DIY Wood Barn Door
Welcome to the step-by-step basement remodel! Beginning with the barn door, I guess? Why not start somewhere random, right in the middle? The barn door was the first thing we wanted to build. For no particular reason. I’m glad we did because it informed some of our other choices, like paint color. For a small space or a movie room like this, it makes a lot of sense to build a barn door for privacy, space efficiency, and to block sound and light. It was actually incredibly easy to build this sliding barn door and took Joe only a few hours, including the torching job below.
- Tape measure
- Saw (optional)
- Wood glue (optional)
- Nail gun + air compressor or hammer
- Propane torch (optional)
- White paint (optional)
- Door track hardware
- Drill and screws
Designing the Barn Door
You might think they’re complicated, but building a barn door is pretty straightforward. Bonus points if you can actually find an authentic old barn door to reuse, but in our case, we built one. It would have been nice to reuse something old, but with custom dimensions, we decided to DIY this time. We’ve actually built a barn door before at the old house, so it wasn’t our first rodeo.
We made this one with laminate floor boards! One side was bamboo and one side was a darker wood finish. We loved this two-tone door. It was quite the beauty. It was a little on the heavy side, but otherwise perfect. It was nice to have a frame of reference before starting this project.
Wood Barn Door Inspiration
This time around however, we wanted to try something totally different. Joe found some ideas that he liked (above), and we decided to try our hand at hand-building with wood from the lumber yard. We just needed to figure out what kind of finish we wanted. Newer or older looking, grey, white or brown?
I spent an afternoon experimenting with a bunch of different stains and styles. We tried weathering and distressing techniques on some spare wood to see which looks we liked best.
In the end, here are the three options we liked best. This is the entryway where the door will be, so we had a nice long sit downstairs staring at the three test planks to get a feel for what each style would look like in the end.
Constructing a Barn Door
While we sat on that, we got to work building the door itself.
We took our measurements and headed to the lumber yard. We got a bunch of these 1×8’s for the main door slats.
Joe is making sure all the boards are straight and unwarped. The nice thing about building a barn door is that it doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. Of course you want your measurements to be spot-on, but it’s ok to have flaws and some character in the wood. If that’s what you’re going for.
We got home and got to work lining up our slats and framing out the header and frame around the outside of the door boards.
Easy enough so far, right?
Oh yeah, we also picked up our first table saw to make some big cuts. Very exciting! If you don’t have the tools, ask your hardware store to make your cuts for you. They’ll often do this. We figured it was worth investing in a basic table saw for future projects, but whatever makes sense for you.
Now that we have our pieces lined up, we put the door together with a nail gun. Then we cut an arrow pattern out with three boards.
After gluing them in place, we secured these down witht the nail gun too.
Two down, one to go.
Torching the Barn Door Wood
Now, you could leave it like this and it would look just fine. But we took it up a notch. Once the door dried, we started our distressing style of choice. Phase 1: the Torch. Joe did a great job bringing out the wood grain with this tiny torch. It’s really easy to do, as you saw in the video.
Be sure to go along the wood evenly as to not leave any super dark circles.
Go with the grain of the wood.
It’s really relaxing to do or even to watch. It’s almost like you’re pulling the wood grain out.
Nice work, chief.
I got to try my hand at it too. It’s seriously so easy; now I can do it no problem. I wanted to make sure Joe did the all main parts so it looked uniform. High pressure!
White Washing Barn Door Wood
But wait, there’s more. We thought about keeping it just like that, but quickly realized it was way too bold downstairs. It didn’t really reflect what we wanted for a soft, relazing space. Plus we discovered something awesome…
Whitewashing over the torched wood. I’m pretty sure we invented this. It was a eurika moment. Don’t even tell us if we’re not the first. In true Leah and Joe form, we took each of our styles and combined them to make something new and better.
Initially I wanted a pure whitewashed door to match my whitewashed fireplace brick. But Joe liked the torched look. So I thought, “hmmm, what would happen if we whitewash over the torched wood? Magic, that’s what.
It’s my new favorite thing. And so easy. Just mix 1 part water to 1 part white paint to make your whitewash. It makes a perfectly aged, smoky look. It took me a few hours using a rag to cover the door. It can be a bit streaky, so it can take awhile to get the hang of. Just be sure to whipe away excess with a dry rag to avoid the streaks.
It would have been too subtle without burning the wood, but way too in-your-face without the whitewash. Perfect combo that brings out the white in the room as well as all the wood grains and darker tones. <3
Barn Door Hardware
Once that was dry, we got to work on our metal track.
Joe decided we should go with the dark metal, which was a very good call. I think we used stainless steel the first time around, but this has a way better, antique look.
We found this on amazon here. We’re not going to get into the installation since that could be a whole new conversation, but it’s not too dificult.
The iron-looking hardware definitely works for this door.
Then we painted the room real quick before putting the door up. After hanging the door, all that’s left is ordering the handle.
Oh what fun we had shopping for handles. We didn’t find anything we liked in stores.
So it was ebay to the rescue. I found so many treasures from this seller. Very afforable for this faux-cast iron. It was so easy to install. Just two screws. They blend right in.
I knew I wanted something really big with some visual heft to it. Like a two-hands handle. Also something ornate was important to bring some feminine into the mix.
We’re definitely happy with how it all goes together.
One more thing. We needed to add a door stopper for safety. This wheel stops the door from flying off. It’s kind of annoying, but Joe assures me it’s important so nobody yanks the door straight off and the track comes crashing onto your face.
Joe will probably spray paint it and maybe cut it down to size a little bit. We were also able to get away with just one instead of two by stopping our door a little sooner than the end of the track.
There you have it. Our custom DIY wood barn door. Total price ~$130. Less than $150 for sure. We’re smitten.
And we kept the other side as-is because we really miss the old two-tone barn door. And this time we don’t need two layers of wood to achieve the look. It’s the best of both worlds!