Monday, July 11, 2016

How to Make and Install Sliding Barn Doors

My neighbor asked me to build a pair of Sliding Barn Doors for his living room/office doorway.  Check out my video below to see how I made them.

Supply List

These are the supplies I used to build and install the barn doors.  The key to building these doors is lots of planning and measuring.  You may need different supplies depending on the size and of your doors and how they will be installed, so adjust this list to fit your needs.

  • 8-foot 2x6 boards (3 per door)
  • 8-foot tongue and groove planks (6 per door)
  • 8-foot 1x4 board (cut into 4 diagonal pieces, 2 per door)
  • 8-foot 2x4 for mounting the track
  • Wood glue
  • 1 gallon of paint and paint brush
  • 4 door handles
  • 14-feet of steel flat bar, 3/16" thick and 2" wide
  • 4 garage door pulleys with 3" diameter
  • 8 bolts and 8 nylock nuts (for door hardware)
  • 4 bolts, 8 washers, and 4 nylock nuts (for wheels)
  • 8 lag screws 4" long
  • 3 screws 1" long (for mounting track to 2x4)
  • 2 felt pads to protect baseboards
Sliding Barn Door Hardware


Here are some basic instructions for building and installing one barn door.  Remember to make adjustments for your particular situation.
  1. Cut the 2x6 boards to length for the rails and stiles.  Use a 3/4" dado set to cut 1" deep grooves into one side of all 2x6 pieces.  The middle rail will need a groove on both sides.
  2. Cut tenons on both ends of the rails.  Do a dry assembly of the door frame to measure for the panels.
  3. Cut the tongue and groove planks for the panels.  To center the groove lines in the panel opening, you can rip the sides off one plank and use those pieces to start and end the pattern.
  4. Glue the three rails into one stile and let it dry.
  5. Slide the tongue and groove planks into place.  The planks I used are plain one side and have a center bead on the other side, so make sure the boards are flipped the right way.  Start and end with the thin spacer boards so the grooves are centered.  I did not use glue between the planks.
  6. Glue the remaining stile to the other side of the rails.
  7. Once the glue is dry, sand and paint or stain the doors as desired.
  8. Cut four 15" pieces of flat bar.  Drill a hole at one end for the wheel.  Drill two holes at the other end for mounting to door.  Sand any rough edges.
  9. Cut a piece of flat bar for the track.  In my case, the wall space limited the track to 107" long.  In general, the track will usually need to be about twice the width of the door(s).
  10. Paint the steel flat bar pieces and mounting hardware flat black.
  11. Mount the wheels to the top of the door using the 15" flat bar pieces.  Make sure there is enough space between the top of the door and the bottom of the wheel to fit it onto the track.
  12. Cut the 2x4 board to the same length as the track.  Mount the track to the 2x4 board using three screws, so that it overlaps the edge about 3/8" to allow clearance for the wheels to sit on the rail.
  13. Check above the door opening for a solid header or stud locations.  Drill mounting holes through the track and 2x4 for the lag screws.  Screw the track into place.  Make sure it is sturdy because these doors are heavy.
  14. Hang the doors onto the rail.  Make sure they clear door trim and baseboards and hang straight and square.  You can make minor adjustments to crooked doors by slightly enlarging the wheel mounting holes and mounting the wheels a little higher or lower.
  15. Too keep a door from rolling off the end of the track, add an L bracket or strategically placed screw as a stop.
  16. If you do not want the doors to be able to swing out from the bottom, you can buy or make a bracket that will allow the doors to slide, but prevent them from swinging out.
  17. Attach the handles.
  18. Enjoy your new barn doors!

Sliding Barn Doors

The supplies for this project cost about $200.  If you purchased similar barn doors and hardware from a store and paid for the installation, you could expect to spend about $1,500 or more, so you can save a lot of money by making and installing them yourself.  It took me about 25 hours of work over the course of 1 week to complete this project.  

Sliding Barn Doors

I am really pleased with out these barn doors turned out.  It was a challenging project to build such large doors in my small shop, but they were a lot of fun to make.  My wife has already requested that I make some for our home, so that means I get some more shop time!  Yes!

Workshop with Sliding Barn Doors

April Wilkerson of made some barn doors from plywood siding.  This is a great alternative to rail and stile construction.  I liked the way she used regular materials for the mounting hardware.  Check out her video below and subscribe to her channel if you haven't yet.  Thanks April!

Aaron at inspired me to use the rail and stile method to build these barn doors.  Check out his video below and subscribe to his channel if you haven't yet.  Thanks Aaron!


  1. Wow!! Amazing. You did a wonderful job. Very inspiring!

  2. Very nice build Steve and nice video work too. I especially like the hardware work. This was way better than the CNC projects.

    I'm doing a long overdue remodel of the lower level in our house. It's 7 steps down from the entry. There is a small crawl space under the entry area, about 8 x 10. It has a sump pump inside and storage of stuff that is not used often. We had a piece of paneling screwed to the framing of the crawl space to act as a door.

    My sweetheart wants something to hide that hides the area. A bookshelf for example. While I do a fair amount of woodworking I've never done a door. Any ideas on how to approach this? Or maybe you could find someone who wants one and I'll just borrow you plans.

    No rush. Thanks. Berry

    1. Bob at I like to make stuff made a bookshelf secret door that was cool. Make a bookshelf that fits ing the opening, then put trim on the face of the biikcase fram that will overlap the opening. Use heavy duty hinges.


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