How to Make Wooden Barn Doors: A Simple Guide

Are you looking to add some rustic charm to your home decor? Wooden barn doors are a great way to achieve that look. Plus, they’re functional too! You can use them to separate living spaces or as a statement piece in any room. In this article, we’ll show you how to make your own wooden barn doors.

First, you’ll need to decide on the type of wood you want to use. Appearance board is a popular choice for its finish, but you can also use reclaimed wood for a more authentic barn door look. Once you have your wood, you’ll need to measure and cut it to size. Make sure to sand the edges and surfaces to avoid splinters.

Next, you’ll need to assemble the door. You can use a simple design with cross braces or create a more intricate pattern. Once the door is assembled, you’ll need to add the hardware. Barn door hardware kits are available in a variety of styles and finishes. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. With a little bit of effort, you’ll have a beautiful wooden barn door that adds character and charm to your home.

Understanding Barn Doors

If you’re looking for a unique and attractive way to add functionality to your shed or barn, building a set of Dutch-style barn doors is a great option. However, before you start building, it’s important to understand the history and different types of barn doors available.

History of Barn Doors

Barn doors have been around for centuries and were originally used to protect livestock and farm equipment from harsh weather conditions. They were typically made from wood and were hung on tracks to allow for easy opening and closing.

Over time, barn doors have become a popular design element in homes and businesses. Today, they are often used as room dividers, closet doors, and even as a decorative feature on walls.

Types of Barn Doors

There are several different types of barn doors available, each with its own unique style and functionality. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Dutch Barn Doors: These doors are split horizontally, with the top half able to swing open while the bottom half remains closed. They are a popular choice for barns and sheds, as they allow for easy access while still providing security.

  • Sliding Barn Doors: Sliding barn doors are a great option for rooms with limited space, as they don’t require any clearance for swinging. They are typically hung on tracks and can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and glass.

  • Hinged Barn Doors: Hinged barn doors are similar to traditional doors, but with a rustic, barn-like appearance. They are often used as interior doors and can be customized to fit any decor style.

When choosing a barn door, it’s important to consider the size and weight of the door, as well as the style and functionality you’re looking for. With the right door, you can add both beauty and functionality to any space.

Materials Needed

Before you start building your wooden barn doors, you need to gather all the necessary materials. Here is a list of the basic materials you will need:


The type of wood you choose for your barn doors will depend on your personal preference and the style you want to achieve. Here are some popular options:

  • Pine: This is a popular choice for barn doors because it is affordable and easy to work with.
  • Cedar: This wood is naturally resistant to rot and insects, making it a good choice for exterior barn doors.
  • Oak: This hardwood is strong and durable, making it ideal for heavy-duty barn doors.


You will also need hardware to hang your barn doors. Here are some common options:

  • Barn door track: This is the most popular option for hanging barn doors. It consists of a track that is mounted to the wall and rollers that attach to the top of the door.
  • Hinges: If you prefer a more traditional look, you can use hinges to hang your barn doors.
  • Handles: You will need handles to open and close your barn doors. There are many styles to choose from, including pulls, knobs, and handles.


Finally, you will need some tools to build your barn doors. Here are some basic tools you will need:

  • Circular saw or table saw: You will need a saw to cut your wood to the desired size.
  • Drill: You will need a drill to make holes for hardware and to attach the boards together.
  • Screwdriver: You will need a screwdriver to attach the hardware to the door.
  • Tape measure: You will need a tape measure to measure the length and width of your door.
  • Level: You will need a level to ensure that your door is installed straight.

By gathering all of these materials and tools, you will be ready to start building your wooden barn doors.

Choosing the Right Wood

When it comes to building a wooden barn door, choosing the right type of wood is crucial. Not only does the wood need to be strong and durable, but it also needs to look good and fit the aesthetic of your barn. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right wood for your barn door.

Hardwood vs Softwood

The first decision you need to make is whether to use hardwood or softwood. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees, while softwoods come from coniferous trees. Hardwoods tend to be more durable and resistant to wear and tear, making them a good choice for a barn door that will be used frequently. Softwoods are generally less expensive and easier to work with, but they may not be as durable as hardwoods.

Some popular hardwoods for barn doors include oak, walnut, and mahogany. Softwoods like pine, cedar, and fir are also commonly used for barn doors.

Reclaimed Wood vs New Wood

Another decision to make is whether to use reclaimed wood or new wood. Reclaimed wood is wood that has been salvaged from old buildings, barns, or other structures. It has a unique character and history that can add charm and character to your barn door. However, reclaimed wood can be more expensive and harder to find than new wood.

New wood is a more affordable and readily available option. It can be purchased in a variety of sizes and species, making it easier to find the right wood for your project. However, new wood may not have the same character or history as reclaimed wood.

Ultimately, the choice between hardwood or softwood and reclaimed or new wood will depend on your personal preference, budget, and the look you are trying to achieve. Consider the pros and cons of each option and choose the wood that best fits your needs.

