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.

Step 1: The Rollers/wheels

These photos show the skateboard wheels and bearings as they arrived from Newclue. The wheels are 1 9/64" wide and 2" tall.

<p>Using the narrower wheels might allow you to turn the channel so that the open part faces up, then you could use the groove for the wheels to ride in.</p>
I was thinking a groove for them to ride in would be great too! To me, it seems if you bumped maybe one of the doors from inside--especially the one without bottom metal piece--it could pop off top track and fall.
<p>Please note the photos in step three showing the &quot;U&quot; shaped bracket which hold the wheel and the door in place. This bracket straddles the the rail (wheel on top, door on bottom, rail between so that it is impossible for the wheel to be pushed, shoved, whacked or in any other why accidentally moved off the rail. In the photos of the finished door you are only seeing that part of the bracket which is on the outside, but the bracket is exactly the same on the inside. If the wheel moves outward the back side of the bracket contacts the rail, if the wheel moves inward the front side of the bracket contacts the rail. The wheel can not come off the rail EXCEPT by gliding off the left or right end of the rail, and that is prevented by bolt which stops the wheel if it gets too close to the end of the rail. </p>
<p>Why do you need the rail at all? Wouldn't this work with just the angle iron? </p>
<p>I found that angle iron alone flexed too much...wasn't quite strong enough.</p>
<p>If you don't have access to the rail, you can lengthen the hangers, and bolt what you do have to a timber to stiffen it.</p>
<p>Ahh, I see now what I missed. Thank you for the explanation! I do like the design very much.</p>
<p>You don't want a groove. It fills up with crud. You never dust something like that.</p>
<p>I have one question. Are those actually roller blade wheels? Skateboard wheels don't generally have rounded edges.</p>
<p>You might be right mid-life-crisis. I looked back at my original (2012) order from New Clue and they listed the wheels as &quot;50mm Black Skateboard Wheels and Bearings Set - item #280722030363&quot;. So that is why I referred to them as skateboard wheels. I guess the bottom line is, if you are looking for a set of wheels, include skateboard wheels in your search.</p>
<p>I'd have made pocket doors personally (eliminate the 'toe-stub' angle iron outside the doors)</p>
<p>Im sure those will look great on whatever you build. <em>Personally</em>, I was looking for a barn door tutorial, and this is a great one!</p>
<p>Sorry for not responding to these recent comments more quickly but I was out of town the last two days and did not know the barn doors had been featured again. First, thank you all for the many kind comments and suggestions for improvements etc. That's the whole idea of instructables...do it yourself and then watch somebody do it even better. Let me also respond here to the major question which was posed regarding the wisdom of using skateboard wheels, particularly in regards to their durability. As a couple of writers have noted, this Instructable was originally posted in July of 2013. The doors were actually completed and have been in operation since August of 2012. So the skateboard wheels and bearings have about 3 1/2 years of wear and tear and they look and slide like day one. I would guess my doors weigh about 50 lbs each, are rolled 2-3 times a week, and the doors face directly south in the middle of the central valley of California so they get some very intense UV rays. The wheels and bearings are unphased and show no signs of &quot;flats&quot;, chips or degradation. The only problem I've had with the doors is a bit of warpage of the wood, so I don't intend to recommend the actual door construction techniques that I used until I have eliminated those issues. But the wheels and sliding hardware have operated flawlessly.</p>
my experience with large Timber doors is best to do a steel frame and then clad with Timber , I've made a arch stable door with 100 year old iron bark Timber (from train bridge) and it still moved
<p>I love it! excellent work on making what you need as you can afford it. Project is concise and well written, the only change I made when I did a project like this is I used the skate board wheels to guide the door bottoms too. The angle iron in my area fills up with dirt and ice and wont let the doors move. An upright wheel on its side just allows the door to easily move.</p>
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.
Ledshed could you imagine...<br>Doing a test to figure out how many neodymium magnets it would take to repulse the two c-tracts just enough so it would appear to be a 'floating&amp; frictionless groove'. Wholey Moley... I 'll let you know how it does? Star Trek's not far. And plausible.
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.....
Hey There 'Karmagurl' did you ever get the'shoji' doors up. It has been 2 years. I 'm curious.peace.Godbless
Excellent Instructable! We are thinking of selling our house and building a smaller one. We want to use a sliding door for our new bedroom. This will be perfect, and I'll only need 1 section of the Super Strut. I was kicking myself because I tore down an old shed and didn't save the sliding door hardware, this will be perfect! Thanks for this instructable!
