Let Us Show You the Door (Hardware)

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Hers.

Question: what’s more suspenseful than a Game of Thrones finale?

Answer: Our barn door project.

I know we’ve left you in the dark for a bit (ok, maybe an eternity) but we’re finally back to log details for how to create the most cost efficient barn door hardware.  I promise it was worth the wait.

So, where were we?  Oh, right.  Our laundry room looked like this.

dscn0750-23-03-01

And then we installed a new washer and dryer.  The new washer stuck out further than the old one thus blocking the door from being open all the way.  Julie goes out of town.  Chris goes on a door rampage and rips it out so we’re left doorless.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Julie returns home to find said doorless laundry room.  Julie freaks out (just a little) and goes on her own rampage to find a solution.

Enter, the barn door.  *Cue the angelic music.  The barn door search is on.  We soon discover the high prices authentic barn doors are fetching.  The search is off.

But then, an idea struck.  We could BUILD a door and by “we” I mean my very talented husband… with some lots of coaxing (and beer).

Voilah, instant barn door (sort of).  Read our DIY guide for the door here.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Now that you’re caught up, let’s finally let you in on the secret of our super affordable barn door hardware.

Not sure why we were surprised after the shocking realization of the outrageous prices of barn doors, but we soon found ourselves in the same dilemma with the hardware.  The going rate for barn door hardware is the equivalent of several pairs of nice, new shoes and I had to somehow justify the new pair of boots that snuck into my shopping cart.  We needed an alternative solution especially since I seem to be cursed with expensive taste.

Seriously, every hardware inspiration I pinned on Pinterest seemed to be the most expensive.  Lucky me.  I was gravitating towards the chunkier hardware with large pulleys that made a big statement.  Don’t these make you swoon?

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Source: A Tree Lined Street

I found the two below similar options but the price wasn’t exactly on point.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Source: Real Sliding Hardware, $353

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Source: Rustica Hardware, starting at $272

So, I turned to Chris and issued a new challenge- recreating the look of this hardware for a fraction of the price.  Which, I’m pretty sure his male brain instantly translated into “project = cutting metal = sparks flying everywhere = awesome” because I haven’t heard him agree to a project that quickly… ever.

His.

Now, where were we?

Ah. Yes. Hardware.

But first things first: I had to shrink an entrance.

The door we built wasn’t going to be wide enough to fully close, i.e. a gap would always show. Why did we do such a silly thing? Because a door any wider than the one we built wouldn’t have been able to open all the way before hitting the trim for the entrance to the kitchen. So we actually put up more wood around the doorway so we could use a smaller door which, ironically, meant that we had an effectively larger doorway. What?

Anyway, I first had to removed the door stop pieces from the door frame. A lot of people don’t realize these are just wood pieces nailed onto the door frame, so eliminating a door is actually really easy, and all you need is a hammer and chisel. And sandpaper. And maybe putty. And paint.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Next, I pulled the trim off the outside:

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

See? Now it’s just a flat frame.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

But this still didn’t solve the problem entirely, as I had to reduce the width of the doorway. My solution was to use regular 2×6 lumber. The only problem was that the 2×6 was actually too wide, so I had to rip it down to be the same width as the thickness of the frame.

Recognize that table saw, Pop?

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

If you’re like Julie and just rely on the pictures to figure out what the heck I’m talking about, behold: a narrower doorway.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Oh and while I was nailing up one side of the trim, the other side I was about to install fell and broke a picture frame. Don’t tell Julie.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

So now I could work on hanging the door. Which would require hardware.

After looking at various hardware configurations, I was beginning to get frustrated. There’s really nothing I could find that I could easily modify into barn door hardware, and I was beginning to think we’d have to suck it up and just buy something.

But then I realized something: there’s nothing complex about barn door hardware. There are no complicated linkages, special fittings, or tight tolerances. It’s just brackets and pulleys. And they’re not even fancy brackets. So I figured if I could find the right raw materials, there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t just make my own.

After pondering the configuration, I arrived at the conclusion that apart from fasteners, I’d only need two things, metal flat stock and pulleys. Now all I had to do was design, measure, cut, support, fasten, paint, and mount everything.

