I cannot express how excited I am about this door! I was literally jumping up and down when it was finally done and installed. This was one of my most frustrating but rewarding DIY projects yet. If you follow on Instagram, I’m sure you have seen pictures of the door already. I always commit one of the biggest blogger crimes and share my completed projects on social media before I have even written blog post. Oops!
Ever since the beginning of my Pinterest days I knew I would have a sliding barn door in our future home. When our house was being built and we chose the floor plan, we noticed there was no door between our master bedroom and master bathroom. It is actually common in new build master suites and I knew that this would be the perfect place for a barn door. We have lived in the house for almost a year with no separation between bedroom and bath (there is a door for the toilet, don’t worry), so there was actually no need for it. However, now that is installed I’m wondering why we didn’t do this sooner. I love it because its pretty and Joe likes the functionality. The door actually keeps our room cooler during the summer and blocks the sunlight that comes from a large window in the bathroom.
Okay so here is how I did it – we had some old fence boards from our old house that I made Joe save for me because I knew one day I could use them. I knew this weathered & light weight wood would be perfect for a door and I’ve used them before for shelves in our laundry room
. Since we moved to our new house they have been sitting in a pile getting more weathered, rustic, and beautiful, so I guess it turned out for the best that I waited a whole year to start this project. I browsed Pinterest for some inspiration on the design and I drew it out.
I went to Tractor Supply Co.
and bought the hanging hardware. They actually have everything you need and even have an example set up with everything labeled and explanations on how it works. All of the hardware was about $100.
I knew I would need a piece of wood to attach the boards to, so I measured the opening of the doorway and added an extra six inches or so for the sides. I went to Lowe’s and an employee helped me find a light piece of plywood. I didn’t want anything too heavy because of the extra weight with adding more wood and the height. Most sliding doors are probably standard door height, but this one needed to be eight feet tall! So here is mistake one – I was too impatient to wait until we could borrow a truck, so I had the wood cut down into two pieces that were 3×4 so they would fit in my car. When I got home and started attaching the wood it was just very wobbly. Joe picked up one side, I would pick of the other and it would bow in the middle because of the gap. It made me very uneasy and I didn’t want to continue on and adding more weight. Luckily I was only losing about fifteen bucks and I’m sure I will find something to make out of those unused pieces.
The next day I went back to Lowe’s again with a truck and had another piece of 1/2 inch plywood cut 3×8. This time around the plywood was extremely bowed! Every piece in the store seemed to be that way, and the employee tried to find me the straightest one. After I got it home, dragging my feet and pouting because I was sure I’d just wasted another fifteen dollars, Joe had the idea to leave it out in the sun for a day or so to kink out the bowing. It worked!
I quickly got to work and started by putting two pieces of horizontal wood on the top and bottom on the door. These pieces are also fence board, that I bought on my first trip to Lowe’s for about two dollars. Its a a little thicker in width than the existing boards we had. I knew I would need something stronger and wider that I could attach the hanging hardware to. I attached them with screws that I thought were wood screws, so this was my mistake two. I laid my first piece of reclaimed wood at and angle from the bottom of the board to the center of the door to begin my pattern. I used my T-square from my drafting days to mark a straight line and used a jigsaw to cut the wood.
I repeated the same steps for the other side and continued with the diagonal side first. This part was easy and went fairly quickly. I just laid it out, marked a straight line and cut. After I had a about three or so cut, I would screw them down. I used my T-square again to line up all the screws that they were straight all the way down.
The pictures are very bright, it was early morning and I worked until noon. My mistake number three was not wearing any sunblock and I got the worst sunburn on my shoulders, back, and arms that I’ve ever had. It was horrible. I didn’t realize it at the time because once I got a rhythm going with measuring and cutting each board, I was able to complete the whole door. Joe came home from work and helped move the door over into the shade. It was at that point I realized the screws weren’t working very well as some of the reclaimed wood popped off the plywood. Joe looked at the box of screws and noticed they were supposed be used with metal. Mistake number four. Ugh. Another three trips to Lowe’s and many different size screws later, I finally came up with another solution and found some brown finishing nails. With the nails I was able to attach the boards in the middle, sides, and every corner without them being noticeable. This also helped in the center of the door with my herringbone pattern.
There is nail about every three inches on the sides of each board. The nail head is so small and painted brown that it is almost impossible to spot them. Before, I continued on we tested out the “nail theory” by picking up the door again and none of the boards popped! I was so happy, I finished nailing all the boards that night. I did it the old fashioned way with a hammer and I’m sure it helped me get all my aggression out on my earlier failures. While I was doing this, Joe helped by taking out what was left of the screws.
Next, I sanded down the door to clean it up some and prepare the new wood for stain. Here is my mistake number four – once I sanded it all down with my mouse sander, the paint from the nail heads was gone. The sandpaper took it right off and now you can see the metal nailhead on all the nails. Oh well. I used Minwax Classic Gray, Weathered Gray & Special Walnut stain to match up the new wood with the old. I use stain almost like paint sometimes to match up colors. I also stained the back of the door, knowing the back can be seen from inside the bathroom.
After the stain dried, it was time to attach the hardware. The instructions are a little hard to follow, so I actually referred to another blog The Accent Piece
and their DIY Sliding Barn Door tutorial. It helped me a lot with things I didn’t understand, like how to put the hanging hardware together – it should look like this:
I measured six inches inward from each side and marked it. Then I marked the three square holes where I pre drilled the wood. I inserted the bolts and tightened the nuts on the back. I should have taken more pictures during this part, but I was so anxious to get it finished.
Then it was time to bring it inside. This sucker is heavy. Actually it probably only weighs about 90 pounds (the hardware can hold up to 250) but because it is so tall its almost impossible to carry. But remember I’m impatient. So I carried this sucker inside all by myself. I propped it up in the doorway to just make sure everything was going to fit. I used a stud finder to find three studs in the wall and pre drilled the holes. When Joe came home from work, he helped me finish installing the box rail and then he hung the door. This part was a little tricky too. Its so heavy it took both of us and the wheels have to be lined up just right in order for it to slide in. A few bangs with a hammer and we got the first wheels in and the second wheels followed right behind. Then Joe installed the end caps. It slides very easily, but here was my mistake number five – the door was kind of dragging on the carpet. It was fine, but we knew that after awhile it would really wear the carpet down. We should of installed the box rail just a couple inches higher. Instead of taking it all down, patching holes, and drilling new holes I grabbed the jigsaw and Joe cut an inch or so off the bottom of the door while it was hanging. I was holding the door at this point, so again no pictures of that part.
Our door is only an inch thick and we have no door moldings, so attaching the box rail to the wall directly worked for us. Most tutorials will have a piece of wood on the wall to allow for a gap. However, we did notice the door scuffing up our baseboard. So I went to Lowe’s and got some rollers that are used for closet doors. I think they were only two dollars and I installed them. They are only an inch thick so the door is still straight and doesn’t swing back against the baseboard.
Here is the view of the back of the door and the hanging hardware bolts. I got lucky that these also don’t scratch up the wall. If they did, I had a plan to just use the jigsaw and cut of the excess. We also didn’t need a handle for the front or back of the door. I didn’t want a handle to distract from the design of the door, and on the backside there is a wide enough gap that we can fit our hands through and slide the door just fine.
This was the first major project for our master bedroom makeover and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Like any DIY project, at times it wasn’t easy but it all worked out in the end. Next, I will begin painting and I have plans for some new nightstands and lamps. Can’t wait to share!
Are you going to tackle a sliding door? Have any questions? I’d love to hear from you!