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Make sliding barn doors using skateboard wheels.

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Picture of Make sliding barn doors using skateboard wheels.
     While building a couple of sheds (okay, glorified yard barns) I wanted to equip one of them with sliding type barn doors.   I like the look of sliding doors and they are very practical for a shed, allowing a much wider access opening than a normal door.   But I developed a bad case of sticker shock after visiting my local building outlets to check out the cost of hardware I would need for such a project.   The cheapest place I could find was Tractor Supply, and even there the price for just the barn door hardware (not the doors themselves) ran from $246 to $326 depending on how fancy I wanted it to look. 
     So I began to snoop around for some sort of alternative I could fabricate myself.  And the biggest obstacle for the any DIY approach sliding doors turned out to be the wheels/rollers.   I needed something study enough to take abuse, made for exterior use, would roll smoothly, and wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.   While prowling around in my shop for something like that I happened to stumble on my son’s old skateboard.  And the wheels looked like a perfect candidate for the job.
     After a few minutes price shopping on-line, I ordered a set of 4 skateboard wheels and bearings from Newclue Inc. via Amazon.   The total price of the wheels shipped to my door was $17.35.
     Next I needed a rail for the wheels to glide on.   I found the solution in the electrical department at Home Depot.  It’s called Superstrut and a 10' length sells for $15.   It’s a three sided channel of heavy gauge galvanized steel.  Unfortunately it didn’t come in 12' lengths, which is what I could have best used, so I had to purchase two ten footers for $30.  To provide a little additional strength I decided to top off the Superstrut with two 6 foot lengths of 1x1 angle iron at a cost of $26.  I doubt this extra precaution was necessary and the rail could be built without it.
     The hangers themselves are fairly simple.   1 ½" x 1/8" flat stock steel was bent into a U shape and then drilled to accommodate the axles for the wheels/rollers.   I bought two 4' lengths of the flat stock from Orchard Supply for a total of $18.    The other miscellaneous nuts and bolts I used  came to $3.
     My finished sliding barn door hardware cost a grand total of $95.  Yes, it is quite a bit more than simple hinges and a hasp lock, but it is also well under the very cheapest commercial price of $246 for barn door sliders.
     Here is how I fabricated the barn door skateboard rollers.
 
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essstar17 hours ago
Did this project two summers ago. Thanks again for the awesome and cost-effective solution.
photo-2015-04-26, 14:20.jpgphoto-2015-04-26, 14:20.jpgphoto-2015-04-26, 14:20.jpg
GeorgeG71 month ago

I can not find this particular wheel (or other vendor with similar size) on Amazon. I can find the correct height, but not the correct width. Do you by any chance have the part number from Newclue? You mentioned almost any wheel works, but most of the ones I am finding are quite wide. I assume at some point, i would lose stability. Thanks for the help and the directions are great!

dewey302 (author)  GeorgeG71 month ago
My invoice from Newclue says Item # 280722030363 and the description line reads "50mm Black Skateboard wheels and bearings set ABEC-3 Deck Skateboards Decks". Hope that helps.
That's a great idea! I am building a shed/tiny home in the woods. I plan on using a sliding barn door like yours. Any thoughts on waterproofing the door? Thanks!
dewey302 (author)  Dropzonebum 1 month ago
Waterproofing and weatherproofing would be quite a challenge with this type of door. If you need a tight seal (for habitation) I'm thinking a french door type design might be something to consider (assuming you want/need the extra width). Maybe some other Instructable commenters will have a better suggestion.
JadeG12 months ago

It’s a three sided channel of heavy gauge galvanized steel.
Unfortunately it didn’t come in 12' lengths, which is what I could have
best used, so I had to purchase two ten footers for

<a
href="http://barndoorhardwarekit.net/"> barn door hardware
kits</a>

JadeG12 months ago

It’s a three sided channel of heavy gauge galvanized steel.
Unfortunately it didn’t come in 12' lengths, which is what I could have
best used, so I had to purchase two ten footers for

