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How to Measure For a Sliding Barn Door

Installing sliding barn doors – which come in a variety of sizes and designs – adds rustic charm and character to a home’s interior. Blending style and function, they’re great for closets, pantries and home offices, but because there’s a small gap between the sliding barn door and the surrounding drywall, they may not work well for bathrooms or other rooms where privacy is essential.

No matter where you decide to install one, knowing how to measure for a sliding barn door correctly is crucial, and it’s important to consider the space above and to the sides of the opening.

Measuring a Barn Door

First, make sure that the header (space over the opening) can support the weight of the hanging barn door. There must be a support beam or strong studs in place on which to anchor the sliding track, and there should be ample space between the top of the opening and the ceiling to install the track. Generally, at least a 6-inch clearance is recommended, but there are hardware options that work with less room.

Next, you need to make sure that there’s enough empty space next to the opening to accommodate the door as it slides open. (If you are installing double doors, check on both sides.) Look for light switches, heat registers, electrical outlets and other things that might interfere with smooth opening and closing of the door.

When it comes to sliding barn door measurements, the width of the opening is the most important measurement because the track size is determined by this figure. In many cases, the track or hardware can be adjusted to accommodate different-sized doors, but it’s still a good idea to get a close match. Measuring the length correctly is essential, too, because if this figure is inaccurate the door may touch the floor once it’s hung, which will cause it to stick when opening and closing and may also damage the floor.

How to Measure for a Barn Door in Three Steps

  1. Using a tape measure, begin at the left edge of the opening and measure straight across to the right edge. (If the doorway has moldings, measure from outside edge to outside edge.) To determine the proper door width, add about 4 to 6 inches to your measurement. Ideally, the door will cover 2 to 3 inches beyond the opening on each side.
  2. To figure out what size track you need, double your final width measurement. 
  3. Measure from the header to the floor to determine the door length you need. (Again, for doorways with moldings, measure from the top edge.) Remember, the track will be installed a few inches above the opening, so you will need to factor that in. You also need the door to hang ½ to 1 inch above the flooring to ensure smooth operation.

If you replaced an old door with a sliding barn door, don’t throw it away! Learn creative ways to upcycle your old door from Mr. Handyman.

Find an Expert to Install Sliding Bar Doors

Getting sliding barn door measurements just right can be tricky. If you’re uneasy about installing barn doors yourself – or if you just don’t have time for a DIY project – contact Mr. Handyman. Our highly qualified home repair technicians will make sure that your barn door operates smoothly and looks great. In fact, Mr. Handyman can help with virtually any type of home maintenance, repair or installation project, and our workmanship is guaranteed. Call (877) 685-1377 or request a quote today!

Barn doors add a rustic charm to your home, but windows that sport a rustic look may not be so appealing. If your windows are looking drab, let Window Genie get them sparkling clean! Like Mr. Handyman, Window Genie is part of Neighborly’s community of home service professionals.

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