I decided the easy part was going to be the track. It didn’t need to be anything more than a straight piece of flat stock, but the problem was that it needed to be over 60″ long and most hardware stores only sell flat stock in 36″ lengths. Fortunately, though, there’s a small “oddity” hardware store around the corner from us, and they had exactly what I needed (I did get a 36″ piece from Home Depot for the brackets, though).

I suppose I should clarify what I’m talking about. “Flat stock” is basically a flat steel rod. For this application, I selected 1.5″ x .125″ (that’s 1/8…) mild steel. I chose this size because it would be thick enough to make a good track and wide enough to run bolts through. I went with mild steel over stainless steel because it’s cheaper, more malleable, easier to cut, lighter, and since I’d be painting it and it would always be indoors, corrosion won’t be an issue. A tip, though: wear gloves when handling carbon steel. It will get on you.

I now had my track piece, but it was too long. So I cut it using my miter saw with a metal-cutting blade. Apparently I’m also available for plumbing work:

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

The next order of business would be to get it mounted up. Now, since this thing would be supporting the whole door all by its lonesome, it would have to be mounted to the studs in the wall. I figured out where all the studs where and then drilled holes accordingly through the metal.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Next, I mounted a 1×6 that would double as the top trim of the door frame as well as a bracket of sorts for the track. To ensure it would support everything, I made sure to mount it to the existing door frame as well as the studs.

The real trick here was how to mount the track to the board, but also still away from the board. I found some steel bushings at Home Depot that worked perfectly, so I selected some that were big enough to fit around the lag bolts I was using, and long enough to hold the door away from the wall.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

And now for the obligatory “Greg Test” (coined after my uncle who the family always made stand on hand-built items by my Grandpa to make sure they wouldn’t crumble):

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

You know what they say, if it’s strong enough for pull-ups, it’s strong enough for a door.

OK, so now I had a door and something to hang it on… but never the twain shall meet. Yet.

The brackets were a bit trickier, as they’d require more thought. Basically, you can make your door whatever height you want and hang the track however high you want, but it’s up to the brackets to make up the difference.

Of course, this required turning steel flats into… well, I guess they’re basically hooks. But there was still a minor problem: I had a brilliant solution for the brackets, but I really had no clue what I was going to do for rollers. I pondered many solutions with limited success. I thought about porch screen rollers but figured they’re be too weak. I considered A/C pulleys but figured they’d be too bulky. Heck, I almost went with drive belt rollers but they were too expensive.

Then, as if by some twist of fate, I was met with a barn door miracle: https://www.grainger.com/product/AMERICAN-GARAGE-DOOR-Cable-Pulley-5MVF4?functionCode=P2IDP2PCP. They’re technically cable pulleys for a garage door, but they were the perfect size and material for what I needed, with just the right diameter, groove, and even a look Julie liked. And for $7 for the pair, there was no way I could go wrong.

So now that I had all the pieces, I could get to work. After debating multiple designs, I decided that I didn’t want to mess with a ton of metalwork, so I went with a simple hook style, basically an upside-down “J”. The first calculation I needed to know was how far away from the track the pulley needed to be, as this would determine the diameter of the curve. The track was 1.5″ away from the wall, but I actually wanted to door as close to the wall as possible, but also wanted it to hang straight down. After measuring the thickness of the door, I decided it needed to be set back another inch from the track, putting it at 0.5″ away from the wall. And since the bracket would be mounted on the front of the door, I went with a 2″ diameter curve so that when the pulley was in the middle of the arc of the bracket, there would be 1″ of door behind it.

So, how do you measure a 2″ curve when bending steel? Easy. Just bend it around something you know it 2″, like an iron pipe nipple:

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

I should note here that the reason I’m wearing welding gloves is because I tried heating it up with a propane torch so it would bend easier. It didn’t work. MAPP gas might get hot enough to make it nice and bendy but at the time all I had was propane, and it just wasn’t hot enough. So I had to use vise-grips, a hammer, and some good ole-fashioned elbow grease to shape it around the pipe.

