DIY sliding barn door

DIY & Save Money, Little Victorian Home / Friday, March 9th, 2018

It’s that time again. We have another DIY project to share with everyone!

When Greg moved from his old home I HAD TO HAVE his extra front door. No idea why. We lived in a rental, but I needed this door. Eventually, it moved to our new blog cabin with us. I tried to sell it at a yard sale… Haha. Then, it sat outside for a few months for lack of energy to move it and a place to store it.

We finally found a use for this solid wood door. The door, which was custom-milled was originally $900.00 and weighs nearly 200 lbs! (We obviously did not pay this much money for the door–that whole laid-off scientist thing, ya know? It was left behind by the previous owners of his house).

So here’s the back story: Greg converted the dining room to his gym space. It’s very compact and an eye sore. The dining room has two open entrances. The first entrance I blocked with a tri-fold wooden screen and the original gingerbread decor from the house. This other opening was the problem. It was round and weird, and provided an unwanted view of exercise equipment from the kitchen and coffee bar. (Read here about our DIY coffee bar.)

One day we were sitting in the living room and had an idea for that old door!

We decided to turn this extra door into a sliding barn door. We both really like the aesthetic of the sliding barn door. So, we started researching. The door kits were really expensive and the DIY examples on Pinterest didn’t seem like they would support our heavy door. So we went to Lowes and made it up as we went.

Obstacle one: the weight. Unlike modern hollow doors, we couldn’t just suspend the door. I figured it would pull down whatever was holding it up. We found some small wheels able to hold 275 lbs each. We affixed the wheels to the bottom of the door and they let the door roll without destroying the hardwoods.

Obstacle two: a large mirror and light switch (it’s a mad scientist lever, of course!) that the door needed to clear when opened. We decided to go with pipe as the suspensory mechanism and guide because it was big, strong, and adjustable in both length, but importantly, depth. We extended the pipe out about 3 inches from the wall, and this was our slider as well.


We purchased some eye-bolts that were large enough to pass the pipe through. We attached 3 of them to the door so this would slide along the pipe, guiding it, while the wheels supported the weight of the door and did the heavy lifting.


Serendipity: Greg found original oak window trim in the crawlspace. (There’s also a car bumper down there for anyone who wants to cobble together a car piece by piece.) The two planks of wood with attached trim still showed the original writing as to where the boards had gone, complete with misspelling of “bey” window. The two pieces were placed end-to-end, and anchored into studs wherever we could reliably find them. The decorative moulding was cut on 45-degree angles to gradually transition from one plank to another. We used planks to affix the pipe to because we can never reliably find studs in our walls and this trim helps secure the sliding door. It’s pretty cool that the planks match the rest of the woodwork in the room.

Here’s how it looks closed inside the arched opening.

Greg hot glued GYM letters from Walmart to the door to give it some character.

So price-wise, how much did we save with our DIY?

Door – free
Trim – free
Wheels – $10.00
6′ long 2″ pipe – $20.00
Misc pipe fittings (nipples, couplers and flanges) – $25.00
GYM letters – $2.00
Eye-bolts – $6.00
Nickel door handle with fascia – $12 (on clearance)

…For a grand total of: $75.00! Which is fantastic because one sliding door kit is $275.00!

We are grateful for the patina that developed while the door sat outside for several months. It adds some age and character. To tie into the kitchen and coffee bar, which includes gray tones and salvaged barn wood, we anticipate staining the door a transparent gray.

So what do you think?!


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