Designing Your Barn Door

When it comes to designing your barn door, there are a few things to consider before you start building. In this section, we’ll cover some important factors to keep in mind to ensure your barn door is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

Choosing a Design

The first step in designing your barn door is choosing a design that fits your style and needs. There are many different designs to choose from, including traditional, modern, rustic, and more. Consider the overall look and feel of your space, as well as the purpose of the door. For example, if you’re using the door for a pantry, you may want a design with a window or cutouts to allow for ventilation.

Once you’ve chosen a design, consider the type of wood you want to use. Popular options include pine, cedar, and oak. Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics, so be sure to choose one that fits your needs and budget.

Taking Measurements

Before you start building your barn door, it’s important to take accurate measurements. Measure the width and height of the door opening, as well as the thickness of the door. Keep in mind that the door should be slightly larger than the opening to ensure a snug fit.

Once you have your measurements, create a rough sketch of your door design. This will help you determine the size and placement of any windows or cutouts, as well as the location of any hardware.

In conclusion, designing your barn door is an important step in the building process. By choosing a design that fits your style and needs and taking accurate measurements, you can ensure that your door is not only functional but also adds to the overall look and feel of your space.

Preparing the Wood

Before you start building your barn door, it’s essential to prepare your wood. This step is crucial because it ensures that your door is sturdy, durable, and looks great. In this section, we’ll cover the two main steps in preparing your wood: cutting and sanding.

Cutting the Wood

The first step in preparing your wood is to cut it to the right size. You’ll need to measure your wood carefully before cutting it to ensure that it fits your door frame perfectly. Here are some tips to help you cut your wood:

  • Use a saw that’s appropriate for the type of wood you’re using. A circular saw is ideal for cutting straight lines, while a jigsaw is better for curved cuts.
  • Measure twice, cut once. Double-check your measurements before making any cuts to avoid mistakes.
  • Use a straight edge to guide your saw for straight cuts.
  • Cut your wood slightly longer than you need it. You can always trim it down later.

Sanding the Wood

Once you’ve cut your wood to the right size, it’s time to sand it. Sanding is essential because it smooths out any rough edges and prepares the surface for painting or staining. Here are some tips to help you sand your wood:

  • Start with a coarse sandpaper to remove any rough spots or splinters.
  • Use a finer sandpaper to smooth out the surface. Repeat this process until the wood is smooth to the touch.
  • Sand in the direction of the grain to avoid damaging the wood.
  • Use a sanding block to ensure that the surface is even.
  • Wipe down the wood with a damp cloth to remove any sawdust.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to prepare your wood for building a beautiful barn door. Remember to take your time and be patient – the better you prepare your wood, the better your door will look and function.

Assembling the Barn Door

Once you have all the necessary materials and tools, it’s time to start assembling your barn door. This section will guide you through the process of joining the boards and installing the hardware.

Joining the Boards

To create a sturdy and durable barn door, you need to join the boards together securely. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Lay the boards flat on a work surface, making sure they are aligned properly.
  2. Apply wood glue to the edges of the boards that will be joined together.
  3. Use clamps to hold the boards together until the glue dries. Make sure the boards are level and flush with each other.
  4. Once the glue has dried, remove the clamps and sand the edges of the boards to create a smooth surface.

Installing the Hardware

Now that the boards are joined together, it’s time to install the hardware that will allow you to hang the barn door. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Measure and mark the placement of the hardware on the barn door. Make sure the hardware is evenly spaced and level.
  2. Install the track on the wall above the doorway according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Attach the hangers to the top of the barn door using screws and a drill. Make sure the hangers are securely attached to the door.
  4. Hang the door on the track and test to make sure it slides smoothly.
  5. Install the door handle and any other hardware according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

By following these steps, you can assemble a beautiful and functional barn door that will add character and charm to your home.

Finishing Touches

Applying a Finish

Once you have constructed your wooden barn door, it is time to add a finish to protect it from the elements. Applying a finish will also enhance the natural beauty of the wood and give it a professional look. Here are some steps you can follow to apply a finish to your barn door:

  1. Sand the door: Start by sanding the door with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or imperfections.

  2. Choose a finish: There are many finishes you can use, such as paint, stain, or clear coat. Choose the finish that best suits your needs and preferences.

  3. Apply the finish: Using a brush or roller, apply the finish to the door in thin, even coats. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time and reapplication.

  4. Sand between coats: Sand the door lightly between each coat to ensure a smooth finish.

  5. Finish with a topcoat: Once you have applied all the coats of finish, add a topcoat to protect the door from scratches and wear.

Installing the Door

Now that your barn door is finished, it’s time to install it. Here are some steps you can follow to install your wooden barn door:

  1. Measure the opening: Measure the height and width of the opening where you want to install the door.

  2. Cut the track: Cut the track to the same length as the width of the door.

  3. Install the track: Install the track above the opening using screws and anchors.

  4. Attach the hangers: Attach the hangers to the top of the door using screws.

  5. Hang the door: Hang the door on the track by sliding the hangers into the track.

  6. Install the guides: Install the guides at the bottom of the door to keep it from swinging.

  7. Test the door: Test the door to make sure it slides smoothly and closes securely.

By following these steps, you can create a beautiful and functional wooden barn door that will add charm and character to your home.

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