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How to Avoid Installation Problems While Installing Barn Door Hardware and Barn Doors

Thursday August 1st, 2019

Doing something right always takes less time than doing it fast. You’ve been there with home remodeling projects before and we want to help make sure that you avoid some common mistakes and problems when installing a barn door and barn door hardware.

Before you purchase your barn door or barn door hardware consider these things:

1. Space

Consider the space that you have off to either side of the opening where you would like to install a barn door. There needs to be the same length as the width of your opening off to one side for a standard single door operation, or, half the length of the width of your opening off to either side for a bi parting two door configuration. You will also want to ensure that you have a minimum of 3” of space above your door opening for a low clearance system like https://rustica.com/low-clearance-barn-door-hardware/ or approximately 6-7” for the standard barn door hardware systems like https://rustica.com/industrial-barn-door-hardware/. Often times we see customers wanting to install a barn door over an already finished opening. The beauty about a barn door is that this is not a problem at all. However, when retro-fitting a barn door over an existing/finished opening, there is not likely solid blocking or framing behind the finished wall to which the track can be installed. In these situations, you will need to consider either ordering your track without pre-drilled holes so that you can drill them on site to line up with the wall studs, or, you will want to consider to include an external header board with your order. This is a length of hardwood 1x6 that is ordered 4” longer than your track and gets installed to the studs above your opening and off to the side which the door will slide. Then, your track will get installed to this header board. This allows you to order your track with pre-drilled holes as it will be installed directly to the header board rather than to the wall studs. Also consider the flooring below the area which you will be installing the barn door. If you have carpet below the barn door location, then you will want to consider a wall mounted guide that can be affixed to the baseboard rather than the floor. With carpet, the door needs to be installed just a little higher off the floor to avoid friction with the carpet. With extra thick carpet, this can create a gap that is too significant to allow a floor guide to make contact with the bottom of the door. Also, if you have tile floors, it can be more difficult to install a floor mounted guide through the tile making a wall mounted guide more desirable.

2. Size

The proper way to measure for a barn door to ensure that you have adequate privacy coverage is as follows; Add 4 inches to the width of your opening to determine the door width and add at least 1/2 inch to the opening height to determine your door height. These are the most common sizing guidelines, however, often times there is a casing trim that you may want to have fully covered by the door when in the closed position. In this case you can take the exact outside dimensions of the casing and use that measurement to size the door. Another convenient aspect of a barn door is that there is some flexibility on door sizing. You will also want to take into consideration any trim, baseboard, lighting switches, or anything affixed to the wall on the side of the opening where the door will slide. Rustica offers the only patented wall offset adjustability so that you can fine tune the space between the back of your door and the wall.

3. Finish/Texture

The look and feel of the other surrounding architectural finishes in your space will either be complementary to your barn door or could clash. It is a real consideration to look at those finishes when ordering your barn door. For example; if you have a light colored, warm, honey finish wood floor that your barn door will hang over, then a light colored barn door that is not the same tones may look conflicting if it does not match exactly. So, a better solution may be a darker tone that has some lighter highlights to tie in the floor but not match. A common misconception is that all the wood should match in your home or in a particular space. A much more natural and authentic approach is to complement wood tones. A painted barn door or even a glass barn door, metal barn door or even leather barn door can also add much character to your space. A good example of a glass, french style door can be seen here.

4. Function

When considering your barn door or barn door hardware it is important to think through how this door will be used? How often? Does it need to latch or lock? Does it need to be accessed from the other side like for a bathroom barn door or an office barn door? If so then a flush pull will be necessary for the back side of the door. If it will be a pantry barn door then you may not want to add a flush pull to the back of the door. 

5. Quality

When considering a barn door, it is easy to find internet energetic entrepreneurs that want to sell you a barn door but have no experience in building doors. The reality is that a common mistake is thinking that a barn door doesn’t need to be engineered and crafted like a regular hinged door because it doesn’t have to fit into an opening. This is where we see customers coming to us and replacing those poorly built doors with one of our USA made and engineered doors by door professionals. If you consider a company other than Rustica to build your barn door or barn door hardware, make sure that company also builds front entry doors and interior hinged doors. A barn door manufacturer that builds front entry doors and interior hinged doors is likely building a high quality door and knows how to craft them to last.

Once you’ve ordered your barn door and barn door hardware and it's ready to be installed, make sure to watch for the following common mistakes:

1. Hanger Placement on Door

A common mistake when installing the barn door hardware to the barn door is that the hangers are installed too far from the edge of the barn door, or too close/far from the top of the door. Generally speaking, most of the classic barn door hardware hangers are designed to work properly in connection with the track stops when the edge of the hanger is exactly 2” from the edge of the door. Also, the track is 2” tall so the space between the top of the barn door and the bottom of the barn door hardware wheel should be 2 1/4” to allow for you to hook the wheel onto the track. If the hangers are installed with too large of a gap then the anti-jump brackets may not prevent the barn door from jumping off of the track when opened or closed with excessive force. Also, the barn door may end up dragging on the floor and not allowing for proper sliding movement.

2. Track Placement

A common mistake is installing the track before the hangers are installed on the door. It’s best barn door installation practice to install the hangers onto the barn door prior to installing the track to the wall. Once the hangers are installed to the door, then you can get an exact measurement from the bottom of the wheel to the bottom of the door. This will help to insure that the track gets installed at the right height on the wall avoiding too much or too little space between the bottom of the door and the floor. If there is too much space between the bottom of the door and the floor, then the floor guide is not likely to function properly. The privacy advantage will also be weakened. If there is not enough space, then the door will also not function properly with connection to the guide as well as roll properly. Another mistake that you will want to avoid is installing the track out of level. It is a common mistake to use the floor or the ceiling to measure up or down to mark holes for the track. The flaw in this method is that most ceilings and floors are not level. This is a big problem for barn door tracks because you will find that the door will not stay put and will have a tendency to always roll towards the lower level of the track. Use a minimum 48” level to achieve the appropriate amount of level track. Also make sure to install the closed end of the track flush with where you want the edge of the door to stop.

3. Communicate

When installing your barn door or barn door hardware, a common mistake is to assume anything rather than calling into our customer service and support team to assist. We are anxious to help with your barn door installation questions and concerns. We have many years as the industry leader for 15 years in custom barn doors and barn door hardware and love to help our customers with their inspiring projects. Both founders Kate and Paul are constantly jumping on our support chat line to help you. Call us or text us now! 1-800-891-8312 or e-mail us at [email protected].

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