Should You Install Sliding Barn Doors? Factors to Consider

Should You Install Sliding Barn Doors? Factors to Consider

Barn-Door Basics

Mount The Track In One Of Three Ways

1. Install solid 2x blocking behind the finished wall for mounting the track. For this method, order the track with the holes already drilled. This is the method the author used and ensures that the mounting screws are spaced evenly along the track.

2. Securely fasten a length of solid stock to the finished wall, and mount the track to the stock. The stock also acts as the head casing. For this method, you also should order the track with the holes drilled.

3. Mount the track directly to the wall studs. For this installation, you should order the track without the holes drilled. Instead, you’ll need to locate the studs and then drill the track yourself to match the stud locations. It’s unlikely that the holes will be spaced evenly.


Calculate The Correct Track Length

The length of the track varies with the style of hardware. With the author’s hardware and door combination, it’s twice the width of the opening, plus the width of one side casing, plus an extra 1⁄2 in. on each side. This extra 1⁄2 in. allows the door to be flush with the edge of the casing when closed and allows the hanger to be centered on the stile.

Match The Standoffs To The Casing

The standoffs included with the hardware package space the door away from the wall so that it can slide without hitting the casing. The standoff length is specified when you order the hardware. Here, the author chose 2-in.-long standoffs, a common length because it works well with a 1-3⁄4-in.-thick door and 5/4-in.-thick casing. Lag screws mount the track to the wall through the standoffs and are finished to match the track. The hardware manufacturer matches the screw length to the length of the standoffs, but thick wall coverings or unusually constructed walls may require longer screws.

Properly Position The Bottom Guide

The bottom guide is included with the hardware. When it’s in the right spot, half of the guide’s length is exposed when the door is fully open or fully closed. This prevents the door from swinging on the track and makes it easy to remove the door.



Nathan installed the Z-Bar Knotty Alder Wood Interior Sliding Barn Door Slab with Hardware Kit that can be found at The Home Depot. The kit comes with all the materials required to assemble and hang the door, though Nathan choose to add additional 3/4 inch stock in this application because the wall was not plumb and the door would have hit the baseboard otherwise.

For a finish, Nathan and Stephanie stained the door using a water based stain by Minwax. Both the stain and the rags and brushes needed to apply it can be found at home centers.

Things You’ll Need

  • Barn doors
  • Washers and bolts (come with barn doors)
  • Mounting boards
  • Dry wall fasteners
  • Joint brackets
  • Drill
  • Spacers
  • Bolts
  • Goggles
  • Hanger roller

What you need


Locate The Hardware

Stand up the door. First, cut the door to length so that it’s 1⁄4 in. below the track and 1⁄2 in. above the finished floor. Next, shim it plumb, and place the rollers on the track. Center the mounting brackets in the door’s stiles, and trace the screw holes for drilling.

Installation Steps

1. Door Assembly

Most sliding barn doors come pre-assembled, but there are instances where they may not (like if you order an unfinished door). Board and batten doors are a type of sliding barn door that frequently arrive in pieces and need assembly. White Shanty board and batten doors are grooved for easy installation, and have specific instructions for assembly.

If you have an unfinished door that you plan on finishing, you should do this before the door is assembled, or before you mount hardware and install the door.

2. Install Rollers On Door

The first step in sliding barn door installation is mounting the rollers to the door. This process is different depending on whether you have face mount or top mount roller hardware.

Face Mount Rollers

Face mount rollers have a strap that extends down and mounts to the front of the door. White Shanty doors will have two rollers on each door, and each roller is secured by two lag bolts. You will need to measure and drill holes for the lag bolts.

First, measure 2-½” in from the side of the door and lightly draw a vertical line with a pencil. This is the centerline for the two bolt holes. It’s helpful to use an L-square to make sure your line is parallel with the edge of the door.

Next, determine the vertical position of the bolt holes. Position the roller strap on the door so that the holes in the roller strap are centered over the centerline you just drew. Slide the roller strap so that there is a 2-½” gap between the top of the door and the bottom of the roller wheel. When the roller strap is correctly positioned, use a pencil to mark the two bolt holes on the centerline.

 Repeat this process on the other side of the door (left or right depending which side you started on). Once you have marked all four bolt holes, and double checked your measurements, use a ⅜” drill bit to drill through the door. Now you can use the included hex bolts, washers and nuts to bolt the roller strap to the door.

