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How to Build a Sliding Barn Door (page 1 of 2)

Construct a sliding barn door with character and DIY charm for less than $100!

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Rustic Home Office
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty



Choose the Location and Door

Determine the location, work required to prepare the existing opening or create a new opening* and door style. Cross buck doors emulate a vintage design, but old swing doors also make an incredible statement. The door needs to be least 2" wider and 1" taller than an existing cased opening. If creating a new opening, beef up the door or pad out the opening with wider trim. The vintage swing door used in this project could easily be found for about $50 at a yard sale or architectural salvage location.

*DIY tip: When installing a new opening, be sure to check with a structural engineer, architect or licensed builder to ensure that the proper headers are installed for load-bearing walls. For non-bearing partition walls, use at least a double 2x6 on which to mount the track.

For door shown, the original glass window was removed. A new window was cut 1/8" smaller than the opening, installed with clear silicon on the perimeter and framed in the original window trim. All door hardware was removed and saved for other projects. Straight blade razors were used to scrape away the old paint* and to give the door an ultra-smooth finish. The door was then rubbed with a furniture-grade paste wax. Clear polyurethane sealer could also be used.

*DIY tip: Be careful when working with items painted prior to 1979, as they might contain lead-based paint. Be sure to consult the EPA's Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools pamphlet before disturbing any paint that could contain lead. Building materials produced prior to 1983 should also be tested for asbestos. Contact a local building official for exact requirements.

The vintage door shown was only about 1" thick and smaller than the door opening. The door’s width and height were increased by installing salvaged 2x4s around the perimeter. Additional wood also produced a second color tone and place to mount hardware. The 2x4s were rabbeted out for the door thickness, glued, finish nailed and clamped overnight.

Select the Wheels

For project shown, cast-iron wheels were sourced at a local metal salvage yard for $10 apiece. These wheels were originally mounted to the face of a door and rode on a floor-mounted half-round piece of metal track. Although rusty, the wheels were still fully operational and revealed a nice black oxide patina when brushed with a wire wheel. Rust behind the wheel added an interesting color tone. DIY hangers were required to top mount (hang) the door.

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