Friday, August 31, 2012

Sliding Double Barn Doors

Hey my friends!
I hope Isaac hasn't ruined your Labor Day weekend plans. Mine luckily consist only of a lunch date on Friday, Razorback football on Saturday (WPS!!) and crossing the rest of the projects on my chalkboard off the list over Sunday and Monday.

I'm SO excited about the project I conquered over last weekend. I was so sore afterwards but it's all part of the game...

I've had a pair of GORGEOUS weathered, gray doors with turquoise iron scrolls propped beside our doorway for months. Lots of months. I confess, I got them from Hobby Lobby in the clearance section. 

Yes, even I stumble upon pre-fabricated pieces the easy way sometimes. Very rarely. So give me a break on this one. They were irresistible. I needed to do something to them to make myself feel better about the fact that I didn't drag them out of a barn or street dumpster and restore them to beauty. I knew that's where they belonged, but I wasn't sure how. Then I saw this image with very similar doors leading onto a porch and the sliding barn door hardware sold me. Perfect solution.

What was NOT perfect was the $400-$500 price tag on barn door hardware, even from online discount sites. 

I thought, this cannot be that hard. I need a bar attached to the wall and something attached to the door to make it slide. This aint rocket science! But it was a bit of an exercise in engineering. Very simple, engineering for dummies, maybe, but still. I searched for days to find cheaper ways to create barn door hardware and found a couple different solutions. Box rail from Tractor Supply, etc, but I knew there was still a simpler solution. It made perfect sense in my head but I wasn't finding it.

I went to Lowes and wandered aimlessly. The solution was so clear in my mind but finding the right materials was a broad search. Hardware? No. Shelving? No. Doors? No. Then I came across plumbing. Surely not. Well, maybe...?

There were pipes. Check. Curved thingies to bring it off the wall. Check. This could work. 
I sat in the floor and assembled a number of doo-dads, the names of which I am now so familiar with that I can sound exceptionally manly if I wanted. I was getting stumped on how to attach the bar to the wall because I couldn't find what I now know is a floor flange. I googled barn door with plumbing parts and couldn't believe I found exactly what I had been trying to figure out all along in this picture. 


Why hadn't I found that before? There was no tutorial so I still would have had to figure it out, but at least my search would have been narrowed down alot!
I assembled in different ways until I had the product I needed. Then, I checked out other aisles until I had all the parts that would bring to life the contraption in my head. 

My hands were so greasy from all the pipes. 


Here's what all I came home with:

 (From left to right)

1/2 inch x 10ft galvanized steel pipe (cut by Lowes to 8 ft and threaded on the cut end so it would still connect)
Galvanized Coupling (2)
90 degree Street Elbow (2)
2.5 inch Galvanized Steel Pipe Nipple (2)
Galvanized Floor Flange (2)
(All of the above pieces 1/2 inch to fit the 1/2 inch pipe)
3/8 inch x 4 inch Eye Screw (4...2 for each door)
4 casters with 2 inch plate to fit the bottom of the doors

The total for all the materials: $52

First, I screwed the casters to the bottom corner of each door.

Then drilled a 3/8th inch hole (the width of the eye screw for the loop) on each end of the top of the doors. I screwed in the eye screw until it was almost in all the way, and made sure they were all even.

Next, I assembled the bar to make sure everything worked. This is how one end looked:

 Flange, nipple, elbow, coupling, then pipe. 

Once all assembled, it resembled a large grab bar or towel bar. Exactly what I knew in my head I would need.

I used a stud finder and some knocking and taped the edges of each stud. For the bar to be centered over the doorway, I needed the flange to connect in a certain spot, and if you look closely, it is marked in pencil directly in the center of the two studs. GO FIGURE. Nothing is ever as simple as it should be.

Ultimately, I decided to make the bar a foot off center so that one end was screwed into a stud. I figured since the doors are on casters and not hanging all their weight on the bar that it would be fine. And so far I'm right. The side that is not screwed into a stud is actually more solid than the other. ??

I slid the loops onto the pipe, laid on the floor, and measured from the bottom of the caster to where the flange would need to be screwed into the wall. I wanted the height as close to accurate as I could get so the wheels would touch the ground and slide perfectly. 

If I measured once, I measured 18 times. It was cumbersome getting it all up, and even more so since my legs and back were already aching from going up and down the ladder so many times to get things right. My hero husband came home from wiffleball just in time to hold up the other end and screw it in. I had only rocked the ladder back and nearly fallen twice trying to get it done for him to see when he got home, but who's counting. 

I gave it a couple sprays of WD-40 and a quick push...And it worked!



 I slid them 40 times. And smiled...

The artwork I already had hanging and it ties in perfectly with the turquoise iron.

I took 1 of my bridal pictures, taken on the farm's old vintage Ford, and blew it up into 2, 20x30 sections. The left half of the truck is on the left of the doorway, and right half (and my legs) on the right.

 The wheels of the casters are a soft rubber and don't damage the floors (which I will be refinishing more orange!!)


As cool as they look from the living room side, they look even MORE gorgeous from the entryway when pulled closed.  

 Isn't that so cool!!?

They will be great to have when we have kids to close off one doorway without needing a baby gate.

  • "Hang sliding barn doors in living room"... CHECK!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!


  1. AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME! Absolutely LOVED your doors and creativity. Haven't read much more than this page but I'm going to guess you're the occupational therapist. . . lived with one for 9 years and the project girl in you shines. LOL I am on the same mission and discovered as you have, how expensive the hardware can be. Thank you for taking the time to post your project! I will be doing something very similar in the next couple of months and you've saved me a ton of research and time.


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