The Ultimate Guide to Barn Doors
The barn door’s meteoric rise in popularity in the world of design has taken home renovations by storm. Interior designers, builders, and renovators are attracted to its stylish functionality while homeowners find its installation to be a simple DIY project that can give any space a face lift. The most popular type of barn door is the sliding barn door, a style that requires both conventional and unconventional hardware in comparison to the more well-known hinged doors.
7 Elements of a Barn Door
Sliding barn doors now come in a wide range of decor styles while maintaining the desired innovation of the space-saving design. In addition, there are also varied track and hardware systems that allow for any homeowner to install barn doors across the diverse spatial requirements of a modern floor plan.
- Door Slab
- Door Guide
How Do Barn Doors Work?In short, both interior barn doors and exterior barn doors function by installing a set of hangers and rollers onto a door slab. This hardware allows the slab to slide back and forth along a track. What makes this type of barn door appealing is that a left and right opening and closing is perfect for an area with limited square footage, whether that is a doorway that leads to a crowded bedroom or bathroom, a small closet or pantry area, or a living space that is better utilized with compact room division. If a home cannot afford to lose surface area traditional swing of a hinged door, a sliding door is a great idea for the space-conscious homeowner.
Barn door systems can be grouped into three types.
- Standard Barn Door System: In this system, a singular door panel (or slab) hangs from an individual track. Two hangers are installed onto the panel, one on the left and one on the right. Each is attached to a roller that runs along the track. The panel closes to cover the doorway and slides either to the left or right across the wall to open. This kind of door system also includes “pocket doors.” These doors run along a track but disappear into a “pocket” in the door frame instead of running in front of a wall.
- Bi Parting Door System: In this system, a singular track is installed onto the wall or into the ceiling just like in a standard system. The difference is there are two panels that hang from the same track. Four hangers and four rollers in total are needed, two for each door. One panel opens to the left, closing to the right and the other panel functions in reverse. This can create the same sort of design as French doors and looks especially inviting in doorways to large living areas. Additionally, homeowners can choose a bi-folding system. Bi-fold barn doors involve a singular track with double doors. These door panels crease folding over each other when opening and lying flat when closing.
- Bypassing System: Other door systems include a bypassing system and the triple bypassing systems in which two or three barn doors are each installed on their own tracks. Bypass barn doors slide open and close in front of and behind one another as they run along their respective tracks.
How to Buy Barn DoorsHomeowners and designers purchase sliding barn doors for more reasons than functionality. Choosing a barn door involves browsing size, color, texture, finishes, and hardware—an exciting interior design process that will make you feel like you’re the star of a renovation show. No matter your tendency to lean towards rustic, country chic, or contemporary, there are many modern and traditional options that will meet all expectations. First, you’ll need to know the size of the door you need. Generally, doorways fall around 3 feet wide and 7 feet in height, and you’ll want your door to be slightly larger than the doorway, or the door trim if you have any. However, getting specific measurements means you won’t accidentally order the wrong size. Barn doors can be made to custom sizes, so you will still be able to find what you need regardless of the opening you plan to cover.You’ll also need to decide if you want your door assembled, unassembled, or pre-hung. Here’s the difference:Assembled:
Your door slab arrives whole and complete with only sliding door hardware assembly required.Unassembled:
Your door arrives in individual beams and parts. You’ll have to build your door to create a complete panel in addition to installing sliding barn door hardware. Everything you need aside from a mallet and a drill will be included in the kit if you choose this option. This option means more work on your part, but it might be necessary if you are unable to move the door into the space you want to use it if it was fully assembled.Assembling barn doors can be a simple DIY process. If you’re not into the DIY scene or you don’t have the time to do it, for an additional cost you can have your door delivered assembled, ready to be installed along with its hardware. Pre-Hung:
Prehung is different than pre-assembled but the idea is the same. If you want to cut down on installation time, choose the pre-hung option to have all your hardware (track, hangers, rollers) installed onto your door frame in addition to a matching door header. The door header is directly attached to the track and then installed onto the wall, distributing the door’s weight across multiple wall studs. As with pre-assembled, the choice is yours. You can take on the relatively simple task of installing your hardware or pay an additional fee to have an Artisan Hardware professional install on the door slab pre-delivery.Some people wonder if a door header is required. Most often the answer is “yes.” Sliding barn doors can be heavy, especially if installed within a larger door frame or if more than one panel hangs from a track. To prevent the door from ripping away from the wall, homeowners often install a header. A header distributes the total weight of the door and its hardware across multiple beams creating super strength that can withstand heavy weight. Once the header is installed, you’ll attach the barn door track system directly to it. There might be times, however, that you choose to not install a header. Most often, this occurs for lighter weight doors like cabinets or shutters. From here, you will get to decide on color, style, material, and hardware. These are all very personal decisions you can make based on your decor goals. Mix and match until you have exactly the look you need to complete your interior design vision.
