Are you thinking of installing a sliding barn door in your home? Barn doors are all the rage these days and the trend doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon. Before you start installing your sliding barn door read about my project and the mistakes I made so that you don’t make them too.
How not to install a sliding barn door
Last spring I renovated my master bathroom. Everything turned out great but there was one thing I forgot to take into consideration. After I installed the brick floor I noticed that because the floor was higher in the bathroom than in the master bedroom the bathroom door wouldn’t move when I tried to swing it inward. The new floor was blocking the door because it was thicker than the floor in the adjacent room.
I removed the door and planned on installing a sliding barn door at the bathroom entrance.
It seemed like such a simple idea. Just attach a barn door track and screw a door onto the rail guides and we would have easy access to the bathroom and privacy when we needed it.
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I purchased this door track off Amazon last summer and then procrastinated for about 9 months before I finally got around to installing it. Luckily we have another bathroom in the house that we can use that has a working door.
You will probably need to install a header board
Most sliding barn door kits will come with large bolts, screws and anchors.
Even with the anchors you might still need some extra reinforcement. Think of it this way: would you trust the track to stay on the wall if your kids decide they want to hang off the door?
I originally installed the track into the wall but realized that I didn’t think it would hold up over time. Our drywall is not very strong for hanging regular things, let alone a heavy door, even with the anchors holding the bolts into the drywall.
I purchased a 1×6 pine board from Home Depot and cut it down to 7 ft with my chop saw. I predrilled 5/16 holes (same size as the bolts that came with the kit) and then screwed it into the wall. I made sure to add extra screws into the areas of the wall where there were studs.
After I put the track back on it was time to put the door on.
The sliding door will need to be wider and longer than your door frame
I had originally planned to build my own door with wood but I really wanted to get this project done and not spend another 6 months planning on how I would build a door.
I decided to re-use the hollow core door that was in use before I renovated the bathroom.
The problem with this was that once it was on the track it wasn’t quite wide enough. You want an overlap of at least 2 inches on each side and since my door was built to fit inside the opening there is a little gap that you can see through if you look at an angle.
This isn’t a huge issue for me. It’s not the main bathroom that guests use and my husband and I will probably be the only ones using it. Since the bathroom is attached to the craft room and at the back of the house, no one will be randomly walking by and the door to the craft room out to the hall can be closed and locked for extra privacy.
I will eventually build a new door and I will make sure to make it extra wide for maximum privacy
Measure your holes according to the instructions
The instructions for the sliding door track had very specific instructions on where to drill holes. Since I was reusing the door I eyeballed the measurements.
Don’t do this.
The first time I drilled the holes too low and there wasn’t space between the top of the door and where the rollers would go on the track. This meant that I actually couldn’t get it on the track.
I had to redrill the holes. If it had been a brand new door, it would have been ruined. I may not have been so blasé about drilling the holes if it had been a nice new door- but still. Measure twice, drill once.
Now, lets talk about the pattern on the door.
The pattern on the door is actually peel and stick tiles. I thought it would be as simple as peeling off the backing and sticking them onto the door. The tiles would hide the extra holes and imperfections in the door as well as the hole where the door knob used to be
I was wrong. Instead after I pressed all the tiles on and hung the door they started falling off within an hour.
I took the door down and used some construction adhesive unfortunately the next day they started falling off again!
The original adhesive was Liquid Nails. I was using the leftovers from a previous project so it’s possible that it was just old.
I ended up using Loctite PL Premium Quick Grab adhesive and it worked like a charm.
On the opposite side of the door I used old floor tiles we had left over from another project. I had to use the Loctite adhesive for these tiles as well.
The only thing left were the handles. I found some old cabinet handles in my stash and glued them on with construction adhesive.
Overall this project cost me $40 for the sliding barn door hardware and $20 for the peel and stick tile. I do plan on building a replacement door out of wood but this door is good enough in the meantime.
I’m glad I got to practice on this door and make all my mistakes. Now when I eventually install my new door I will know what to do and more importantly what NOT to do.
What do you think of my sliding door? Have you ever installed one? Let me know your tips in the comments.