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Before You Buy Barn Doors

Barn doors are a great idea in many situations. They add an updated look to a room, and there are so many different styles that can fit any decor. They can be ordered painted or stained in many different types of wood. They are also available in clear or obscured glass.

I will go over some basic things, openings needed, and what is required for a barn door to be installed properly. I will also cover some issues people need to be aware of before they purchase a barn door.

Opening sizes are important!


1.) In order for a barn door to be installed correctly, an opening must have at least equal to or greater than the width of the space the door will be covering on either side. So if you are going to cover an opening that is 32 inches, you will need at least 36 inches on either side for the door to slide open. If you have half of that, you can do double barn doors, but you will still need at least half the distance of your opening on each side of your door openings.

On openings that are larger than 32 inches, it can be a challenge for barn doors.

Barn doors typically will be made up to 36 inches without having one custom-made. As I mentioned before, doors should be at least 4 inches larger than the opening. So if you have a 36-inch door, you will want a door larger than how most of them are typically made. A custom door can be up to 42 inches, but that size is rare. At Top of The Trades, we offer up to 60” wide doors.


2.) Barn doors come at a basic size of 84 inches, but the height that it requires above your door opening averages about 93 inches. When you do not use a ledger board, it can significantly reduce the size. However, if you have an opening where the ceiling is lower or crown molding, you need to make sure there are at least 90 to 93 inches from the floor to the ceiling.

Wall Conditions

3.) Barn doors do not sit flush against the wall condition.

They project out from the wall up to 3 1/2 inches depending on the type of hardware. There is a gap between the wall and the inside of the barn door, and the clearance between them is usually an inch and a quarter.

So any picture frames that you might have hung on the wall will not be an issue if they don’t project out very far, but you will need to consider there cannot be anything in the way of the door for it to slide all the way open. So if you have a chair nearby, it will need to be away from the wall so your door can open.

Some more important things to know about Barn Doors

Locks are not standard

1.) Barn doors do not come with a lock. You can certainly have something custom-made, but this is not typical, and it is an aftermarket product. So if you plan on using these doors in an area like a bathroom, this could be an issue unless it is in your bedroom where you’re not worried about locking it.

There are barn doors with a type of bypass hardware or two doors mounted and stacked on top of one another. I highly urge you NOT to do this. The problems get augmented due to the gap being even bigger, they tend to sag from the weight of the door being so far out from the wall. We’ve had nothing but issues with this type of product. Please don’t do it!

Gaps and privacy concerns

2.) When barn doors are fully closed, there is still a gap between the wall and the door, and someone can see through to the other side. Many times this is not an issue if privacy is not a concern. Nevertheless, you can add something to the edge that can cover the gap, but it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing. It would be an aftermarket adaptation to your product so be sure your installer knows how to do this before hiring. Most doors should be ordered where the door is at least 4 inches bigger than the opening. The door needs to slide past the opening by at least 2 inches. So you will have at least 2 inches of coverage on each side of your door when it is closed.

If you are looking to install new barn doors in your home, we hope that these things are helpful in allowing you to make an informed decision. Barn doors are an essential part of ensuring your home is beautiful and comfortable, but if you want to find out more, get in touch with Top of the Trades today.