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How to Install a Sliding Barn Door for a Closet

Monday October 11th, 2021
Barn doors look amazing in any room, from the kitchen and master bedroom to bathrooms and playrooms. While many homeowners enjoy them for their aesthetic appeal, they’re also highly functional. Barn doors are ideal for doorways and other openings, such as laundry rooms, pantry storage, and closets. Installing barn doors for closets can be a reasonable DIY project, as well. For installation, you’ll need to:

How to Install a Sliding Barn Door for a Closet

  1. Decide On Barn Door System
  2. Measure
  3. Gather Tools
  4. Install Backer and Metal Track
  5. Paint, Stain, or Distress the Door
  6. Install Barn Door Hardware
  7. Hang the Door
While most of this installation project can be done solo, it will go much faster and smoother with an extra pair of hands.

How to Install a Sliding Barn Door for a Closet

1. Decide On Barn Door System

Before you install your sliding barn door for closet setup, you need to decide on your barn door for the closet system. The system refers to the way your barn door will function. This isn’t referring to the styling of your door, such as whether you choose a rustic or modern barn door. Instead, the system refers to whether you plan to install a single barn door, a double barn door for the closet, or bi-passing barn doors.

You certainly don’t have to go with the standard barn door look and accompanying trim you’ve seen other homeowners choose. The best thing about choosing your closet barn door on BarnDoorHardware.com is that you have the freedom to customize the look, feel, style, system, and setup. If you want a modern white barn door for closet enclosures, you can do that. If you’d rather have a rustic barn door system, you can do that, too. No matter what barn door ideas you have, when you perusing BarnDoorHardware.com, you can bring them to life.

2. Measure

Measuring your barn door closet opening is one of the most important steps before you can choose the type of door or begin installing your closet door. This process will largely look the same, whether you’re installing a single door, double barn doors, or a bifold door for your sliding door enclosure. Pocket doors have a few different requirements, so if you decide to go that route, then you’ll want to adjust your measurements accordingly.

To measure for the space, you’ll want to measure your vertical space from the floor to the top of the door opening. You’ll also want to measure the width of the door opening, in addition to ensuring that the same width is available on the side of the opening (or both sides if you’re installing a biparting barn door or a bi-fold door).

One of the important things to determine is the amount of space you have on top of your closet opening since this will determine what kind of track you can install. If you have little to no extra space, you might need a ceiling-mounted barn door track. If you have a foot of space, however, you can mount a track onto the wall, instead.

While measuring, check the areas on either side of the opening where the door will slide. Lightswitches are usually fine, but you’ll want to make sure there are no pieces of artwork or decor elements that stick out and get in the way of the door’s ability to open.

3. Gather Tools

Once you’ve measured and ordered your door, it’s time to get down to business. Gathering your tools in one place will help you complete your installation project without unnecessary stops to get another tool from the shed or local hardware store.

The types of tools needed are the same no matter which door hardware you are installing (bypass barn doors, double closet doors, or a bifold closet door). You’ll also need these tools when installing your door track or optional hardware, such as a pull handle.

For this project, you’ll want to have these items on hand:
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety goggles
  • Power drill
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Stud finder
  • Gloves
  • Level
  • Ladder
  • Pencil for marking the wall

4. Install Backer and Metal Track

A backer board provides the required one-inch gap between the door frame and the barn door to ensure smooth opening and closing. This gap is needed for all interior barn doors, from closet barn doors to a sliding barn door set up in your laundry room. Wherever you end up installing a barn door, the process is largely the same.

Before installing the backer board, you’ll want to ensure that it’s already been painted to match the door or your wall. As it’s drying, use a stud finder to locate the wall studs directly above the closet door opening. Mark the studs with a pencil so you can find them again.

When your backer board is dry, transfer the stud marks to the board, being sure to hold the board level. This is the point where you’ll want to reference the instructions that come with your door track. Instructions will differ slightly, depending on the barn door hardware you’ve chosen. A regular track will require different installation requirements than, say, bypass barn door hardware. In general, however, you’ll need to drill holes into the backer board at the stud locations, and again where the track will attach to the board.

Once this is done, set the track aside and screw the board into the stud spots. You might want a partner for this part, as it’s critical to ensure the backer board is absolutely level. Repeat the process for each area you marked until the board is securely attached to the studs.

At this point, you can align the track with the predrilled non-stud holes and attach the track to the board, according to your specific hardware instructions.

5. Paint, Stain, or Distress the Door

Depending on the door style you want, you could opt for a clean stain or colored wood stain. The paint also looks impressive, and since this is an interior door, you can opt for options like a weathered look or distressed effect without worrying about its impact on the door’s function. While these effects are an option for an outside door, more care is required.

The paint or stain you choose to customize your door with can transform an old door into a new, modern piece of functional decor or further enhance the farmhouse or vintage look already present in your room. No matter which type of customization you choose, you’ll want to complete this step before you place any hardware on the door. If you order your door from BarnDoorHardware.com, we’ll do this for you, so you’ll be ready to install hardware as soon as it arrives.

6. Install Barn Door Hardware

Your closet door is almost ready to use! Your final step is to install your modern, custom, or rustic barn door hardware. You’ll want to reference the instructions that came with your barn door hardware kit, then install the rollers, the floor guide, and any barn door handles. Installing the hardware is a straightforward process, and can easily be completed on your own.