Almost there…

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Once I got it all bent up, I needed to drill holes for the bolt that would act as the “axle” for the rollers. To do this, I just set everything up on some saw horses, measured where I wanted the hole, and drilled through both sides at once to ensure they were even.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Once all the pieces were made, I just trimmed them down to even lengths and then primed and painted them in our typical oil-rubbed bronze.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

So now that everything was bent, drilled, trimmed, and painted, it was just a matter of mounting everything up in the proper dimensions, which is really just measuring and doing some basic math.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

The final order of business was the trim. Remember where I tore the door trim off? Well, I replaced it with some simple 1×6 pieces that I stained to match the door. It’s the same wood that I used for the track support, so utilizing it as door trim gives form to a critical functional piece.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Materials

  • Flat stock- 1.5″x1/8″ mild steel: approximately $20
  • Stainless steel bushings: $5
  • Lag bolts and washers: $10
  • Pulleys: $7
  • 1×6 Lumber (for track support): $3
  • White Primer: $3
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint: $6
  • Door Handle: $1

Total hardware cost: $55, give or take. With LOTS of extra bolts!

And, finally, the finished product!:

After.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

And again, here’s what the whole enchilada looks like…

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

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29 Comments

Filed under Laundry Room

29 responses to “Let Us Show You the Door (Hardware)

  1. Pingback: When the Wife’s Away, the Hulk Will Play | DO or DIY

  2. Chris- it looks as good as the expensive, store-bought versions. I am blessed to have a “handy” husband – apparently Julie is likewise blessed.

  3. S.E.May

    I’ve been lusting after barn doors for awhile now. Seeing your post made me want one all the more. I have a hanging door that is way too 70’s for my liking and want to remove the facia and display all the hardware. You’ve inspired me 🙂

  4. Pingback: Exciting News! | DO or DIY

  5. Pingback: Inexpensive Sliding Barn Door Hardware

  6. Love your ideas! Do you have any for standard double doors that open to a large closet in my entryway. So Blah!

  7. SClark

    This is gorgeous! And a great tutorial!

  8. Deb

    OMG, really? I don’t have a barn door because I didn’t want to spend hundreds on the hardware. I can do this hardware.

  9. Jen

    very helpful tutorial! we just finished building our first track & it turned out GREAT! We had the same problem as you with finding a long enough piece of flat steel. I ended up just calling a local welder and they cut me a ten foot piece of steel for a whopping $10! A great, cheaper option for those who are making bigger pieces.

  10. Bill

    You win the contest for the most economical DIY barn door hardware that I’ve found online. I was trying to figure out how to use the skate wheel ideas that others have posted elsewhere, but got hung up on the track for them to ride in. My concern was that the metal wheels rolling on the metal track would be noisy, and the rubber skate wheels would be silent.

    So… how noisy is your track when you open the door?

    (Also, thanks for posting this for everyone!)

    • DO or DIY

      Woo-hoo! Best award ever! It’s actually not very noisy at all. Another thing to note is that skate wheels aren’t grooved so you’d have to find a way to keep them on the track vs the wheels we found. If you’re concerned about noise, keep the bearing and track greased but I don’t think you’ll find it to be a noise burden. The door itself is heavy enough to maintain strong contact and avoid squeaks. Hope that helps!

      -Chris

  11. jon

    great idea! where did you get the bushings for the wheel and what exact size fits in these wheels?

    jon

  12. Donna

    This is gorgeous and I want to copy it, but I have a small child. Maybe this is dumb, but what keeps the door from not just falling off the rail? I mean the pulley is balanced there and I know that the weight pulls it down, but if you push it in, does it not just pop off the rail and come tumbling down? I know my kid will push on it.
    Thanks!!

  13. Brent

    Looks awesome! How many and what size lag bolts did you use?

  14. Gigi Daniel

    Beautiful!

  15. Great job! Your project came out looking fantastic.

  16. CAn you show us what the inside looks like?

  17. Zane

    Awesome job! I have a question, though: How does the door balance naturally? Meaning, does the bottom of the door make contact with the wall? And if it does, how do you circumvent this issue? Again, looks wonderful!

  18. Jon

    Looks awesome! Can you explain how you attached the pulleys to the track?

  19. Laurie

    Awesome.. Can you make me one 😊

  20. Brock Friedman

    Awesome. Very good solution, simple and efficient and looks great.

  21. Cheryl tuttle

    What keeps the door from coming off the wheels. My husband says with the grandkids it’s just not safe. The will for sure push it off coming out of the bathroom.

  22. Barn doors are an excellent solution if you have a big enough garage! Think about how easily you can fix it if it falls out of place or something like that. Also, blackout-proof!

  23. Nice!
    SK on Elderberry
    sksartell.blogspot.com

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