7 Elements of a Barn Door
Door SlabPerhaps the most exciting part of designing custom barn doors is choosing the finish and texture of the slab. The slab refers to the door panel itself, not including any hardware. Slabs can be crafted from a variety of materials including wood, metal, and even glass. All of these materials are perfect for interior barn doors but there are some advantages to specific types when considering space. Barn doors for closets, bedrooms, or bathrooms might be better crafted from solid elements like wood or metal to ensure privacy and keep messier storage areas hidden. Glass barn doors that feature decorative glass panels in French door style are better used as room dividers where you want natural light to flow throughout a floor plan but you’re not too concerned about privacy between spaces. To determine the basic style of your slab, consider your space and browse the almost 50 different door slab options from Artisan Hardware. These panels range from the eclectic, reconstructed look of the Vertical Reclaimed Barn Door to the sleek and minimalist look of the Industrial Panel Barn Door and everything in between. Upon choosing the slab design, you’ll then be prompted to choose finish and texture. Artisan Hardware currently offers 23 different finishes for most wood barn doors, ranging from an unfinished look, a dark walnut stain, a barn red stain, to a navy blue stain. Texture is a bit simpler. Wooden doors can be crafted with weathered or antique feel or without any noticeable texture at all.
Barn Door HardwareNow that you have selected the perfect door slab, you’ll need to specify all the pieces you need in your barn door hardware kit. It’s especially important to understand the definition and purpose of each piece if you are choosing to order your door without its hardware installed. Regardless, this is another opportunity to select the style and finish for the hardware pieces and will allow you to create a truly custom sliding barn door for your project.
TrackOnce you’ve chosen all the design details of your door slab, it’s time to move on to the track system. First, you’ll decide between standard or bi-parting. Then, you’ll be asked to choose if you want your door delivered pre-hung. Next, you’ll need to determine the type of hardware you require or desire for your track system. You’ll need to take into account both style and function. Below, you’ll find the different hardware styles that Artisan Hardware currently crafts and the reasons why a homeowner might choose one over the other. Classic or Flat Track:
This track system is crafted from durable raw steel and can be used for interior sliding barn doors that don’t have space limitations. This track attaches to the face of the door. It can be purchased heavy duty for larger door panels or light duty for cabinets. Box Track:
A box track system features a rectangular, solid track that does not attach to the face of the door but rather it attaches to the top of the door. This track is ideal for glass doors that cannot withstand drill holes or ornate and detail-oriented slabs that homeowners wish to preserve from distracting hardware.Top Mount:
A top mount track system also attaches to the top of the door however features a softer, more traditional design in comparison to a box track. Its function is the same, however.No Show:
This system is a step-up from the function of a box track and top mount. Whether you wish to truly hide the maximum amount of hardware or whether you want or need to conserve wall space, choose this option. The no show track is installed to the back of the door hiding all hangers and wheels, leaving only a few screws exposed.Ceiling Mount:
The ceiling mount barn door hardware
should be installed within areas with low ceiling allowance. Within this system, the track is installed directly into the ceiling instead of a wall or header which allows the door to sit more tightly against the ceiling. In order to purchase this specific type of track, you’ll need to call to talk to Artisan Hardware customer service.Once you choose your track system, you’ll have 14 different track finishes to browse on Artisan Hardware’s drop down menu. Ranging from traditional raw steel, stainless steel, or brass finish to bright red and yellow options, you’ll be able to find a hardware style that fits your room’s personality. Finally, choose your track length—a simple step in the customization process. Simply put, you should order a track with a length that is at least double the width of your door. Remember to take into consideration the length of both doors when purchasing double sliding barn doors.
Door GuideTo prevent barn doors from crashing backward and forward against the wall, homeowners are encouraged to install a door guide. A door guide is a piece of hardware that restricts a door’s front and back motion while allowing it to slide left and right. Choose from guides that attach to the floor or attach to the wall. Either option works well and is simply your choice—you’ll just need to determine whether you wish to drill into your floor or your wall. Artisan Hardware has a total of 5 choices between both categories.
Hangers Hangers are attached either to the door’s face, its back, or its top. As their name implies, hangers are the piece of hardware that allows a barn door to hang from its track. This hardware can be super minimalist or ornate. Hangers are an important part of the sliding function of your barn door, but they can also be an opportunity to add more of a decorative touch. Hanger design is a great time to complete your barn door’s overall look.