<a
href="http://barndoorhardwarekit.net/"> barn door hardware
kits</a>

JadeG12 months ago

It’s a three sided channel of heavy gauge galvanized steel.
Unfortunately it didn’t come in 12' lengths, which is what I could have
best used, so I had to purchase two ten footers for

<a
href="http://barndoorhardwarekit.net/"> barn door hardware
kits</a>

LynneK1 made it!3 months ago

I LOVE your idea of using skateboard wheels! I wrote a barn door track tutorial on my blog right here http://www.lynneknowlton.com/diy-door-track-hardwa...

It's a free tutorial if you want to have a look. We couldn't find wheels anywhere, and ended up having our wooden wheels made by the local Amish. They are super pretty. So many people asked me about them, I now sell the wooden wheels on my blog.

I have had some people on my site mention skateboard wheels, but I have never seen them installed. LOVE your pics! Some of my readers have even made wheels from hockey pucks. LOL. We are definitely Canadian :)

It's crazy how expensive door track hardware can be if you don't make it yourself. I have seen some of it get as high as $800. Wowsers!

Cheers!!

Lynne from Design The Life You Want To Live blog xx

barn door hardware16.pngbarn door hardware23.pngbarn door hardware28.png

What is the mm on the wheels

dewey302 (author)  mike.blount.58114 months ago

As noted in Step One, the wheels are 2" in diameter (50-52mm). Virtually any size wheel will work just fine.

ggarnier1 year ago
Nice! Should be smooth and really quiet. Any concern about water collecting in the track?

We use this type of rail at work to support electrical conduit. It is also called Uni-Strut and comes in two sizes. Junior uni-strut 7/8" tall, which is what dewey302 is using, and regular, which is approximately 1 3/4" tall. Both of them will last 20+ years in an industrial environment.

dewey302 (author)  ggarnier1 year ago
We live in the Central Valley of CA so rain/water is not something we have to contend with all that much. The C-channel is also very open, allowing for evaporation, so I don't think standing water would be much of an issue even in wet climates. If it is of concern or if it turns out to be a problem in some climates, you could drill a few weep holes in the bottom edge of the channel for the water to escape.
csmith2041 year ago

Are your doors just 2X12's on a sheet of wood with 2X4 framing? This idea looks great. Hopefully replication is as easy as you make it look!

dewey302 (author)  csmith2041 year ago

The doors are made of 1x8 tongue and groove siding material (same material that covers the shed itself - Home Depot or Lowes) screwed onto a 7/16" OSB panel and then trimmed around the edges with 1x4 material nailed in place. However, I would not recommend making your doors this way...at least not in geographic areas of intense heat/sun. Or at the very minimum SCREW the trim pieces in place rather than nailing them. The OSB tends to warp, as does the trim, and over time the trim nails will pop loose in spots. After a year in the direct sun of Central Valley, CA, my trim has begun to separate from the door and I am going to have to rebuild them to remedy the situation. Just haven't gotten around to that project quite yet.

I learned from my brother to use 'deck screws' on everything....they don't work loose...
I mean everything...inside and out...

KCSCAMP1 year ago

Exactly what I need!! so many many thanks...
yes, I too had sticker shock when pricing 'real' barn door hardware!!
I want to make a pair for inside...using nicely silvered deck wood that was used on my mom's ramp & deck....good memories when I think of her(not that she is gone)

This will be in a 12' wide older mobile home...I am certain I will be needing to do some extra prep work to be able to safely hang them...
These will be put at the 4' wide arched opening into what used to be a small bedroom...it will usually be open. unless I am lucky enough to have a guest.

damianzuch1 year ago

Ha! I wish I had seen this Instructable! I just attempted a sliding door system but, like you, reeled back in sticker shock when I saw the hardware price. In fact, I gave up on hanging hardware and placed casters under the door instead (

