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How to Measure for a Barn Door

Thursday July 19th, 2018
Measure twice. Install once.

DIY barn door projects are super popular right now and (even better) they’re easier to install than you think! But before you start comparing which style of door you want or deciding on a railing system you like, you’ll need to take a step back and do some math.
That’s right, you’re going to need to know exactly how much door space your working with: that includes the width and length of the door entry… and the distance between the top of the door and the ceiling. After all, the last thing you want is a railing system that’s too big because you just guesstimated the size.

How To Measure For a Sliding Barn Door & Track?

To help you get started, here’s a quick summary of measurements you’ll need to take before installing your door and track.

Barn Door Opening Measurements

While the style of barn door you choose will come down to your personal preference, you will need to be aware of barn door vs opening dimensions when making your choice. Your door’s width should be 2 to 3 inches wider than the door opening and 1 inch higher than the dimensions of your opening. The determining factor in how high or how wide you want to go is just how much you want your sliding door to overlap with the opening.
Quick rule of thumb: If your sliding door is in a room where you may want some extra privacy (like a bathroom or guest room), you’ll want to create even more of an overlap to prevent noise leakage and peripheral gaps.

Subtracting Trim

Your next step is to calculate the width of the door’s opening, starting from inside the door jamb on one side, all the way to the inside edge of the other. Repeat this step to find the height, measuring from the edge of the door header all the way down to the top of your flooring. You don’t want to measure past the flooring, otherwise your door won’t slide shut smoothly.
Once you calculate those dimensions, plus whatever amount for overlap you want, you’ve got the dimensions you need for your door opening.

Adding Trim

This step is similar to the way you would measure (above) your door without trim. However, instead of measuring from inside edge to inside edge, you’ll want to add the trim dimensions to both the length and the width of your door measurements, plus your desired amount for privacy overlap.

Make Allowances For Door Hardware

Once you’ve recorded the measurements for your door opening, you’re ready to measure for your barn door hardware. Always remember that your barn door railing system should be at least double the width of your door frame -- possibly longer if you have an odd-shaped door. For instance, if you have a doorway that’s 35”, you’ll want a track that’s at least 70” -- although a safe 6ft. (72”) would probably be even better.

Know Your Clearance

Finally, measure the distance from the top of the door frame or entrance to the ceiling. This is a vital step for successfully measuring for a barn door track because you’ll be a bit more limited if you’re installing your door on an entryway that has low ceilings. Knowing this clearance measurement will help you find a railing system that is sure to fit that space without a hiccup.
Note:Depending on how you plan to install your door (particularly if you’re hanging it by yourself), you may also want to consider measuring the distance between the studs on the wall where you want to hang your door. Some companies will pre-drill your metal railing system to fit these stud measurements to save you a step from having to do it yourself.
Now that you’ve recorded all of your barn door measurements, you’re ready to begin the fun part – picking out the style of door and railing system that complements your decor scheme! No matter what style you choose, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it for years to come!
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