DIY Barn door hardware

Post by Paisley Hansen for the Kind Kindred series.

inage courtesy of Wikipedia

Barn door hardware is popping up all over the place in home design. Retailers everywhere from the big box stores to online specialty shops are selling barn door hardware kits. These prefabricated products can cost from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. For the handy homeowner however, doing it yourself is inexpensive and you can easily customize this project to suit your space.

First things first, what is barn door hardware? Until recently, barn doors were found only on (wait for it) barns! These doors are characterized by a track above the door opening on which the door slides or rolls. Some styles have caster rollers on the bottom of the doors while others are free hanging. They are typically rustic or industrial in their appearance although some high end kits feature stainless steel, glass and even mirrors. Since these doors do not swing out, they are a great option for small spaces. Barn doors are also a decorative way to connect and/or separate common areas in a home.

There are many DIY tutorials online, but basically you need a door and the materials for the track system. Before jumping into this project, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Will the wall support the hanging door? Typical doors are supported in the wall with a frame, but barn doors place weight on the wall surface. A homeowner needs to be certain the wall and the barn door track system will hold the weight of the rolling door. 
  2. What is the purpose of the door? Barn doors usually leave a gap between the wall and the door. This is not optimal for rooms in which privacy is desired. If these doors are used on say, a bathroom, the homeowner will want to get the best possible fit in the doorway and attach some sort of latch on the inside. 
  3. What look am I going for? The homeowner needs to assess the space and decide the best design for the barn doors. Any design scheme can be enhanced with these doors, but knowing up front your desired outcome makes this project much easier and more efficient. 
  4. Is this something I can live with for a long time? Before fully committing to barn doors, decide if they are something you will be happy with for several years. If these doors are replacing existing doors, the door opening will have to be repaired where there were holes for hinges and door stops. The door header may require modification to support the weight of the track system. The whole process is reversed when (if) you decide to take it down. 
  5. What are the actual logistics of the hardware? This step is the nuts and bolts of the project. Measuring the door opening and height of the track system, purchasing or making the hardware, and making final design decisions are all necessary before beginning this project. Having a clear idea of what you want and determining what is needed to make that happen will make this a much more enjoyable experience for the installer. 

So, DIY barn doors, are they for you? If you love the look and have the skill to make it happen, go for it! Do some research online for tutorials and tips. Some people have built a barn door system for less than a hundred dollars. The great thing about doing it yourself is that you can completely personalize your barn doors and have the satisfaction of adding character to your home without hiring a contractor.

Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty and fashion. 
When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym..

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