How to Measure for a Sliding Barn Door


A sliding barn door seems like a door with simple and self explanatory function.  No sweat right?

The function of the sliding door is relatively straightforward.  However, the planning and considerations that precede a barn door are a bit more challenging to ensure that the door functions properly and looks good aesthetically once it is hung.  Prior to putting a sliding barn door in your home there are multiple factors to consider.  Many of these considerations are covered in another post here: Intro to Sliding Barn Doors.

Once you’ve narrowed your selections it is time to measure for your sliding barn door. Here is the most simple and straight forward guide but if you still have questions – the rest of the blog post covers how to measure for a sliding barn in detail.


Measuring Door Width

Measuring door width is important to make sure that your door fully covers the door opening, and provides adequate privacy.

With Molding

If your door opening has molding, you will need to purchase a door wide enough to cover the molding. To measure the width, use a measuring tape, and measure horizontally from the outside edge of the molding, to the outside edge on the other side of the door. 

This is the minimum measurement, but you can choose to go wider for a different look. Just keep in mind that this will require more wall space and extra track length (we will discuss how to measure for these later).

Certain types of moldings may not be compatible with sliding barn doors. The molding must stick out less than 1” from the wall. If you have a decorative molding that sticks out further, you won’t be able to properly install a sliding barn door. Why? The thicker molding requires the door to be spaced out further from the wall, which creates a much larger gap and eliminates privacy. Not only is this less functional, but it is much less aesthetically pleasing.

Without Molding

If there is no molding, measure the horizontal width of the door opening and add 2-4” of width – this is your minimum width measurement for door openings without molding. Why add width? Because there is a gap between the door and the wall, and the extra width gets rid of that space and eliminates the sight line, adding privacy. When a door opening has molding around it, the molding does the job of eliminating the gap and blocking the sight line.

How to determine your barn door width

To determine how wide your door should be, measure

To determine how wide your door should be, measure the opening from one side to the other.

If your door has molding frames, you will need to measure the distance between the outside edges of the molding.

Lastly, you need to add 2″ (two inches) to your width measurement. The extra inches will ensure that you will have privacy and no gaps when closing your sliding barn door. 


Barn door width measurement example

Let's take a look at another example of how to det

Let’s take a look at another example of how to determine the width of your sliding barn door.

In this example, the opening has no molding. The distance between the edges of the door opening is 36,” and we will add 2″ (two inches) to that measurement (one inch for each size): 36″ + 2″ = 38″ 

In this example, the barn door should be 38″ inches wide.


Need more explanation? Casing or No Casing That is the question?

First you need to determine whether or not there is casing (often referred to as trim) around your opening or if it is simply a sheetrocked door opening.  This is the most important detail to get started as it will affect the size of your barn door.  It is possible that your opening has been sheetrocked all the way around and does not have a jamb or casing.  This is very common in new construction. Below are a couple images of each instance that illustrate the difference between a sheetrocked or cased opening.

Measuring For Bypass Doors

Measuring For Bypass Doors

Measuring for bypass doors is relatively straightforward, the major difference being the depth of the doors.

Door Height: This is the same process as measuring for single or double doors.

Door Width: Bypass barn doors are typically configured so that two doors cover one door opening, where there isn’t enough wall space to fully open the doors. In this scenario, measure the width of the door frame (to the outside edge of the molding if you have it). If there is no molding, add 2-4” of width to add extra privacy. Now take your total width measurement and divide by two – this will give you the width of each bypass door.

Depth: Depth is a measurement where bypass doors are different than single or double doors. Because one door slides in front of the other, the doors will stick farther out from the wall. The typical measurement from the wall to the outside edge of the front door is 5.5” so make sure there aren’t any obstacles in the way.


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