Rustic Vibes: How to Build a Barn Door In 10 Steps

Slide into nifty room solutions with this space-saving door project

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated May 11, 2022
A home with a sliding barn door
Photo: Allison / Adobe Stock


Learn a new skill while beautifying your home.

Time to complete

72 hours

2 to 3 days

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What you'll need:


  • Miter saw
  • Power drill and drill bits
  • Power sander
  • Extendable clamps
  • Stud finder
  • Level


  • 2 1-by-1-by-8 boards
  • 7 1-by-6-by-8 boards
  • 1 1-by-6-by-6 board
  • Wood glue
  • Wood filler
  • Screws
  • Wood stain or paint
  • Sliding door track kit
  • Metal handles

This just in: barn doors are having a moment. Whether you appreciate the sliding style or need a door that’s well suited for smaller spaces, a barn door is a catch-all solution for many home renovation projects. Having a barn door built and installed by a pro will cost between $400 and $1,200, so you can save money by tackling it yourself. Read on for how to prep wood materials and assemble a barn door in this ten-step guide.

Prepping to Build a Barn Door

Determine How Big Your Door Will Be

The first day of building a DIY barn door is planning and building the product. Day two (and possibly three, depending on dry times) will be for installation.

This guide will help you build a sliding barn door for a typical interior door space. You can adapt it for larger doorways or outdoor spaces but might need to do some additional research in terms of functionality for these projects.

Cut Your Lumber As Needed

Select the lumber you'll use for your DIY barn door, purchase it, and make the necessary cuts with a miter saw. Cedar, teak, and bamboo are all fancy hardwoods that look gorgeous as a barn door, but they cost a little more per square foot. 

For this build, you'll need:

  • Layer One

  • Six pieces of 1-by-6-by-8 wood boards

  • Layer Two 

  • Two pieces to support vertically (measure to size)

  • Two pieces to support horizontally

  • One supporting beam to cover diagonally (measure to size)

White pine or ash is another popular option for inside barn doors; however, the most affordable option is plywood. 

For wider spaces, you can build two barn doors of the same size that pull together from opposite sides. Or you can simply double the number of 1-by-6-by-8 boards you glue together, then build a frame and cut a supporting beam that fits your desired door size.

10 Steps to Build a Barn Door

  1. Use a Wood Sander to Remove Any Hard Edges

    A powered wood sander or plain old sandpaper can help smooth out your door, especially when using repurposed barn door wood.

  2. Stain or Paint, If Desired

    Closeup of a brush staining a door
    Photo: Dusan Kostik / Adobe Stock

    Before assembling your layers, use stain or paint on each individual piece of wood, as desired. Heritage colors that recreate that classic barn door look include weathered wood gray, cedar, cherry dark red, and espresso.

  3. Line Your Boards Up to Ensure Proper Fit

    Once cut and dried, lay your boards out on a flat surface like a garage floor or driveway to ensure they fit together. 

    It might benefit your build to save the final 1-by-6-by-8 board—which will become your diagonal beam in layer two—until you've lined these up to measure the diagonal beam. This will ensure a proper fit. For uneven wood, you may need to make a slightly different angular cut so everything fits snugly.

  4. Glue Layer One Together

    Layer one is the six boards laying side by side that'll form the foundation of your DIY barn door.

    Apply wood glue liberally to each end and press to seal the pieces together. Use adjustable clamps to hold them together. Most wood glues take about 12 to 24 hours to dry, so tackle this portion in a room or area with low foot traffic.

  5. Glue Layer Two Together

    Layer two comprises of a frame that'll support the six boards you've laid down. You can glue this directly to piece one (or build it separately and let it dry), then attach it with wood glue. If your wood is slightly uneven, it's probably best to build the frame separately and then attach the pieces.

  6. Cut Your Diagonal Beam, Then Attach

    After the wood glue has dried, line up layer two over layer one. Take measurements with the final beam to cut the diagonal piece accurately, then make those cuts with a miter saw.

    Use wood glue to secure everything in place. You can reinforce the diagonal beam at the top and bottom with a screw on each end if you wish.

  7. Install a Backer Board to the Wall

    While your wood glue dries, install the backer board (1-by-1-by-8 board) to cover the length of your door frame with at least the full space of the door frame to the left or right side. 

    For indoor drywall, make sure you use a stud finder to locate the wood beams in the wall and drill into those areas to secure it. You’ll want to use a level to check your work as you complete each step.

  8. Install the Sliding Track Kit

    You can find a sliding track kit for a barn door for under $60 if you look online (this might not cover shipping costs) or at home improvement stores near you. Track kits come in different colors and textures, so pick one that complements your aesthetic and the style of wood you're using. Also, determine if it’s compatible with the thickness of your wood materials.

    Honestly: it's fun to DIY build a barn door, but these kits make life much easier, and they're pretty wallet-friendly. Consider one of these instead of trying to build your own sliding track.

    Most metal barn door sliding track kits come with a metal bar and separating bolts to create space away from the wall for the door to slide. Install these to the backboard, then attach the metal track as per the instructions.

  9. Mount Your Barn Door to the Sliding Track

    Once your barn door dries, it's time to mount it and test. Read the directions for your barn door kit. Most have metal track hooks that hang down and drill directly into the double-layer portion of your door. 

    Once the tracks are secure, test the door to make sure it slides the way you want it to—make adjustments as needed.

  10. Install your Handles

    Last but not least, mount the handles to the door. Creative ideas include a ring flush barn door handle, a leather pull, or just a basic single door handle you can get at a home improvement store.

Building a Barn Door DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Building a barn door is a satisfying project that'll stretch your DIY muscles. But the sense of accomplishment and the fact that you'll save several hundred dollars makes this a suitable project for homeowners who are up for a challenge.

Hiring a local door installation specialist makes sense if you need a barn door that offers serious functionality—such as weather protection or insulation—or if the weight of the door makes it a difficult project to tackle by yourself.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.