How to Make a Sliding Door

Interior Shiplap Sliding Barn Door

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 - 6 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Yield: 1 sliding door 84 inches tall by 44 inches wide
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $300 to $400

Sliding barn-style doors add a rustic touch to the indoors. Whether solid color for a more sophisticated look or in natural wood, farmhouse-type sliding doors add privacy, soundproofing, and style to a variety of home styles.

Build your own sliding door with this easy-to-do project that emphasizes simplicity without compromising on style. Pre-finished decorative shiplap planks form the basis of this sliding door. You'll need to measure and make precision cuts on a miter saw. After that, the rest of the job is just assembly.

Before You Begin

This sliding door covers a single-wide interior door that has an opening of 80 inches high by 32 inches wide. The sliding door is 84 inches high and 44 inches wide.

The extra height allows the door to overlap the doorway header and attach to the barn door track. The extra 4 inches of width on each side is needed to fully cover the doorway. That's because sliding barn-style doors have a little gap on each side that needs to be covered.

Type of Wood to Use

Decorative shiplap siding boards are used to construct this sliding door. Pre-finished and in a variety of textures and colors, decorative siding boards are intended for indoor installation. Because these boards are also pre-finished on their long edges, the door is ready for use right after assembly—no sanding, staining, or coating.

Eight vertical boards form the main body of the sliding door. In the product literature, boards are nominally called 6 inches wide but their true width is 5-1/2 inches. So, eight boards create a door 44 inches wide.

Tip

If you don't want to use pre-finished wood, use one-by-six pine tongue-and-groove common siding plank (8-foot). Board cost is slightly less than the cost of pre-finished decorative shiplap.

Safety Considerations

Wear eye and hearing protection when cutting the boards on the miter saw.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Electric miter saw
  • Tape measure
  • Caulking gun
  • Drywall square (optional)
  • Power nailer
  • Eye and hearing protection

Materials

  • 17 siding wood boards, 5-1/2-inch true width by 96-inch long
  • Panel adhesive
  • Sliding barn door track and hardware kit
  • 1-1/4-inch power nailer brads

Instructions

  1. Cut the Wood

    On the electric miter saw, cut the wood accordingly:

    Quantity Length Purpose Piece #
    8 84 inches Door body A
    4 44 inches Horizontal braces, top and bottom B
    4 73 inches Vertical side trim, left and right C
    2 33 inches Center horizontal braces D
    4 47-3/8 inches Diagonal cross braces, top and bottom E
  2. Assemble the Body Pieces

    Lay the eight pieces (A) that comprise the body of the sliding door on a flat, clean floor or large table. If the wood that you chose has tongue-and-groove edging, fit tongues into grooves. It might be necessary to tap on the edges of tongue-and-groove wood to completely join the pieces.

    Tip

    1. When assembling the sliding door, complete one side before moving to the other side. Flipping the door over in mid-process may move the boards out of alignment.
    2. If you purchased tongue and groove trim pieces, you may considers ripping off the tongue and groove edges from the boards with a table saw before using them as door trim pieces
  3. Square the Body Pieces

    Make sure that the body pieces form a perfect 84-inch by 44-inch rectangle. Rest a large drywall square (if you have one) on each of the four corners. Otherwise, run the tape measure diagonally from one corner to its opposite. Repeat in the other direction. The two numbers should match (about 94.83-inch) if the sliding door is square. Adjust accordingly if necessary.

  4. Attach the Top Horizontal Brace

    Apply a generous bead of panel adhesive to the back of one of the horizontal braces (B). Do not add adhesive within 1/2-inch of the edge, as this prevents excess adhesive from oozing onto the other boards.

    Place the brace across the top of the sliding door so that it is flush with the edges of the sliding door. With the power nailer, using 1-1/4-inch brads, nail the brace into place: two nails for every section that has a door body board (A) behind it. So, the brace should have at least 16 nails in it.

  5. Attach the Bottom Horizontal Brace

    Similar to the top horizontal brace, add the bottom horizontal brace (B) to the bottom of the door.

  6. Attach the Left Vertical Side Trim

    Add a thin bead of adhesive to the back of one of the vertical side trim boards (C). It's not necessary to add much adhesive since the vertical trim boards provide no structural support.

    Place the trim board flush with the left side of the sliding door. Nail into place with six to eight brad nails. As with the adhesive, you need just a few nails to hold the trim in place.

  7. Attach the Right Vertical Side Trim

    Similar to the previous step, add one of the vertical side trim boards (C) to the right side of the sliding door.

  8. Measure and Mark the Center Horizontal Brace

    With the tape measure and pencil, measure and mark the exact center of the width of one of the center horizontal braces (D). So, half of the board's true width (5-1/2 inches) is 2-3/4 inches. Place a mark on the left and right sides of the board.

  9. Measure and Mark the Door

    Measure and mark the exact vertical center of the door. Half of the door's length is 42 inches.

  10. Miter the Top and Bottom Diagonal Cross Braces

    Cut a V-shape into both ends of a diagonal cross brace (E). Precision is important, so measure the exact center at each end of the board (2-3/4 inches) after temporarily laying the cross brace in place. Then cut at 45-degree angles with the electric miter saw. Repeat for the other diagonal cross brace.

    Tip

    Be sure to preserve the board's length. An easy way to do this is to make sure that the pencil mark does not get cut off when you miter the board.

  11. Dry-fit the Center Cross Brace and Diagonal Cross Braces

    Place the center horizontal cross brace (D) at the exact vertical center of the sliding door (as marked earlier). Place one of the diagonal cross braces (E) above it and another below it.

    While the boards should all fit tightly together, sometimes cutting causes minute differences. So, arrange the boards as needed.

    Tip

    The cross braces can both run in the same direction or in different directions. It's up to you. Structurally, the boards work the same in either direction.

  12. Attach the Center Cross Brace and Diagonal Cross Braces

    Attach the center horizontal cross brace (D) and two diagonal cross braces (E). Use a generous amount of panel adhesive and nails at every vertical door board location since these braces are structural.

  13. Install the Braces on the Other Side

    Turn the door over. Repeat all of the braces and trim boards on the other side of the door:

    • 2 vertical side trim pieces
    • 2 horizontal cross braces
    • 1 horizontal center cross brace
    • 2 diagonal cross pieces
  14. Attach the Barn Door Slider Hangers

    Attach the two barn door slider hangers to the top of the sliding door. Depending on your kit, holes may need to be drilled through the top of the sliding door to accommodate bolts. After that, complete installation of the sliding door by attaching the track over the doorway.

When to Call a Professional

To widen the doorway for a double-wide sliding door, hire a contractor if the wall is a load-bearing wall.