive look.
Next, find the studs above the door. Use a stud finder to ensure accuracy, as your studs will bear the weight of your sliding barn door. Find and mark the studs along the entire distance of your header, as well as both sides of the opening.
Position the leveled header where instructions tell you and transfer stud locations to the board. Remove the board and drill holes in the board and metal track to correspond with the studs.
Finally, attach the board to the wall studs with wood screws.
Your header should now be properly installed and firmly attached to your wall. There should be no wiggle or give. If there is any movement at all, determine why and fix it. This is essentially the foundation for the rest of your installation.
4. Install Metal Track
Match the holes you drilled in the metal track with the header. Attach the track to the board using spacers, lag bolts, and washers. Ensure the track is completely level during this process and tighten the lag bolts with a wrench.
If you have concrete walls and you’re installing the track into the walls without a header, your process will be slightly different. Level the track and position it according to instructions. Mark the mounting holes on the concrete surface and pre-drill fastener holes with a masonry bit. You will then affix the track to the wall with lag bolts.
Before you move on, you’ll need to install stops. Stops ensure that your barn door will stay on the track as it slides and doesn’t come sliding right off. The stops will be included with the hardware kit you purchased for your barn door mounting track.
5. Prepare the Door
If you’re wondering how to hang the finished product, these next sections are for you. There are several preliminary steps you need to take before you can hang your masterpiece, however.
First, you’ll want to install the rollers onto your door slab. These rollers are what allow the barn door to slide along the metal track effortlessly. They will come in your hardware kit and should also have instructions that accompany them for installation. Most rollers are attached to metal strips called hangers. If your roller strips are not pre-drilled, you may need to drill holes to attach the metal. Screw the strips into the wood while keeping them level. Be sure to use a ruler and keep all rollers at the same height, or you’ll have problems with sliding your interior barn door open and closed.
Next, you’ll want to add any additional hardware desired. If you want a handle, now is the time to screw it on. If your DIY kit doesn’t include a handle, you can purchase one and screw it onto your desired location. While handles aren’t necessary, they can complete the look and will reduce dirt, wear, and tear on the door itself.
For an outside handle, place the handle near the edge at the same height as a regular doorknob, approximately 36 inches from the bottom. If you’re installing a handle on the inside, remember that your door is around two inches wider than the doorway. Measure the distance accordingly and place the handle where it won’t hit the wall when open, or doorjamb when it’s closed.
There are also flush door handles that ensure smooth opening and closing that you can choose from.
6. Install the Door
While you may be able to do it on your own, this next step usually requires two people to complete. Carefully lift the door until the rollers are even with the track. Position it so that the rollers rest securely in the metal track. Now the fun part: test out your sliding door. It should open and close smoothly with no hesitation. At this point, you’re almost done.
7. Install the Door Guide
If you notice any wobbling, hitting against the wall, or smacking against the trim when you open and close your door, you didn’t do anything wrong. You simply need one final step: installing the door guide. While not mandatory, a door guide or a full bottom track will keep your door from hitting the wall or wobbling. It will keep it functioning properly and reduce the potential for any strain or torque on the rollers, top track, or hangers while in operation. This is especially helpful for bedroom barn doors
, when your sliding barn door is in a high traffic area, or if you have small children that will be using it.
If you ordered it as part of your kit, then you’ll be good to go. If this is something you need to purchase, measure the width of the bottom of your door to ensure you purchase hardware with a big enough opening that it will fit.
To install your door guide or bottom track, make sure your barn door is hanging plumb. Place guides on either end and mark the holes where they need to be screwed in. Move the door aside and screw your guides in place. Once you’ve installed the hardware, test it out again. Make sure it opens and closes smoothly with no hesitation or hitching.
8. Maintain Your Door
Interior sliding barn doors need relatively little upkeep since they aren’t exposed to weather or excessive dirt and dust. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining the wood and hardware. Occasionally, you’ll want to wipe down your door with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. Use wood cleaner if needed. Clean any glass or a barn door with a mirror
with a glass cleaner, similar to any window. Always stay away from rough or coarse material when cleaning the door or hardware. With proper care, your sliding barn door should last the lifetime of your home.
How to Install a Barn Door
After you’ve learned how to install a barn door in your house, you’ll be the proud owner of a beautiful piece of home décor that will be admired for years to come. As you can see, tackling barn door installation is a doable project as long as you have the proper equipment and knowledge. Now that you’ve read the instructions and you’re ready and prepared to tackle this fun project, you need to know how to order a barn door
Ordering is simple and can take just a few minutes of your time. Browse through the options and pick the style and hardware that best suits your needs. Enter your measurements so the door will come out to the exact specification of your needs and decide whether you want it assembled or not. Finally, choose the finish and texture to complete your look. Once your door arrives, you’ll have no problem installing it and upgrading your house with magazine-worthy style. Simply gather the necessary hardware, instructions, and an extra set of hands to help with installation, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying your new look.