7. Hang the door

After you’ve completed the above steps, you’re ready to hang the closet door and admire all of your hard work. This part of the project is where an extra pair of hands will come in especially handy. With one person on either side of the door, you’ll want to lift it directly up and place the wheels squarely onto the metal track. Make sure it seats properly before you test it out.

Slowly move it back and forth to test its movement and make sure that the wheels move fluidly without any catches or hangups. If it all checks out, then you’re ready to put the finishing touches on your barn door closet setup.

Install the door guide to provide extra stabilization for the door, and to prevent it from swinging outward when in use. Door guides are especially helpful for closet doors in children’s rooms, since children tend to be less careful when opening doors. With a door guide, the door will only slide from side to side without any unintentional swing.

Follow the instructions that came with your barn door hardware floor guide to install. When finished, test the door again to make sure it smoothly glides open and closed.
As you enjoy using your newly installed closet barn door, be sure to dust the track and keep it free of dirt and buildup. Check to ensure the wheels always smoothly glide, and the floor track is firmly in place. Performing regular maintenance is key to enjoying your barn door closet for years to come.

5 Barn Doors for Closets

BarnDoorHardware.com specializes in providing homeowners with a wide variety of sliding barn doors that are not only functional but beautiful. Any one of these sliding barn doors would work extremely well as a closet door in your home.
  • Brace Sliding Barn Door
  • Classic 2 Panel Barn Door
  • Artisan Half X Barn Door
  • Horizontal Panel Barn Door
  • Traditional Glass Barn Door

1. Brace Sliding Barn Door

This sliding barn door has the classic appeal of a traditional barn door combined with modern elegance and rustic beauty. The classic arrow design on the door inspires memories of rustic barns, horses, and good-old farmhouse living while black matte, raw steel, or bronze sliding door hardware elevates the door into our modern day.

The Brace Sliding Barn Door is a perfect accompaniment to any bedroom closet, from a teen’s room or guest room to a master bedroom. No matter the occupant, they’re sure to enjoy the upgraded view once their old closet door is removed and replaced by this effortlessly gliding barn door.

Depending on your decor scheme, choose a finish that blends in or contrasts with the surroundings. A clear coat or American walnut matches almost any decor, while a dark walnut should be paired with a room that has lighter elements, such as white, beige, or greige paint. Barn grey pairs well with lighter environments, while aqua or barn red creates a unique pop that’s ideal for a teen or child’s room.

2. Classic 2 Panel Barn Door

The Classic 2 Panel Barn Door is ideal for those who want a sliding closet door that can perfectly adapt to any style in your home. With this door, you don’t need a specific rustic or antique style, and, in fact, with the right finish and hardware, you can place it in nearly any type of home.

Thanks to the sharper edges, bold style, and simplified appearance, this sliding barn door has a more modern appeal and aesthetic than other options. If your home has a modern elegance or is even on the more artistic style with geometric decor, this barn door for closet openings will fit right in.

The hardware on this door is key to carrying the modern look through, so it’s important to choose a hardware style that complements the sharp lines and bold edges. The classic, aspen, and Garrick styles all work well with this door.

3. Half X Barn Door

Rustic farmhouse lovers, rejoice! The Half X Sliding Barn Door might just be the perfect closet door. The upper half of the door is unadorned, while the lower half has the classic X accent. Combined, the designs give the door a faux Dutch door look and feel.

This door can be stained or painted to maintain its rustic appeal. It goes without saying that the more rustic barn door hardware options look phenomenal on this sliding closet door. We especially love to pair the classic, horseshoe, vintage, arrow, or Garrick styles of hardware with this option.

Sophisticated enough for any master bedroom closet, but rustic enough to match any shabby chic, farmhouse, or antique-style decor theme, you’re sure to love installing this versatile barn door.

4. Horizontal Panel Barn Door

For those of you who love all things rustic, reclaimed, or vintage, the Horizontal Panel Barn Door will be the perfect addition to your sliding closet door. This gorgeous door is made from nature-aged lumber, providing you with a singular piece that is unmatched in quality and craftsmanship.

No two doors look alike, giving you a truly unique door to go with your one-of-a-kind rustic home. Whether you finish it, leave it as-is, or choose a clear coat, you’re sure to love this rustic element that adds a vintage pop to any room.

5. Traditional Glass Barn Door

If your home is more on the contemporary or industrial side, then look no further than the Traditional Glass Barn Door. This iron door features three panels of glass and is available in matte black, raw steel, or bronze finish.

Leave the windows clear if your closet looks like it was designed by The Home Edit. Those wanting to hide the clutter can choose to use frosted glass, or replace the glass with a mirror entirely. No matter how you choose to customize it, the end result will be a stylish and modern barn door.  

Sliding Barn Doors for Closets

Whether you choose to install a bedroom closet bypass door, a glass door, a DIY barn door, or a vintage sliding closet door, you’re in for an instant upgrade that will improve the look of any room. Master bedrooms, guest bedrooms, and childrens’ rooms will all benefit from adding a functional and stylish sliding barn door for your closet.

The best part is that installation is a fairly straightforward process, and you can even speed it up by selecting your door from BarnDoorHardware.com, complete with preferred customizations. When you receive your barn door, you’ll be provided with all the instructions you need to easily install your closet closure from start to finish in just a day.
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