How to Build + Install a Sliding Door

Get step-by-step instructions for building and installing a bright yellow door on tracks.
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The Problem: No Bedroom Privacy

When newlyweds Scott and Chelsey Iwatta bought a townhouse in Costa Mesa, Calif., they had a big issue in the bedroom. While the archway between the bedroom and bathroom was charming, there was no door and no privacy.

Solution: A Bold Sliding Door

I called on my friend Sean Genrich, who's a carpenter, to help me construct a solution that would be inexpensive and solve the privacy problem. In one day and on a budget of $300 we built and installed a yellow sliding door.

Get Started

Measure the door opening. A barn door looks best if it overlaps the opening by at least 2 inches on all sides.

Cut Wood Pieces

Cut 1"x2"x8' boards to make the outer frame of the door. Our door is 8' tall so we cut two 8' pieces and four 47" pieces. Put two 47" pieces aside to use later. Screw together the two 8' pieces and two 47" pieces to make a rectangle.

Frame It

Use the other two 47" pieces of wood to make the horizontal supports in the interior frame. When you install them, they should divide your door horizontally into thirds, about 32" apart. Apply wood glue everywhere two wood pieces meet and attach with screws. In each section, cut and add 31" pieces of 1 x 2" boards to tie into the 47" horizontal pieces to create more support. This will give your door structure.

Plan for the Handle

Mount a 1" x 2" x 11" piece of wood on either side of the frame at the height you would like your door handle to be. Our handle is larger, so we mounted three pine pieces next to each other to ensure the handle would screw in later.

When You're Finished

Here's what your frame should look like after you've built the frame (pictured left) and installed additional supports (pictured right).

Add Plywood

Attach the plywood sheet to the back of the door. Apply wood glue and carefully place the plywood on top of the frame. Secure it with screws once it is properly aligned.

Insulate for Noise

Flip the door so that the newly attached plywood side faces down. Use a utility knife to cut squares out of a half sheet of foam insulation to fit inside the spaces between ribs. Spray each square with a small amount of expanding foam to secure the square inside the frame. This cuts down on noise passing through your door.

Finish the Door

Attach the final piece of plywood to the door. Apply wood glue on the frame and lay the luan plywood on top of the frame. Secure it with wood screws.

Get Ready for Paint

Use spackle to fill in the screw holes. Lightly sand to ensure your entire surface is smooth and ready for paint.

Prime and Paint

Apply an even coat of white primer to all sides of the door. After the primer has dried completely, roll on your paint color.

Attach Rolling Casters

Measure 6" in from either end of the bottom of the door. Install rolling casters and secure with drywall screws.

Add Handle + Brackets

Add 1" circle brackets to the top of the door frame 6" from either side of the door. Mount the door handle at a comfortable height by screwing into the internal supports.

Measure for Placement

Installing the hardware is best accomplished with the help of a buddy. Start by running a galvanized pipe through the two circle brackets on the top of the door. Keeping it inside the brackets, hold the pipe up as high as it will go and measure from the bottom of the casters to the middle of the galvanized pipe. This measurement will provide the correct height at which to attach your round base plates to the wall.

Hang It

Once one end is threaded and secured to the wall, thread the 90-degree elbow onto the pipe. Attach the last base plate to the elbow, and secure the second base plate to the wall in its correct position.