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Big-Metal-Riveted-Sliding-Door-for-the-mad-/) but I had really wanted a hanging door, sooo.... I may go back and revisit the project. Thanks, really great Instructable!

melip1 year ago

Has anyone thought about making this into a "bypass" door with two tracks (similar to a glass shower door)? This would be great for a shed that needs the entire side to be accessible. Any tips?

like the new phrase "sticker shock". FYIthe channel is "uni strut(UK) available indiffrnt sizes and almost certainly cheaper from an electrical supplies wholesaler, also useful brackets etc etc tosuitl hope this is helpful. WWW
karmagurl1 year ago
if anyone has adapted this plan to closet doors-- specifically, shoji screen doors, could you please post? it's exactly what I have in mind, but I'm not savvy enough to figure it out.....
essstar1 year ago
Thanks for the tutorial. I'm attempting to build a very similar setup for my tool shed. I will post pics once it's done.
ledshed1 year ago
Nice. I've done something similar using the 'C' hooking onto a the same bar attached to the door. No wheels so needs to be kept clean and greased.
velorna1 year ago
I so love this!!!! I was trying to figure this out for shelving I made in my kitchen.... This wouldn't have worked for it because my shelf wasn't strong enough to Handel your materials... But you have my wheels turning again and I want sliding doors for my future pantry and other rooms.I love love love
Excellent and ingenious work! I have skateboard wheels set aside for a similar project, but hadn't thought of the security of having the bracket behind the rails. Thanks for sharing!
XboxModz1 year ago
I was wondering something. Would this project work with the hardware and doors mounted on the inside of the barn instead of the outside? I think that would look much cleaner.
dewey302 (author)  XboxModz1 year ago
I think it would work. But keep in mind that all the wall space the doors will take up is space you can't use for benches, shelving or hanging stuff from the walls. So it would come down to personal taste and how you might want to utilize the insides of your shed/barn/building.
or make the doors slide between an inner and outer wall. i.e. it is 3 layers - outer wall, door, inner wall. the walls don't have to be thick. marine ply.
Tinworm1 year ago
I don't understand the need for the Superstrut. Surely, all you need is the angle iron? What am I missing?
dewey302 (author)  Tinworm1 year ago
I built the rollers and hung the doors first just using the angle iron and it deflected quite noticeably under the weight of the door. I then tried the superstrut and it did not deflect.
Ah, I see. Well that makes sense. Had similar problems myself. But worth mentioning on your instructable that you don't need a superstrut, as such....but just a length of anything that does not deflect.

I really like your sliding doors concept.
ccwenk1 year ago
In the end, it looks like you could eliminate the superstrut and just use the angle... Definitely wouldn't be any issue of length availability then.
dewey302 (author)  ccwenk1 year ago
As I have mentioned to some other posters, the angle iron alone did not work. I tried it and it deflected quite noticeably. I was of the same opinion as you at first...convinced that the angle iron would be the best alternative. It just didn't prove to be the case.
DoDo7291 year ago
This is a brilliant idea, and for me just in time as I am going to be making a storage enclosure and this will work way better than what I had in mind. Very timely. Thank you for posting this. Love it.
studleylee1 year ago
VERY NICE!
melic79, you can buy Uni-strut at your favorite big box supply or local hardware store.
melic791 year ago
I want something like this, for the door that lead to the dinning room, but where did you buy the rails that you used?
coreylane1 year ago
This is an awesome tutorial. Rather than hanging against a barn, I wanted to build a trellis over my backyard fence and use the sliding barn doors as an entrance/exit. This track will definitely work (and save a ton of money!), but I can't figure out a way to make it lock. It would need to unlock/lock from both the inside and outside. Any thoughts?
lalunette1 year ago
Very nice! Definitely something i will keep in mind.

I did something similar with pocket door hardware from a 1920s house we remodeled.

The hardware is hidden under an overhang that has the added benefit of keeping it out of the elements.

Cheers !!
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