Install a Sliding Yellow Door

One day, one change: Newlyweds Scott and Chelsea Iwatta add privacy between bedroom and bathroom with a sliding barn door.
Guest Bedroom With Sliding Barn Door and Vaulted Ceiling

Sliding Barn Door Bedroom With Vaulted Ceiling

Photography by Daniel Collopy

Photography by Daniel Collopy

When newlyweds Scott and Chelsea Iwatta bought a townhouse in Costa Mesa, Calif., they wanted to make a few changes that would fit their needs better. The first issue they wanted to tackle was in the bedroom. While the archway between the bedroom and bathroom was charming, there was no door and no privacy. 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.

How to Build a Sliding Barn Door for Less Money
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What You'll Need

  • Tape measure and pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Paint tray and roller
  • Screwdriver
  • Saw (optional)

How to Build + Install a Sliding Door

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Get Started: Build, Paint and Hang

Before building the door, measure the doorway. The barn door looks best if it overlaps the opening by at least 2" on all sides. This project was based on a doorway with a 4' x 8' foot opening.

Build the Door

Make the Main Frame

Cut 1" x 2" pine boards to make the outer frame of your door. Use two 8' pieces and two 47" pieces to create the outside frame. Lay the four pieces out on the ground and apply a small amount of wood glue where they fit together, and use four wood screws to screw pieces together.

Make the Inner Frame

Use two 47" pieces of wood to make the horizontal supports in the interior frame. The pieces should divide your door horizontally into thirds, about 32" apart. Secure insert pieces in place with wood glue, drill pilot holes and then attach them to the frame using wood screws.

Add Door-Handle Mounts

Mount three 1" x 2" x 11" pieces on either side of the frame at the height you would like your door handle to be. This is for attaching the handle later.


Follow this diagram for framing your door. Pictured left is the layout for the main frame. Pictured right illustrates where to place additional supports.

Follow this diagram for framing your door. Pictured left is the layout for the main frame. Pictured right illustrates where to place additional supports.

Attach Plywood Backing

Attach the plywood sheet to the back of the door. Apply wood glue on all top surfaces of the pieces of both your inner and outer frames. Place the plywood on top of the frame, apply wood glue and secure it with screws once it's aligned.

Insert Insulation

Flip the frame so the plywood side faces down. If desired, 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.



Attach Plywood Front

When the foam has dried, secure 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 the plywood with wood screws.

Use spackle to fill in the screw holes. Then 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.

Install Hardware

Measure 6" in from either end of the bottom of the door to attach rolling casters. Secure with drywall screws. Install 1" circle brackets to the top of the door frame 6" in from either side of the door. Mount the door handle at a comfortable height by screwing into the spot prepared for it by internal supports.

Hang the Door

Installing the hardware is a bit of a delicate thing and best accomplished with the help of a buddy. Start by running the 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 the exact height from the bottom of the casters (your floor) 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, ensuring that the door rolls smoothly and evenly. Once you have your measurements, screw one end of your galvanized pipe into the base plate and attach it to the wall.



If your doorway is framed with molding, you may need to cut and use an additional square of wood behind your base plate to distance the pipe from the wall, ensuring the door will clear the molding and will roll closed properly. If needed, this could be painted the same color as the wall so that it will disappear.

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. The final step is to secure the second base plate to the wall in its correct position.

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