Introduction: Rolling Barn Door

Picture of Rolling Barn Door

The Need

The Campus Outreach leader of my college had expressed that he wanted to build some sort of door to divide his open kitchen from their living room/den. I told him a sliding barn door would be perfect and that I was down to build one for/with him. Again, I offered up the 70-year-old fence wood I have access to, and he jumped at the opportunity. I had him look at the many different styles of doors and we ended up both choosing a single, variable sized plank door.

Step 1: ​The Design

The door needed to be 83” tall and 78” wide to cover the crowning of the doorway. We decided to use a rolling system rather than a sliding system because the minimal price for sliding was $120 and we made ours for ~$40. We used 4 caster wheels and a metal pipe with two T’s connected to the door to keep it from tilting.

Rather than trying to find 15 (15*~5” =75”) perfectly flat sections of 78” for the door, we decided to divide up 78” in different ways and use smaller planks of wood. This would allow for more of each 12’ section to be used rather than having to waste it because of a bow or curve in half of it. We used the combinations of: 24” + 54”, 36” + 42”, 39” + 39”, and 26” + 26” + 26” to vary where the boards line up.

Step 2: The Work Part 1

Picture of The Work Part 1

I downed around 20-25 12’ fence boards to make sure I had enough for the project (Originally, the support on the back was going to be fence wood as well).

I cut 5 pairs of each combination and then we randomly spread them out into three groups of 5. As we laid them out, we made sure that none of the cracks lined up or were repeating in any sort of pattern.

I ripped all of the pieces so they would have a flat edge for the biscuits. We laid them back down in the order of the door and marked across pairs of boards for cutting the biscuits. Joey, the client, helped cut all of the biscuits while I ripped the other group of boards. We carried them into the next room and laid them on the pipe clamps to be glued.

(Unfortunately I forgot to document this step with pictures)

We glued one group of boards at a time, letting it dry before adding the second group. We stacked the extra fence boards in between the pipes to help support the door since not all of the pieces reached across to both pipes. We filled any cracks and knots that wouldn't close up with wood filler and spackle.

We then spent several hours sanding down both sides of this door. We used a rasp and a belt sander to knock the wood down, and two hand sanders and an orbital sander to smooth everything out. we used 60 grit all over, the client didn't need/want the door perfectly smooth.

Step 3: The Work Part 2

Picture of The Work Part 2

Once the entire door was glued together,

it was time to build the support frame on the back. We opted to use 2x4”s rather than the fence wood so the door would be stronger and thicker for the pipe mounts/caster wheels. I used a simple square outline pattern with two even vertical slats through the middle. I biscuited the corners and two middle pieces together to keep the whole frame together. I then drilled guide holes around the entire frame, making sure to line up at least two screws per board on the vertical running frame sides. I then would clamp both sides of the hole I was drilling into so that the board underneath was pressed up onto the 2x4 before I screwed down into it. I countersunk all of the screws so I could spackle the holes and smooth out the support frame on the back. I filled all the holes and then sanded the frame off with 220 grit.

Now that the whole door was attached, I took a router, circular saw, hand saw, jigsaw, and belt sander to clean up the edges to match the frame. Different areas required different tools, with more planning, a circular saw and a jig would’ve been the easiest. I sanded off the edges with a 60 grit belt sander.

Step 4: The Stain

Picture of The Stain

Joey had previously helped build his kitchen table, which was stained with "Espresso" and he wanted the door to match. We bought two cans of poly/stain espresso for the support frame and the front, using satin poly for the back. We did the back first, being careful not to get the stain on the back, as he wanted to leave the wood natural. After several hours of drying, we stood the door up and stained the front, using a can and a quarter of stain. We did our best to get all the edges, but some was touched up once installed.

Step 5: The Paint

Picture of The Paint

Although I lack pictures, to support system used for the door was fairly simple. We went to Lowes and found 1" metal piping at 10' and 3' and welded them together at 13' since Lowes doesn't sell piping that long. We bought two 1" floor flanges with 2 close threadings and two 90* elbow joints. This all adds up to be the top track for the door. We then bought two 1 1/4" T's, two 1 1/4" close threadings, and two 1 1/4" floor flanges to attach the door to the track. I cut the two floor flanges with a metal saw so rather than being full circles, the base was now a rectangle that fit within the top of the door. The T's slide on the track without actually holding the weight of the door, simply there for looks and to keep the door from tilting. We then bought four 3" caster wheels for the bottom.

