Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How to make and install a sliding barn door for less than $100

DIY Sliding Barn Door for less than $100

Credit Pinterest or Fixer Upper for the phenomenon: Sliding barn doors are trendy as hell when it comes to prettying up your space.

Unless you're a carpenter prepared to build a door out of two by fours all on your own, adding a barn door to your home can be costly. Real-wood slab doors, when bought new, begin in the $300 range and only go up from there based on size and style. Add the sliding barn door hardware, and you could be looking at an investment of $600 or more – ain't nobody got time for that.

But what if I said you could spend less than $100 on a barn door AND hardware? You can. Because, if I, Daryl why-DIY-it-when-you-can-just-buy-it Lindsey can do it, so can you. 

For the past six months, my husband and I have been renovating our 1930's Tudor bungalow. We've devoted every spare minute, dollar, and thought to the renovation since then – and we're still not done.


Admittedly, we were way too ambitious: Knocking out a staircase to convert our basement into a rental unit and fully renovating both apartments was absolute crazy-town a big undertaking we weren't altogether prepared for. 

Because we are masochists, we added a sliding-barn door to the list of many projects for our rental unit. The wall with the barn door on it is also one of the first things you see when entering the apartment, so we wanted the door to make a strong visual statement. Also, we watch Fixer Upper and are total sheeple, so we figured we'd hop on the bandwagon. 

But because money is tight (Reno budget? What's a reno budget?) we had to get creative.

The key, and this is really important, is to find a used, already-made slab door. 

This is easier than you think. I found a beautiful old door on my first trip to the ReStore, which is a construction-materials thrift store of sorts for Habitat for Humanity. It needed some love, certainly, but slab doors at the ReStore are only $5, which makes the extra effort more than worth it. 

I am not a prolific gif-maker, but I tried.

How to make an affordable sliding barn door:


  • Salvaged wood slab door – ReStore, $5
  • Barn door hardware – Amazon, $47.95
  • Electric sander – Borrow from a friend if you don't have one on hand, $0
  • Power drill – Borrow from a friend if you don't have one on hand, $0
  • Sanding disks – Harbor Freight, $3.99 
  • Wood stain – Home Depot, $7.77
  • Polyurethane in Flat/Matte or Satin finish – Home Depot, $12.67
  • Rag or pad for staining – Home Depot, $5
  • Brush set – Home Depot, $7.97 
Total cost: $90.35. Because I had most of this stuff on hand already, I only spent about $60 for this project. 


How to sand and stain a wood door
#MuchHGTV #VeryDIY #Wow
  • Find a super freaking cool slab door at the ReStore or other construction-materials thrift store. Like I said earlier, I found a door on the first try. I didn't love the color (hence the choice to stain it) and we had to cut four inches off the bottom so it would fit in the basement space.
  • Take that sucker home, turn on your sander, and blast off any nasty paint or stain you don't like. If the door appears to be in good condition, you can skip this step, but use your judgment. Any stain you don't sand off will appear through the stain you apply on top. For example, it was too tedious for me to sand off the doors orange-ish stain around the edges of the panels, so I made the *creative decision* to leave the stain on in those areas, making the panels' edges a lot warmer in tone than the rest. Since shabby-chic is the goal, you have room for error – or, um, laziness.
  • Apply your stain according to instructions, using a rag or staining pad. I used Miniwax Wood Finish in Walnut. Let dry.
  • Apply a second coat of the stain if you're not satisfied with the color. Let dry again, duh.
  • Pat yourself on the back for getting this far, because you're a freaking badass.
How to refinish a wood door
Sanding, and stain, and poly, oh my!

  • Use a paint brush to apply a polyurethane finish in matte or satin. You definitely don't want a shine on your rustic AF barn door, am I right? Let dry.
  • Let your barn door sit under your carpark for a month while you procrastinate on this project. Oh, just me?
  • Hang your wall hardware according to package instructions. You'll need a power drill or electric screwdriver. The hardware comes with optional wall anchors if you don't have wall studs where you need 'em. Not gonna lie, guys, this took us a while. Luckily, google exists, so I promise you'll get through it.
  • Attach the door hardware to the top of your door using a power drill or electric screwdriver, according to package instructions.
  • Hang up your door and screw in the stoppers on either side so the door doesn't come crashing off the rails.
  • Bask in the glory of the gorgeous door you just made and installed like the grown-ass adult you are. 

Affordable sliding barn door for less than $100

We pulled the gold handle off the slab door before staining it (hence that chunk cut out of it on the right side) and will replace it after spray-painting it black.

Just one more thing we'll put off until the last minute, I'm sure. 

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