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Choosing the best barn door hardware can be confusing. Since this type of hardware involves lengths that might not make sense, rollers, offsets and other jargon some education is needed if it’s your first time.
In this article we’ll walk through the best hardware available, break down what the hardware lingo means, and highlight the key features that will simplify your buying decision.
Before we begin let’s run down what goes into choosing the right barn door hardware:
- All metal construction (no plastic)
- Fit for your exact door width
- Finish color to match door hardware
- Manufacturer tested longevity for 10,000+ operations
- Bypass door support for two-door installations
- Door thicknesses and weight supported
- Support for slow close (non-slam)
1. Smart Standard
2. EaseLife Barn Door Kit
**Best Value Stainless**
3. Winsoon Door Kit
Understanding Barn Door Hardware
Barn door hardware is a variation of a “top hung” sliding door. Due to it’s styling and distinctive look it is often fashioned to look rustic to mimic the European descent of sliding doors used in barns.
At it’s simplest, the barn door is a door that sits in front of an opening and is made to slide left or right to reveal or hide the opening behind. While similar to a pocket door, which disappears into the the wall, an exterior mounted barn door offers aesthetic appeal.
Key features of barn door hardware:
- Support for doors over 200 pounds
- Smooth gliding ball bearing rollers
- Soft stops for quiet opening and closing
- Easily mounted into wall studs with proper screws included
- Support for double doors (optional)
Most barn doors do not require a bottom track as they use a single door guide that keeps the barn door on a straight path parallel to the wall. This door guide is typically screwed to the wall and has a roller system that keeps the door from floating in and out during operation.
But if you want the base guide to be invisible there are, as shown above, guides that use a groove cut in the bottom of the door. Another advantage of a groove method is areas with small children where rollers may be a pinch hazard.
How do you measure for barn door hardware?
You’re probably thinking that a barn door might have a gap to see into the next room. And you’d be right. Due to the design both privacy, light and sound are different with a barn door than a standard door.
And that’s why barn door measurements involve a little bit of preference, wall size, consideration for trim and of course the door you intend to put in place.
The folks over at International Door Company have a great visual guide for measuring barn door widths that will help decide what hardware you need.
Can you use a barn door for a bathroom?
Do you need to remove trim when installing a barn door?
In almost all cases the answer is no – the trim stays on the existing door. Since the trim around a door conceals the shims and rough opening, removing the trim would require significant repair and likely a professional drywall crew.
However, for new home construction there is certainly an opportunity to finish the wall on both sides and avoid use of trim.
Can you soundproof a barn door?
This is a tough one. Due to the design a barn door doesn’t create a tight seal so sound has ample opportunity to leak through to the adjacent room.
A few options to soundproof include:
- Use of a weatherstrip on the sides and bottom of the door.
- Remove trim and create as tight of a seal as possible between the wall and barn door.
- Use a larger door.
What is stainless steel 304?
So why do all the barn door hardware kits made from stainless steel say “304”?
First, the 304 refers to the grade of the stainless steel and the contents of nickel that compose it. For home appliances such as refrigerators and even commercial settings it is a common grade.
But, a higher grade exists that is typically used in marine applications: stainless steel 316. So what’s the difference between the two? Molybdenum. This element is the rust-resisting element and is only found in a trace quantity in 304. But in 316 stainless it is 2-3% of the overall composition.
Now do you need 316 for your barn doors? Unless you are planning for an exterior barn door the 304 stainless should be just fine.
Where do you buy barn doors?
With their rise in popularity just about all of the big box stores carry them. And they are also available online at Amazon in a variety of styles and dimensions.
Now in my woodworking career I’ve made hundreds of wood doors and there are a few things you’ll want to consider when purchasing:
- Inspect the door when received for warping and wood damage. Reject it for any flaws.
- Real wood vs. composite construction. Due to cost a number of doors are constructed using mashed up wood (MDF). Generally this is just fine unless you are seeking true authenticity.
- Some wood is easier to apply a finish coat to than others. Pine and maple are notorious for “blotching” when stained and can be a headache. Depending on your skill a professional painter may be of assistance. A clear wood finish is easy on most doors.