I took all of these parts home and spray painted them flat black.

Make sure to get straight caster wheels, otherwise the wheels will spin everywhere and not be effective.

Also, this door lacks a floor guide to help better keep the door from tilting or sliding out of line. This is highly encouraged if using a rolling system.

Step 6: The Installation

Picture of The Installation

We finally had the track and the door both ready to go, so we loaded it all up in the truck and headed over to Joeys house. We had two other guys come help get the barn door in the door and help hold it in place as we screwed the wheels in the bottom and the T's on top. we ran the pipe through the T's and moved the door onto the wall it was to be fastened to. We bought dry wall screws to mount the pipe to the wall, assuming we wouldn't be very lucky with hitting studs. We hit 2, but ended up still using the dry wall anchor screws for all 8 holes. We made sure that the pipe was level, but also didn't drag on any parts of the T's so that there would be minimal friction and drag from the top.

The door overall pulls fairly smoothly, one problem is that the ground the door rests on is tile, so there is grout grooves that the wheels must roll over. Also, randomly, there is an air vent that nobody could do anything about right in the middle. Other than those two things, the door works very well, and provides excellent privacy and sound cancellation for both rooms.

Well probably add a handle later, he didn't want one as of the installation.

Step 7: The End

Picture of The End

As always, if you have any questions or comments or inquiries, feel free to comment below or email me @ raleighdavisup@gmail.com !

-Raleigh

Comments

terrefirmax2 (author)2016-05-16

I'm sorry - I just can't wrap my brain around this, and I've been reading and looking for 30 minutes. HOW is the hardware attached to the door, and then HOW is it sliding along. Even if you attach it it doesn't seem like it would SLIDE. Can you take a close up picture? Please? I really don't feel like going out to the garage and digging through old plumbing parts...

Look at the 3rd picture on step 6. The T fittings are attached directly to the top of the door. Hardware description is on step 5. Im going to assume that the pipe serves a just a guide and little pressure is placed on it since the weight is on the casters. Seems like it could get hung up, but if the pipe is smooth and lubricated, I dont really see an issue.

Raleighup (author)2016-05-29

Where did I mention a "C" bracket? Email me and I'd love to help

veggiemaster (author)Raleighup2016-05-31

You mentioned it to another poster about 4 comments below...

loneoak (author)2016-05-31

There is a nice kit out there for sale that has brackets and rollers used to make the door work just like an old barn door. I saw the kit at a local bargain building supply store that sells custom doors, windows, etc. They build doors to fit your specs and have the kits for the rolling barn door.

lmnohos (author)2016-05-29

what is this "C" bracket you speak of?

dazm2 (author)2016-05-22

nice\$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Meglymoo87 (author)2016-05-19

Nice :)

Raleighup (author)2016-05-16

@terrefirmax2 the door technically rolls not slides. There are four caster wheels on the bottom that hold the weight orf the door and allow it to move. The two t brackets at the top simply float over the long pipe and don't actually touch it. These are used to ensure the door doesn't tilt over or fall. The t brackets are attached with threading and a floor flange drilled into the top of the door!

Raleighup (author)2016-05-16

@pookiesmum, a small, well paced "C" bracket is going to be mounted to the floor to keep the door from tilting away from its upright position! I decided against a full track because of the tripping hazard like you said!

pookiesmum (author)2016-05-16

Very clever. would never have thought of using the t's in such a way. Would a track on the floor help keep the door running straight or do you think it would be a trip hazzard?

Raleighup (author)2016-05-15

@make_this that would for sure be cool!

ClenseYourPallet (author)2016-05-15

Great looking door!

Make_This (author)2016-05-15

Nicely done. I like the look of the black pipe. If one wanted to decrease the bottom air gap, they could recess the the casters.

Raleighup (author)2016-05-15

What? @milani05

mavyoung (author)2016-05-14

So awesome!!!!

MiLani05 (author)2016-05-14

Henna paste

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Bio: 20, college student. Love a good challenge build, most of my projects are for myself or friends. If you have any questions about anything feel ... More »
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