I built a couple of wooden sheds (okay, glorified yard barns) and 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 after visiting my local building outlets to check out the cost of the track and installation kit hardware I would need for such a project I developed a bad case of sticker shock. 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 to any DIY sliding doors turned out to be the wheels/rollers. I needed something that was made for exterior use, would roll smoothly, and that was heavy duty enough to take abuse while not costing an arm and a leg. While prowling around in my shop for something that fit the bill 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 of price shopping online I ordered a set of four skateboard wheels and bearings from Newclue Inc. via Amazon. The total price of the wheels with shipping 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. Superstrut is a three-sided channel of heavy gauge galvanized steel. Unfortunately it didn’t come in 12' lengths, which is what I would have preferred to use, so I had to purchase two ten-footers for $30. To provide a little additional strength I topped 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 think the rail could be built without it.
The hangers themselves are fairly simple. 1½" 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, this is quite a bit more than simple hinges and a hasp lock, but it is also well under the cost of the very cheapest commercial price for barn door sliders of $246.
Here is how I fabricated the barn door skateboard rollers.
These photos show the skateboard wheels and bearings as they arrived from Newclue. The wheels are 1 9/64" wide and 2" tall.