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Sliding Garage Panels

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Change the look of your garage by building floor-to-ceiling panels that slide to conceal or reveal storage spaces. They're easy to make and hang.

Sliding panels in two positions

Project Overview

Skill Level

Intermediate

Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$$

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Miter saw or table saw
  • Drill with bit set, countersink bit
  • Clamps
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's square
  • Swanson Speedlite square
  • Level
  • Wrenches or socket set
  • 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper

Materials

  • 4 - 1-in x 10-in x 8-ft Top Choice whitewood boards, #973
  • 5 - 1-in x 8-in x 8-ft Top Choice whitewood boards, #962
  • 5 - 1-in x 6-in x 8-ft Top Choice whitewood boards, #951
  • 8 - 1-in x 4-in x 10-ft Top Choice whitewood boards, #941
  • 10 - 1-in x 4-in x 8-ft Top Choice whitewood boards, #940 (use the two straightest boards for assembly spacers)
  • 1-1/4-in tan deck screws, #323893
  • 2 - box rail hangers, #48217
  • 6 - #20 1/4-in x 1-1/2-in carriage bolts, #63332
  • 2 - Stanley plain box rails, #48208
  • Box rail splice bracket, #48201
  • 8 - box rail hangers, #48202
  • Valspar interior/exterior latex primer
  • Valspar exterior semigloss paint: Lyndhurst Mushroom (#3007-9C), Ivory Lace (#7003-6)
Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Instructions

The panels you build will likely vary in height from the 105-1/2-in-tall examples shown. To calculate panel heights for your garage, first install the box rails and mounting brackets on an exposed joist according to the hardware manufacturer’s instructions. Insert a roller assembly in the box rail and measure from the bottom plate on the roller to the floor in several locations. Then subtract 1-in to 2-in (for clearance, depending on the evenness of the floor) for the overall panel height. Use this to calculate the length of the stiles and map out the number and spacing of the slats.

The 48-in width of these panels lets you make slats simply by cutting 8-ft boards in half, but you can customize the width of the sliding panels by changing the horizontal board lengths. (For wider panels, purchase longer lumber that can be cut in half to minimize waste.) Be sure customized panels adhere to the weight limits of the mounting hardware.

Assemble the Panels

Step 1

Cut the four vertical stiles (A) to length (Sliding Garage Panels Project Diagram). Cut the wide (B) and narrow (C) slats and center slats (D) to equal lengths according to the Sliding Panel Project Diagram. Sand all parts with 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper. Then cut the roller mounting board (E), top trim boards (F), and bottom trim boards (G) to length. Apply one coat of primer and two coats of paint to all parts. (We used Valspar exterior semigloss in Ivory Lace (#7003-6) for five of the wide slats and four of the narrow slats, and Lyndhurst Mushroom (#3007-9C) for the four vertical stiles, eight alternating center slats, roller mounting board, top trim boards, and bottom trim boards.)

Good to Know

You're cutting a lot of boards to the same length and any errors will leave gaps between panels. Save time and increase accuracy by clamping a stop block to your miter saw fence or table saw fence 48-in from the blade for consistent cuts.

Step 2

From cardboard scraps, cut pairs of screw location templates. (Screws won't show from the front, but these will keep you from accidentally driving one screw on top of another.) Cut all pairs of templates 3-1/2-in wide to the following lengths: 3-1/2-in, 5-1/2-in, 7-1/4-in, and 9-1/4-in. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner across each template and measure along the line 1-1/2-in from both corners. Mark these as your screw locations by punching through the cardboard with a nail or scratch awl. Then, from 1-in x 4-in wood scraps, cut two spacers 5-in long.

Step 3

Mark and drill screw locations on horizontal slats
To give your clamps clearance, place two parallel 2-in x 4-in x 8-ft spacer boards edge-down on a floor about 6-ft apart. Add shims to make the boards level. Then lay the two vertical stiles (A) on the spacers 32-in apart and use a carpenter's square to make the ends flush (Sliding Panel Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Measure down 10-in from the top end of each stile and clamp a wide slat (B) in position. One end should be flush with the outside edge of a stile; the other end should overhang the opposite stile by 9-in. (We're showing how to make the left panel in a pair. To make the right panel, follow the same instructions, but place the slat overhang on the opposite side).

Step 4

Use the 7-1/4-in template to mark the screw locations where the slat covers the stiles, drill 7/64-in pilot holes, and drive the screws flush with the wood surface.
Good to Know
You'll need to drill dozens of pilot holes for this project, so consider investing in a set of drill bit depth-stop collars. Otherwise, wrap the bit with tape 1-1/4-in from the tip of the bit.

Step 5

Position the second slat on the stiles using spacers
Using scraps of 3/4-in-thick wood on edge as spacers, position the second wide slat (B) below the top one. Mark, drill, and screw the slat in place. Repeat for the remaining wide slat and the three narrow slats (C) on the upper section.

Step 6

Measure to ensure stiles are parallel
After adding the first three wide slats (B), double-check that the stiles (A) are still parallel by measuring diagonally from corner to corner. If both measurements are the same, the stiles are parallel.

Step 7

Screw narrow slats to panel stiles
Place two 5-in-long wood spacers below the narrow slat (C) to position the first of the center slats (D). Mark, drill, and screw a center slat to the stiles. Repeat for the second center slat. Use the 5-in spacer to position and fasten the narrow slat. Then add two wide slats 3/4-in apart.

Step 8

Clamp a 9-1/4-in-wide top slat (F) to the underside of the stiles with the top edge flush with the stile ends. Drill and screw the top slat to the stiles, taking care to not drill through the slat on what will be the front of the panel. (Screwing this part in place from the back side keeps the screw heads from showing after you install the panel.)

Step 9

Fasten the slat with roller hardware to the panel stiles
Position the roller-mounting board (E) upside down on the stiles with the top edge flush with the stile ends and mark the stile edge locations. Then place marks 1/4-in away from those marks toward the center of the board. Mark, drill, and bolt the roller hardware to the roller-mounting board (We replaced the bolts included with the rollers. By using 1/4-in x 1-1/2-in bolts, we were able to accommodate the top slats (F) that hide the roller-mounting board (E) and its fasteners). Flip the board again and screw it to the panel stiles.

Step 10

Screw underside slats to stiles
Clamp the center slats (D) in position on the undersides of the stiles using a 1-in x 4-in scrap to space it from the top center slats. Drill and screw them in place. Clamp a bottom slat (G) to the underside of the stiles with the bottom edge flush with the stile ends and screw it in place. Screw a second pair of stiles (A) to each of the slats using the cardboard guides flipped to their opposite faces to avoid driving a screw on top of another screw (Drawing 2). Then cut the bottom spacers (H) to fit and screw them in place.

Step 11

Attach back stiles to the backs of slats
Screw a second pair of stiles (A) to each of the slats using the cardboard guides flipped to their opposite faces to avoid driving a screw on top of another screw (Drawing 2). Then cut the bottom spacers (H) to fit and screw them in place.

Step 12

Screw the bottom board to the back stiles
Drill and screw three center slats (D), a top slat (F), and bottom slat (G) to the inside pair of stiles (A) to complete the panel (Drawing 3). Repeat for the second panel, making sure the overhang falls on the opposite stile. Add door aligners 1-in from the bottom of each panel (Drawing 4) and insert the rollers into the box rails according to the manufacturer's instructions.