FLOW Sliding Barn Door

“Were you raised in a barn?  Close the door!!!” I’m sure everyone has heard that phrase a time or two growing up.  By the way, the correct response from any intolerable little cuss is “then why don’t you clean this pig sty up mom so it’s not so confusing!” then quickly duck the open palm face slap that’s probably on its way.  Speaking of barns, let’s talk about this awesome barn door build!

FLOW Sliding Barn Door

We are back at FLOW Cycle Studio again!  You might remember them from the FLOW Reception Desk from a few years ago.  This time we built a custom 5′ x 8′ sliding barn door that you can easily build yourself!  Here’s how you can build one to fit your door.

Tools Used For Build

*Tools listed are what I used.  Affiliate links below.

  • Miter Saw
  • Biscuit Joiner
  • Drill Driver
  • Impact Driver
  • Random Orbit Sander
  • Nail Gun

Materials/Supplies Used For Build

Little known fact… an octopus has three… no wait, that’s Finding Dory.  Oh yeah, large barn doors LOVE to warp.  Throw in rapid temperature changes and humidity from a place like a bathroom door or say… a fitness studio and you have a recipe for some major warping.  So if you notice that this build is slightly different than other barn doors it’s because I’ve factored in the size of the door and those extreme circumstances to combat warping.

Step 1 – Put Your Back Into It

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
Hopefully you picked out the 8 straightest 1 x 8’s at store because these are going to be the backbone of this operation, so no screw ups in step one.  For best results you really need a flat surface the size of the final door to assemble.  There are ways to cheat, but let’s assume you have the floor or table space.

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
I used a biscuit joiner to assemble the backer board with #20 biscuits.  Why biscuits and are they filled with delicious cheddar like Red Lobster biscuits?  You can risk 1-1/4″ pocket holes, but again with the warping… The pocket hole joint does not allow for movement in the wood.  Biscuits are good in doors and tummies… oh yeah… Cracker Barrel Biscuits…. Mmmmm…

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
With a little wood glue and the biscuits there can be expansion and contraction and still keep a strong joint.  I cut the biscuits 4″ inches from each end and then spaced the in-betweeners every 16″.  If you don’t have a biscuit joiner… you’re going to wonder how you got along without it this long.

Step 2 – The Inner Rectangle

Once your perfect backer board has had plenty of time to dry, you can move on to step 2.  If you’re like me without a flat surface big enough for the board and you’ve got some wonky joints… it absolutely okay and even recommended to immediately start step 2!

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
Why the urgency?  If the glue is still wet on your joints, then this step will flatten out those wonky waves you might be experiencing and set the joint.  If the glue is dry, you’re just going to break the glue bond on this step.   Cut two 1×4’s to 58″ and two 1×4’s to 89″.  Attach to the outer edge of the backer board with wood glue and wood screws making sure you flatten any waves as you go.  At this point you can also stain the back side of the backer board.  You want to do this before you add your cedar planks on the front incase you have any stain leak through.  I used MinWax Early American for our stained pieces.

Step 3 – Showcasing

For the visible door front I used cedar because it adds an element of texture and color for a relatively low cost.  Cedar fence planks are cheaper than cedar boards by a lot.This is completely optional, but I run the planks through a planer to skim off the top layer to really make the color pop.  You can get the same effect by sanding the outward face of the cedar plank as well (but planing is faster and cooler).

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
Cut the planks to 51″ and start laying them in between the 1×4 frame starting from the top down to the bottom.  You’re going to have a slight gap at the bottom that gets covered.  I added a few brads nails on the occasional board at the bottom, top and middle but mostly I wanted these planks floating.  Cedar tends to expand and contract quite a bit (especially boards this thin) so because these boards are allowed to float that should cut down on any warping that might occur if they were tacked into place.  Before you move on, I added two clear coats of poly to each board to really seal them up.  I used Varathane Triple Thick Semi Gloss to give them a slight shine.

Step 4 – Trim It Out

Now for the top bun of this barn door sandwich.  Make sure your 1×6’s are truly 96″ or that your barn door is truly 96″.  Chances are the 1×6’s are a little long.  Trim them to fit.  FLOW Sliding Barn Door
If all measurements are correct, you can also cut your shorter 1×6 to 47″ as well as your 1×10 to another 47″.  Dry fit and make sure everything is going to fit flush.  If it doesn’t, I have some cheats for you in the tips section below.  Before you attach this, you’re going to want to stain them to your final color choice.  I used MinWax Early American.  While your stain is drying, pre-drill holes on the outside edge of the frame from the bottom of the backer board.  The reason I drill from the backer board (and not directly through the top frame) is because that area is going to be hidden by the door frame and the wall.  I also used a countersink, 1-3/4″ wood screws and wood glue to attach the outer trim (the 1 x 10 goes on the bottom).  I also added the occasional brad nail to assist with securing the frame while the wood glue dries.

Assembly Tips

  • If you have any overhang or uneven edges (they should all be flush) you can use a circular saw with a guide and cut the edges even or use a router and a flush trim bit to even out the surface.
  • When attaching layers clamp everything.  Seriously everything. While the glue is drying it will only strengthen the adhesion between layers.

Hardware Installation

Depending on what hardware you choose, this step is going to be slightly different for everyone and you’re best off following the directions provided by each company.  We opted for a 10′ track and large spoke wheels hardware kit off of Amazon.  It was significantly cheaper than a barn door specialist store.  The wheels were hardened plastic instead of metal, but the other parts felt sturdy under the weight of the door.  I feel confident this set will hold up.

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
If your doorway has trim, you will need to add a backer board for the track in order to clear the 3/4″ trim.  It’s just a board (in our case a 1×6) that runs all 10′ and is screwed directly into the studs and painted to match the wall.  Because it’s 3/4″ thick as well it pushes your track out that extra 3/4″ for clearance.  You can also add a washer or two behind the track to really help with spacing.

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
In order to keep the door from pushing outward, we also added a door roller.  It really helps to keep the door rolling smoothly and prevents any accidents from people pulling the door outward rather than sliding the door on the track.  Again, this is another easy Amazon purchase with a metal roller that sits on the floor and mounts directly into the wall.

FLOW Sliding Barn Door
Lastly, for the door handle itself, we used industrial metal piping to match the piping on the FLOW Reception Desk.  It easily screws together and attaches directly to the door for a great rustic and industrial look. And you’re done!  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on the contact page and absolutely if you build your own from these plans I want to see how it goes!

~ Lazy Guy

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Jen from BtB
Jen from BtB
6 years ago

Love the build! Can you tell me what (if anything) you did for a handle on the reverse side of the door? We have a spot where we’d love some barn doors, but haven’t quite figured what we’d like on the reverse side for hardware.

4 years ago

This build is incredible! I’ve been wanting to do a project like this in my house for a long time, but keep being daunted by the enormity of the project. This blog helped make it feel more tangible. Do the tracks hold up over time?
Thank you for sharing!

4 years ago

I built a large barn door 2100 x 1300 out of kiln dried recycled hardwood and placed a piece of steel along the base. It has now cupped about 15mm before I’ve put it up. Any suggestions as to how i can fix it?
Thanks and regards

4 years ago

Hey! Thanks for the great blog post! I’m looking to build a barn door in the next week or so and am going back and forth about doing a solid wood construction like this or using a piece of 3/4” birch ply as a backer board, with pine as the face. It’s a closet door so I am not too worried about the aesthetics of the back side. But I am worried about warping. And one wood worker friend I had is wary of using the birch ply saying that in his experience plywood these days doesn’t actually stay straight… Read more »

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