Top Mount Rollers

With top mount rollers, the roller strap is bent 90 degrees to mount to the top of the door. First, measure 2-½” in from the edge of the door and lightly mark it with a pencil. This is where the top roller mount will be centered. Next, find the center of the roller mount and mark it with a pencil too. If the roller mount is 3” wide, the center point will be 1-½” from either side.

Position the top roller mount on the top of the door and align the two marks you made. Ensure the roller mount is aligned horizontally and equal distance from the front and back of the door. Once the mount is positioned correctly, use a pencil to mark the bolt holes. Repeat this process for the other (left or right) side of the door.


Once you’ve marked your bolt holes, use a 3/16” drill bit to drill holes that are 2-½” deep. Now you can use the included lag bolts to attach the roller mounts to the top of the door.

3. Installing The Wall Track

To install the wall track, you will first need to drill holes in the track itself for the lag bolts that will mount the track to the wall. The lag bolts should be an equal distance apart to distribute the weight of the door. The number of bolts, as well as distance and placement will depend on the length of the track, which varies based on your door configuration.

Depending on the length of the track, it may be shipped in two sections, which you will need to connect using the included track coupler. Position the track coupler and use a ⅜” drill bit to drill holes for the cap screws and nuts.

You will also need to measure for the door stops, which prevent the door from sliding off the end of the track. These should be placed 2” in from the end of the track, on each side.

Once you have determined the placement of the holes for both the door stops and the lag bolts, use a ⅜” drill bit to drill the holes. Now you can mount the door stops using the included cap screws, washers and nuts.

Next you will need to determine the height at which to mount the track. This will need to be measured in the field. Generally speaking, to ensure ½” of ground clearance, the track should be installed so that the center of the track is on a level line that is equal to the height of the door plus 2-½”. You will also need to position the track horizontally so that the closed door fully covers the door opening.

Most importantly, the track needs to be mounted securely, and the lag bolts must be secured into wall studs. When mounting the track, secure it to the wall by using the included lag bolts and spacers.

4. Hanging The Door

Sliding barn doors are heavy and bulky, and you will need help to hang one. Together, grab the side of the door, lift it, and position the rollers on the track.

5. Guide And Anti Jump Lock

Once the door is hung, you can install the guides and jump locks. The jump locks bolt to the top of the door and prevent the door from jumping up and coming off the track. Position the jump locks on the top edge of the door so the top of the jump lock is ⅛” below the bottom of the track, and secure them using the included wood screws.

There are two types of door guides: U-shaped and LThere are two types of door guides: U-shaped and L-shaped. Both serve the same purpose, which is to ensure the door can only move left and right on the track, and prevent forward and backward movement.

U-shaped guides come in 2 pieces and have a vertical piece on each side of the door. To mount these, position them on the floor and slide the door between them to ensure a close fit without any rubbing. The door’s natural hanging position will dictate placement of the stops.

Mark the position, move the door out of the way and attach them to the floor using an appropriate fastener (these are not included due to the wide variety of floor materials).

L-shaped floor guides use a spine that fits inside a groove along the bottom of the door, and are effectively hidden from view. To install these, position them on the floor and slide the door over to ensure correct placement.

Do sliding barn doors work in your home?

You should always take into consideration your home style before embarking on any home renovation project. Traditional barn doors can look great in a farmhouse style, coastal, or even traditional home. However, if you install them in a mid-century or modern home, they will look seriously out of place. There are also lots of different types of sliding barn doors offering a different look. For example, a more minimalist home might benefit from metal French-style sliding barn doors, while a modern home would be better suited with a more streamlined metal.

Is your door header proportionate?

Is your door header proportionate?

Before tackling this DIY barn door project, you need to keep in mind that a proportionate header is key, suggests Hum. A header is a solid piece of wood that basically anchors your barn door, helping to distribute the weight of the door and adding stability. It also adds aesthetic value.

“When detailing the opening, a proportionate header is key for decorative hardware,” Hum noted. “I find a simple block-finished edge without extra decorative trim is easiest to achieve, and it creates a clean, modern-cased opening for the barn door to be the main accent.”

Barn doors can weigh up to 200 pounds (or even more), so headers are also important for sturdiness. Mount the header to wall studs (and make sure there are wall studs at every interval on your track).



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