Dewey302 Old Coot PAPA knows his stuff? I saw it too. And, right away. This is a perfect low-cost option for an indoor pocket... The hangers you made are brilliant in so many ways. They could be 'primped-up'or down to match any era's decorative scheme,or just painted over for a clean looking wall and not a door. So, MANY PEOPLE IN TITE, Tiny apartments or highrises benefit with FOUND SPACE THAT THE DOORS 'circumference allotment, or 'dead-space'. AND, I did a little tweaking to this idea because the hangers and wheels,for a similar PRO MFG. Set are $25O+ for cheaper hardware? and that's for the smallest door SO, I GOT CREATIVE AND BLEW THE DAY. Because of your hinges. I now have a secret passageway from my dining room to my office. Flanked, on both sides of the dining room wall common to the office. Were to matching book case/sideboardish units. I mounted a slider using your idea behind one of the book case units that had a closet handy on the otherside of the wall(in the office. Once I had my opening and slider hung I bolted the bookcase to the slider. This made a retention plate, (spaced from the wall)mandatory to allow the door to stay from pushing into the wall making it hard to move. painted the stud groove to match an extended pce of crown moulding from unit to unit so you cannot tell its a track ? unless your pretty good.<br>I took my time and cut the entire perimeter of the adjacent wall inside the clost. I 'glued&amp;screwed' the entire piece to some cheap plywood and with three old hinges mounted it back in the closet. I used a piece of thick styrofoam, protruding slightly more than what's called for and this keeps the opening(secret doorway)snug and unnoticeable to the eye. I've told nobody and BOY THEY'RE SCRATCHIN'THEIR HEADS. BUT, NOBODY'S caught on yet. thx for the AWESOME ideas keep'em comin'Dewey.Peace. Godbless<br><br> bmoneyNOTburden
<p>Thanks for writing about this method.<br>I am very inspired to add this style of sliding doors to my shed.<br>I wonder from a security standpoint though, can the doors be lifted up and removed from the tracks? Or pulled down, or past the ends of the track, or something that would allow a burglar to swing them up, down, out, or sideways to remove the doors?<br><br>Any help in understanding this better, before I build it, sure would be nice!<br>Thanks :)</p>
<p>The only way to remove the door is to unbolt the wheel bracket from the door. Note the construction of the wheel brackets as shown in step 3. the &quot;strap&quot; of the bracket is bolted to each side of the door and is looped over the rail holding the wheel in place on top of the rail. The door CAN be lifted upward a fraction of an inch but it can not be moved off the rail because the bracket wraps entirely around the rail. The door can be glided off one or the other end of the rail, but this too is prevented by placing a bolt or a stop which prevents the door from accidentally gliding right off the end of the rail. With enough work (and the right tools) a burglar could get in, just as a burglar can get in any house given the right tools and enough time. </p>
Great project! Thanks for posting. I want to make a garden gate or two with barn/slider doors, so this will help.
I built a single sliding door on my wood shed and cut a section off the end. @ 3'wide x 6' high framed and hinged it back onto the slider. Now i can use hinged door daily or slide whole door open to park my ATV,LOGSPLITTER ECT.<br> PS YOU WILL NEED TO USE A TURN BUCKLE ON DOOR FOR STABILITY AND SQUARENESS
Good idea on the hinged option!
Did this project two summers ago. Thanks again for the awesome and cost-effective solution.
