Customize a sliding door to fit your room. Then hang it using sturdy barn-door hardware to provide years of trouble-free use.
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A sliding, or barn-style, door is a creative way to separate two living spaces and add privacy with style. Here are things to consider for this project and the installation basics.
Consider the space where you would like to add a door. Is there room next to the door equal to the door opening itself for the door to slide over? Is the sliding area clear of light switches, outlets, air vents, windows, or doors?
How often will you use the door? Much like a pocket door, these doors function best when they’ll remain open or closed most of the time. Otherwise, a swinging door may be a better choice.
Follow the downloadable guidelines (Project Diagram, Drawing 1) to determine the best door size. Stock doors are available up to 36 inches wide and 80 inches tall. For an opening up to 72 inches wide, place a door on each side of the opening. You can also special order doors in larger sizes. The final option is to build your own door and finish it to suit your decor.
For a standard single door, first account for any casing around the opening. The door width should be 2 inches wider than the opening, or at least as wide as the full opening plus any casing. For the height of the door, measure from the finished floor to the top of the opening, or to the top of the casing.
Read the following section for steps to hang the door.
For openings where you are going to use two doors instead of one, divide the new calculated door width by two; the height remains the same as for a single door.
Most installations will require a hanger board or ledger on the wall to mount the door track; it also creates space for the new sliding door away from the wall to clear the trim. Cut a board twice as long as the door width (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). A 2 x 6 will work for most homes, it should be at least as thick as the trim.
The track comes in stock lengths, if you choose; you can leave the track full length or cut it to the desired length with a hack saw. If you choose not to cut the track, the hanger board will need to match its length.
Mount the board 2 inches above the door opening or above the top of the door casing -- check the hardware manufacturer’s instructions for additional requirements. Secure the hanger board to wall studs with flathead screws driven slightly below the surface of the wood.
Fill the screw heads with wood filler and paint the hanger board to match the wall color. The board can also receive a clear finish, or be stained to match the door.
Purchase a track the length of the hanger board (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). When hanging a double door, use either one continuous track or two equal lengths with the joint centered over the door opening (Project Diagram, Drawing 3).
For the hangers, you will install a hanger bracket that connects the two rails, or use two hanger brackets. Install three brackets for a single door, five for a double door, or six if there’s no connector bracket. Slip the brackets onto the track and then hang the track with the bottom of the track even with the bottom of the hanger board. Fasten the brackets with the manufacturer’s recommended hardware.
Adjust the hanger hardware to level the door in the opening. The door should have 1 inch of clearance between the bottom of the door and the finished flooring.
Mount the roller hardware on the door and place the rollers into or on the track. At each end of the track install the roller stops, then adjust the stops to align the operation of the door with your opening.
Add handles for sliding the door. On the track side, a full handle works best. On the other side, drill for a recessed cup pull that will clear the door opening or trim when you slide the door open.