Realty One Group


How to Build and Install a Sliding Barn Door


They’re trendy, they’re functional and they add resale value to your home!

DIY your own barn door with this step-by-step tutorial.


Project time:  8 hours


  1. Barn door track
  2. Barn door handle
  3. Drill
  4. Miter saw
  5. Liquid nails
  6. Nail gun and nails
  7. Caulk and caulk gun
  8. Putty
  9. ¾” medium-density fiberboard (MDF) cut to size
  10. 1” x 8” piece of wood, cut to size
  11. Stud finder
  12. Level
  13. Lattice
  14. Paint
  15. Primer
  16. Paint brush
  17. 2 Ladders
  18. Pencil

Homes with barn doors in their listings sell for 13.4 percent more than expected, according to Zillow research. That in itself was enough to encourage me to finally make my barn door dreams a reality — but adding value to your home isn’t the only perk to this project.

Barn doors are a super-functional trend that you can personalize to your space and specific style. If you’re like us and have always loved the look of a barn door, but you’re intimidated by the thought of hanging or building it, this tutorial is for you.

We break the process down, so you can finally make this dream project a reality.

Here’s what my plain closet looked like before we started this DIY barn door project.

The closet doors weren’t awful or damaged, but I knew adding a barn door would make closet access easier, add style, and even add resale value to my home.

Rookie tip:

I tackled step one, installing the barn door track, with the existing closet doors still attached.

I was hoping the doors would protect the stuff in the closet from the dust and mess. 

1. Add reinforcement

Before we even started the project, I did a lot of research on barn doors and tracks. I thought about buying a barn door and track instead of the DIY route, but because my closet has two doors instead of one, the barn door size I needed would require a custom order, which came with a very large price tag. To save money, I decided to DIY the barn door instead.

After I decided on the actual door, I needed to find a track. I did a lot of research on this component as well, and chose a made-to-order track from Amazon. This track is 8 feet long and can hold up to 300 pounds.

The only negative about this made-to-order track system: the predrilled holes on the track didn’t match up to the studs in my wall. This meant that if I hung the track without first hanging a “header” onto the wall to support the track, I’d be drilling into drywall and not catching studs.

Up to 300 pounds on the track would never be supported without hitting studs, so I was forced to add a 1-by-8 piece of wood (painted the same color as the wall) for extra reinforcement.

Rookie tip: 

If your track matches up with your studs

(or if you want to drill new holes in the track), you can skip this step.

After cutting the piece of wood to size (about 2 inches longer than the 8-foot track), I primed and painted it to match the existing wall. Then it was time to hang it by drilling it into the studs.

We drilled pilot holes on the wood and held the wood up, making sure it was level.

Once we triple-checked that the board was level and lined up with the studs, we used lag bolts and drilled the board into place. This step took at least two people and some serious muscle to make sure the board remained level throughout the process.

2. Install the track

Once the header was installed, it was time to hang the track on top of the header.

We held up the track and made sure it was level before marking where each of the lag bolts needed to go. Then we put the track back on the floor and drilled pilot holes into the header at those marks.

You need a socket and a bit for your drill in order to tighten the bolts and finish hanging the track. The size you need depends on the size of lag bolts you have. Ours were 13 millimeters.

Rookie tip: The track must be exactly level before moving on! This ensures that the barn door glides properly and not on its own. There is NO room for error — make sure the track is level with no exceptions.

3. Remove the existing doors, and empty the closet

Once the track is up, it’s time to remove the existing doors and anything inside the closet. I covered any remaining stuff in the closet with plastic, because this project is dusty.

4. Remove the closet casing (optional)

After prepping the closet and room, I removed the casing around the door frame. Depending on your situation, you may not need this step.

5. Patch drywall and add lattice border

With the casing around the door frame gone, I had two options. I could patch up the drywall and not have any woodwork around the door frame, or I could put a thin piece of lattice around the door and forget about the patching.

I chose the second option, because I liked the look of the thin layer of lattice around the door. The lattice also gave me a guide for matching the new baseboard up to it, so I was ready to get started on that step once the lattice was attached, using a nail gun.

6. Purchase door material, and cut to size

Once the prep work was out of the way, it was finally time to tackle the barn door. I had researched a lot of options when choosing a barn door and just couldn’t seem to find a premade door on a budget.

A door that would fit this closet opening — 4 feet wide and 7 feet high — was hard to find. If I had a traditional one-door opening, I could have just bought a barn door from any hardware store for a reasonable price. Since mine was far from standard size, buying one would have cost a lot of money.

Instead, I bought a piece of 1/2-inch thick medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which was 49 inches wide, and had the store cut it down to 86 inches long. Then I bought six pieces of 1″-by-4″ MDF strips to border the entire door and add depth to the back.

I also bought two pieces of 1″-by-3″ MDF to add to the middle in order to create a more modern barn door design. The only other supplies I needed were nails for the nail gun, caulk for the seams, primer, and a wood filler to fill in the seams and nail holes.

7. Attach trim

Building the actual barn door was probably the easiest part of this entire project. I cut the strips, laid them out, and used a nail gun to secure everything in place.

Then, we flipped over the barn door and put two vertical strips along the back of each side so it was thick enough to attach to the hardware. Plus, those vertical boards cut down on the gap on the back side of the door between the door and the wall.

To fill in the seams and the nail holes, we tried the product pictured below, but you can also use putty and caulk for this step. We let the patchwork dry, and cleaned off the excess to find smooth holes and filled-in seams.


8. Attach hardware

This was a tedious part of the process, because there was no room for error! It’s hard to give tips here, because every barn door situation will be different. But I’d say to measure multiple times, and use a level to make sure you’re drilling your pilot holes in the perfect spots.

We measured and leveled the hardware as much as possible to ensure that we were doing just that. Then we drilled pilot holes before eventually putting the hardware on the door and screwing in the large bolts that came with the track. You’ll probably need some type of pliers during this step to tighten the screws as much as you can.

9. Hang the door

We carefully put the door on the track and were so excited to see our vision coming to life.

10. Prime and paint the door and trim

Priming and painting the door while it was hanging on the track was the easiest for us, but you can do whatever is best for you. This door required one coat of primer and two coats of paint.

11. Add hardware

Finding hardware can be a challenge, because many of the screws that come with regular hardware sets are not long enough to feed through the 2-inch barn door.

I had the best luck focusing my search to companies who sold barn door handles specifically. I bought the loft-style pull from Rustica Hardware, but it was definitely pricier than I anticipated. At around $70, the handle was almost the same price as the entire track. The great news is that there are lots of hardware options, so choose a set that fits your home’s decor and style.

Installing the handle was a little nerve-wracking, since there was very little room for error. I measured several times, checked the level a few more times, and drilled my two pilot holes when I was confident about my markings. Thankfully, the precision paid off, because the handle went on without a problem.

That’s it! With all hardware in place, we had a completed barn door.

This project may seem intimidating at first, but taking it step-by-step makes it a lot more approachable. When it’s done, you’ll have a barn door that’s a lot more stylish and functional, and you may even add resale value to your home along the way. That sounds like a win-win to us!

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