<p>It looks great!</p>
<p>This is from almost a year ago, but I still think this was a great instructable. Good job, thanks for posting.</p>
<p>I think I'm going to try this with one very minor modification. I'll flip the channel with the U facing up and run the wheels inside the channel. If I need to put the wheels on the lathe for width correction, that's no problem. Great idea, thanks for the post. </p>
<p>The upward facing U does also have the potential to catch any stray bits of leaf and other detritus though :( Which might cause the wheels to lock up... So that's where a top pelmet might be handy :)</p>
<p>That might be a good idea, the upward facing U might act as a guide. </p>
<p>I looked at something very similar. One problem I have with sliding doors, is that they are hard to lock so both doors can't be slid out of the way at the same time to allow ingress. I chose to build my doors using 4 panels. Each side makes up two panels. On panel is 1/3 the width, the other is 2/3 the width. The 2/3 door was divided in half and received a swivel pin. When the door is open, only 1/2 the width of the 2/3 section comes inside, which alleviates the need to shovel to open the doors in the winter, but don't detract from the space in my shop by much at all. I use a center gate lock to lock them together, and it works great. One major advantage, is if you have to use a hasp to lock the doors, they are hinged on each end, and in the middles, and cannot be opened. Just my take, but I love your idea, and thanks for sharing. Most people look at the hardware, much like you and I did, and decide, we can do better cheaper.</p>
A hasp &amp; lock can be used on the inside of one door and another lock on the outside to lock doors together.<br>
<p>True, but you still need to prevent the bottom of the doors from being pulled out to keep people and animals out.</p>
<p>Isn't that what the piece of angle does that it fastened to the floor? I like this Instructable. I already have a shed with sliding doors. The doors and the runners are absolutle rubbish and stick and jam really badly. They've been like this since I bought and built the thing so I have tried to 'improve' on the system. This would be a far superior way of doing it so, thank you :)</p>
<p>Man, really really cool! I have my house made using this kind of wood. Thanks for sharing. It is beatyfull!</p>
<p>when it comes to protecting the skateboard wheels from the sunlight can you not just make an open ended pelmet to cover the track and the wheels it would also protect the bearings from the elements to.</p>
<p>I do not think a 70# door would deform the wheels especially if they were rolled daily.</p>
<p>thanks! I'm wanting to hang shutters in the same fashion and this will work great!!!</p>
<p>You sure do a good clean job mate... I do admire your barn. Thanks for the idea</p>
<p>Love love love this &quot;barn door.&quot; My question is--why do you have the lower guide only on one side of the door? </p>
Nice. - Skate board wheels would be relatively quiet and smooth. <br>&quot;This Old House&quot; did it a while ago, and they used lawn mower idler wheels.<br>Looking around at the home center, I came up with garage door pulley wheels. Not the door rollers, but the pulley wheels, used for running a cable over it. (Extension spring door, not torsion spring) You can get strong pulleys with bearing for around $5 and under. (Have a look at ebay for &quot;Garage door sheave pulley&quot;or &quot;extension spring pulley&quot;)
<p>A couple of ideas. I built a slider for a 10 by 10 door opening in my garage. While I used commercial hardware at the time, I see how it can be done scavenging. A good metal supply store should be able to provide and cut to your length a piece of open channel stock. It has four sides, but one side has a slot that the wheel shaft will move in. You can trap the rollers once installed by providing a cap on both ends so the door or doors can not be easily removed. Likewise the doors need to be trapped at the bottom with metal &quot;hands&quot; that come up over the bottom of the doors to keep them from being lifted out. Thus the door can not be pulled out or lifted off the track.</p><p>I built my door so it slides on the inside of the garage which keeps the hardware out of the weather and used some commercially available floor seal strip to keep the bugs and weather out and configured the inside of the garage so the door does not contact anything inside, in the same way a pocket door would work.</p>
I have done a similar type door on a bedroom (single door) using the rail from an actual garage door. along with the rollers from a garage door. Just drilled holes in door the diameter of the shaft attached to roller wheels.
that looks pretty tight, thanks for sharing
<p>Those kids scooters use a similar but narrower wheel that might work better for some applications.</p>
<p>I was wondering what holds the wheel in position on top of track?</p><p> Are you using some 'T' nuts inside the track section or is the bent edge of roller holder fitted behind track?</p><p>As for the other 'argument', if door weight was found to be an issue, it would be even simpler to get some ordinary round steel (or aluminium) bar and cut 'wheels' from it. If obtained from a machine shop, a flange could be turned (or added) to rear edge to hold wheel in position over track. As it is, it's a real simple , cheap way to make barn doors. If you watch some of the home shows on TV interior 'barn doors' are now a 'design' feature in homes. I'm sure skateboard wheels would be a quieter option than the standard cast iron wheels and track?</p>
<p>I work in a fabrication shop that builds and maintains machines for a manufacturing plant. We have used skate wheels for numerous applications over the years with great success.</p>
<p>I think this is a great project. Most barn door hardware I have seen cost about $200 per door. A set of skate board wheels and bearings is only about $20 for 4. You could replace them every year for 20 years if you wanted to and probably still save money, but I doubt if you will need to. I am sure that the wheels will last for quite a few years, and they look very easy to replace. Another benefit is that skate board wheels and bearings are so standard that getting replacements will always be easy - not necessarily true about barn door hardware from on of the big box stores. I do agree with the comment that a cover over the track would probably extend the life of the wheels and track . And it would hide the track if it should start to rust a little.</p>

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