So you've seen all of the amazing Pinterest, Instagram, and HGTV posts on all of these amazing hand-crafted custom sliding barn doors and you're thinking to yourself, "man, I wish I could afford one of those!"
Well, have I got some good news for you! Installing sliding barn door hardware is actually easier and cheaper than you think. You'll need some essentials to get started and a little bit of know-how, but as long as you follow along in this tutorial you'll have a new custom sliding barn door hung in no time! Just wait and see.
Before you even start to consider installing your barn door hardware kit, you will need to know the width of your door as well as the available horizontal and vertical wall space.
There are a few types of hanging barn door kits you can buy, but for this tutorial, we will focus on installing a Single Barn Door Hardware Kit. Once you've got the single door hardware kit down then installing a Bi-Parting or Bypass Rail System will be much easier.
MJC & COMPANY specializes in manufacturing awesome DIY sliding barn door hardware pieces. It's our own line of hardware and we've got plenty of top designs for you to choose from, so be sure to check out our entire hardware collection once you're ready to go.
Choosing the correct length of hardware is super easy, just take your door width and multiply that by 2 and ad 4 inches. The reason for the extra 4" is to allow for some overhang and room for error.
Pro Tip: Remember, it's always best to have a rail that is too long rather than too short. Consider a 4" overhang the minimum to allow.
Here's the formula: (Door Width x 2 + 4")
Door Height: When considering door height, the only thing to keep in mind is the ceiling height and your available header space. You will want a minimum of 6"- 8" of header space for a comfortable install.
Pro Tip: You want to make sure you have at least 8" of header space above your door just to be on the safe side. 8 inches will usually be enough space for most hanger designs.
Now that you've chosen your MJC & Company barn door hardware and made sure everything is sized correctly as mentioned earlier, it's time to start the installation process.
First, you want to mount the hangers on the top of your barn door, one near each corner.
Depending on the style of door you are hanging, the final placement of the hangers will depend. They should be installed 3" - 6" from the edge of your door to the center of the hanger. Experiment with different placements to see what measurement looks the best for your specific application before proceeding. Be sure not to go too close to the edge.
Once you've found the right placement, grab your speed square and slide the hanger up to it and temporarily clamp it in place, making sure it doesn't shift in place. Now that you've found the right horizontal placement, it's time to get the vertical placement correct before drilling your holes.
Depending on your wheel size, the vertical placement will vary. The easiest way to figure the vertical placement it to measure the width of your rail + the width of the anti-jump cap + 1/2 the depth of the groove in the wheel. The total value from these measurements will be the gap between the top of your door and the bottom of your hanger wheel.
Vertical Placement Formula for Hanger: (width of rail + width of anti-jump cap + 1/2 the depth of the wheel groove) = Total gap between top of door and bottom of hanger wheel.
Go ahead and drill 3/8" - 1/2" holes through the door by using the pre-drilled holes in the hanger as a guide. Insert the through bolt with the flat had facing towards the wall and the acorn nut on the outside of the door. Make sure to slip a washer on both ends of the bolt before screwing on the acorn nut.
Pro Tip: By installing the flat bolt head on the inside of the door facing the wall you will prevent the bolt head from rubbing the wall when opening and closing. If needed, you can also slightly countersink the bolt head into the backside of the door so that it's flush with the door face.
Repeat the process on the opposite corner of the barn door and tighten both sides completely. Now you're ready for the next step.
Most barn door rails come standard with pre-drilled installation holes at every 16" OC, however, most older homes or door openings may not have the studs placed exactly where needed to properly position the barn door rail. For this reason, it's recommended that you use a header board above your door for installation.
You can use whatever size board you want, I recommend using a 1X4 or 1X6. You can either paint the header to match the door, wall, or even use a contrasting color to make it pop. It's your call, so get creative!
The height of the rail will vary by the design of your hangers, however, the rough measurement should be about 2.25" above door height. This will leave roughly .5" gap underneath your door and about 1.75" of clearance from the center of your rail to the top of your door.
Pro Tip: If your floor is uneven, take your measurements from the high side of your floor to find your center point for the rail. This will ensure your barn door won't drag the floor when being opened/closed.
Overhang the edge of the rail 3"-5" and mark your first hole on the header board. Pre-drill the hole with a 3/16" drill bit. Holding one side of the rail up, place one of the rail spacers (wide flange against the wall) and line up the first hole of the rail with the spacer. Snug the bolt but don't tighten it all the way just yet.
Using at least a 4' level, mark a straight level line from the center of the spacer you just attached across the entire length of the door. Swivel the rail up and mark each hole where the remaining spacers and bolts will be attached.
Attach the far end side of the rail first and continue with the rest of the holes, placing one spacer (wide flange against the wall) and bolt per pre-drilled hole.
Next, you are going to need to install a floor guide. If you bought an MJC hardware kit then there is a T-Guide standard in each package. Another option of floor guide is an adjustable wall-mount guide.
a. T-Guide Installation: For the T-Guide you will need to cut a groove in the bottom edge of your door for the guide to slide into. The groove should be directly in the center of your door. Make sure the door is plumb in the hanging position before making fastening to the floor.
b. Wall-Mount Guide Installation: The wall-mounted floor guide is super easy and convenient. It's typically sold separately but will save you the hassle of having to groove out your door. And since it's wall-mounted, it's a lifesaver when installing over a carpet, concrete, or tile floor.
NOTE: Both the T-Guide and Wall-Mount floor guide will mount on the edge of the door jamb on the closing side. Make sure the guide is positioned in a way that it is supporting the door when fully opened and closed.
After the floor guide is in place, carefully hang your barn door and slide it through the floor guide.
NOTE: Make any final adjustments to the guide if needed to ensure the door is plumb without holding it into place.
Position your barn door into the fully closed position and slide one of the door stoppers up against the door. Tighten that down all the way.
Slide your door into the fully opened position (carefully ensuring you do not slide it completely off the rail) and install the second door stop in the same way.
Congrats! You now have a fully functional sliding barn door that you installed yourself.
Now just sit back, relax, and enjoy your awesome sliding barn door!
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