Rollers Hangers are attached to rollers or wheels which allow for the sliding motion. They’re fairly inconspicuous as the track most often hides this hardware from the public eye. Sometimes, however, the rollers are crafted to be more obvious and can play an important role in the hardware’s overall visual appeal and design.
HandleThere are some parts of a barn door hardware kit that are not necessary for basic function but instead add a certain amount of convenience to the door style. Handles fall into this category. The barn door will slide back and forth no matter whether you choose to install a handle. However, pulls, rings, and straps do make this movement easier (not to mention it’s another opportunity to express your inner interior designer). Standard Barn Door Pull:
Generally speaking, a pull is comprised of a bar that is attached to a plate. The entire piece of hardware is drilled into your door slab during installation. This type of handle is best used for standard or bi-parting doors as it does not sit flush with the slab and would not allow another door to pass in front of it in a bypassing system or allow the slab itself to slip into the wall in a pocket door system. Popular Artisan Hardware options include the Craftsman, the Tribal Pull, or the Designer Pull. Flush Pull:
For a bypassing, bi-folding, or pocket door system, choose a flush pull.
This pull is level to the door depth to prevent crashing or scraping when the door slides or folds open. Artisan Hardware’s flush pull is crafted from sleek, sturdy steel.
LatchPurchasing a latch is also completely optional but does carry major advantages. Barn door closing systems can be installed in slabs for areas that require security and privacy. You may want a way to secure doors for bathrooms, bedrooms, or even exterior sliding barn doors leading to sheds or patios. There are two options that Artisan Hardware offers, each with its own unique functionality. Barn Door Teardrop Latch
: The teardrop latch is named after its motion when it falls into the locked position. Comprised of a triangular piece drilled into the door slab and a flush slot attached to the wall or door jamb, this lock looks sleek and is easy to use. Alternatively, this latch can also close double doors together. The teardrop latch can be used to lock interior doors from the inside or to prevent the wind or animals from opening the door to gain access to a shed or patio. Its security is not ideal for exterior entry sliding barn doors.Hook and Eye Latch:
This latch is a more traditional option made of quality raw steel. The hook and eye latch
features a classic system where a hook falls into its matching eye, similar to a needle and thread. The hook is installed into the door slab and the eye is installed into the wall or jamb. Alternatively, this latch can also close double doors together like a teardrop latch. Likewise, its security is not ideal for exterior entry, and best suited to interior sliding doors.
How to Install a Barn Door If you are feeling up for a DIY project, you can follow Artisan Hardware’s video guide series, How to Install a Barn Door. Alternatively, you can make the move to hire a professional contractor, but you need to consider the additional cost that this choice might entail. At minimum, a contractor will probably cost you between $400-$600 and it also isn’t guaranteed that the project can be completed within your ideal time frame. Choosing Artisan Hardware’s pre-assembly and pre-hung options do make this installation simpler. You’ll need some basic tools, such as a drill, rubber mallet, a socket wrench, and stud finder. Everything else will be included in your hardware kit, including all directions in addition to the required screws, brackets, spacers, rollers, hangers, and tracks. Optional hardware, like latches, door guides, and handles will also be included if you opted to purchase them. With everything laid out in front of you, you’ll have all that you need within arm’s reach. There are then three basic steps to complete.Install Hardware: If you’ve opted to have the door unassembled or pre-assembled, you will still need to install the hardware. If you’ve selected the option to have the door pre-hung, then you don’t need to install hardware on the door. Install Track: Using the provided washers, bolts, and spacers, install your track either into the ceiling or onto the wall. It’s always best to mark your drill holes with a pen or pencil by lining up your track. Pre-drill the holes and then line up your track once more for a permanent installation. Once this is completed, attach your door stops. Stops prevent the slab from sliding off the track completely. You’ll just want to ensure that all screws are tightly installed into a wall stud. If not, you’ll eventually witness the door tearing away from the wall. No matter your choice, use a stud finder to identify the location of your beams. Hanger and Roller Installation: Similar to track installation, you’ll want to mark the drill areas with a pen or pencil. Pre-drill then permanently attach your hangers with their corresponding rollers onto your door slab.
The Ultimate Guide to Barn DoorsWith this information in mind, you’re ready to begin the exciting process of customizing, ordering, and installing a brand new sliding barn door into your living space. If you’re confused at any point during the process or have a question about installation, Artisan Hardware’s website features helpful how-to videos on choosing, assembling, and installing barn doors and their hardware kits. Artisan Hardware’s products are crafted to stand the test of time but if anything should happen, know that their hardware carries a lifetime warranty and that their customer service is available to address any of your issues or concerns.