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5 Reasons to Buy an Unfinished Barn Door

Thursday January 11th, 2024
Household DIY projects that add function to your home—such as building a custom door—can be incredibly rewarding. However, not all of us have the skills or time to build a door from scratch. That’s why buying an unfinished barn door is the perfect solution, as you get the best of both worlds. You have the opportunity to get creative and test your skills without committing to the more technical aspects of the project. But that’s just one of the many reasons to buy an unfinished barn door. Other reasons include: 

5 Reasons to Buy an Unfinished Barn Door 

  1. Same Day Shipping
  2. Classic Design 
  3. Customizable
  4. Easy Project
  5. Affordable 
An unfinished barn door is a great hands-on project that requires minimal handyman skills. In this way, it’s perfect for beginners who want to build something for their home that they can appreciate every day, but who may not feel confident when it comes to putting it all together on their own. 

What is an Unfinished Barn Door? 

An unfinished barn door is just like any other barn door, except you are the one who gets to add the finishing touches to the wood. Comparatively, when you order a finished barn door on, you’ll choose a stain or paint color when choosing your customization options, and the designers at Rustica will add the finishing touches before we send your door. 

When ordering an unfinished barn door, you’ll browse Rustica’s selection of door styles to find one that matches your style. Once you select your door style, you’ll go through the door setup, which includes selecting door assembly, door width and height, door thickness, and what wood species you would like, such as alder or white pine. Next, you’ll choose the wood finish, where you can select raw unfinished or finish ready.

Finish ready is another term for unfinished. It means that the door is ready for stain and paint upon arrival. With this option, Rustica’s woodworkers prepare the door for a finish by filling in all the knots, voids, and cracks with a wood-filling compound. We’ll also sand down the surface with a fine-grit orbital sander to produce a smooth and even wood surface. All edges and joints are hand-sanded and treated to eliminate machined edges.
Raw unfinished leaves the finishing touches up to you. None of the knots, cracks, or voids are filled, and the wood is left un-sanded. When selecting this option, you’ll need to sand both sides of the wood surface and all the edges with fine-grit sandpaper before you can stain or paint it. It’s up to you whether or not you want to fill the cracks, knots, and voids.

5 Reasons to Buy an Unfinished Barn Door

Now that we’ve gone over what an unfinished barn door is and why someone might want to purchase one, let’s talk about some of the benefits of buying from Rustica: 

1. Same Day Shipping

Once you’ve found the perfect door style for your space, you may be quite eager for it to arrive on your doorstep so you can start working on it. Considering this, you’ll be happy to know that when you go with the raw unfinished wood finish option, your purchase is eligible for same-day shipping. 

Unfinished wood doors are more likely to ship out on the same day of purchase because there’s less prep work for our woodworkers. They don’t have to sand, fill, or stain/paint your door, which significantly speeds up the lead time for your door. 

Same-day shipping isn’t guaranteed, but we assure you that your new and beautiful unfinished barn door will ship out within a day or two of purchase. 

2. Classic Design 

A raw unfinished barn door reveals the wood's true character. You’ll be able to see every detail, curve, and pattern in the wood surface—and you’ll have the freedom to choose the perfect stain to highlight the wood’s unique character. This allows you to honor the classic and iconic design of authentic barn doors, which were often raw unfinished doors. 

A raw unfinished door also gives you the option to choose which wood knots, cracks, or voids are filled or left untouched. By leaving these natural features, you’ll have a truly rustic and classic barn door design. 
Rustica’s founder, Kate Allen, perfectly summarizes the benefit of raw unfinished wood:

“The raw unfinished option features many natural characteristics of wood, which may include some minor checking, voids, cracks, tooling marks, machined edges, and corners, as well as hard knots and loose knots. These are all beautiful characteristics of the natural, raw wood and provide an organic rustic feel. These characteristics may produce areas of uneven, coarse, and rough surfaces, voids, and racks.”

It’s not recommended to leave your barn door unfinished, as unfinished wood is more prone to warping and damage. Given that the wood will be used as a door, the last thing you want is a warping, which can negatively impact the function and quality of your door. Plus, unfinished wood is more susceptible to scratches and dents. Sealing the wood with a high-quality wood stain or paint protects your door, increases its durability, and ensures its use for years to come. 

A clear or light-colored wood stain will highlight the natural grain and texture of the wood. This is recommended over painting the door if you’re going for the classic and natural barn door design. That said, you can have an equally classic design if you choose to paint it white or red with a rustic distressed look. Either style would fit beautifully in a rustic farmhouse style home. 

3. Customizable 

Unfinished barn doors have more customization options. All of Rustica’s barn doors are customizable, but a raw unfinished barn door has even more room for customization. One reason for this is that you get to choose which cracks or knots are filled in.

Maybe you fill in the cracks but leave the knots unfilled to complement the natural wood look and rustic charm. On the other hand, you can get creative with how you fill the knots, voids, and cracks. For example, you can mix paint with your wood filler to create an artistic, one-of-a-kind door. Just remember to make sure you match the paint base with the wood base (i.e. oil-based wood filler with oil-based paint). 

Painting or staining your solid wood door yourself also allows you to use the exact type of paint or stain you want, as well as your desired finish color. For example, perhaps you only want to use an all-natural stain, such as a beeswax and linseed oil-based stain. 

By painting the door yourself, you also have more room for creativity and artistic expression. Perhaps you want to use a stencil and paint a beautiful design on your new door to create an elegant transition between one room and the next. Choosing a raw unfinished or finish ready door gives you the opportunity to add your own unique touch to the final door design, making it a perfect choice for DIYers and those with a specific vision in mind. 

Furthermore, you can opt to add barn door hardware to your purchase. This allows you to pick the exact hardware style you want and ensures you have everything you need to install and use your luxury barn door. 

4. Easy Project 

Whether you’re a seasoned handyman or a beginner DIY, finishing and installing your new barn door is a wonderfully easy project—one that’s sure to bring a sense of enjoyment.  

If you’re new to home projects, sanding and finishing a solid wood door is a great place to start. We suggest doing some research and learning the ins and outs of finishing wood so you can get the exact look you’re going for. 
When it comes to installing your barn door, Rustica will provide you with all the additional information you need to complete the project. We promise you’ll feel a significant sense of accomplishment once you’re looking at your fully installed and finished barn door. 

Because this is such an easy project, you should be able to finish it in a weekend. Plus, you’ll get the reward of accomplishing something with your hands, which will boost your confidence and encourage you to tackle the next home improvement project. 

If you’re interested in an easy DIY project that’s even more hands-on, consider our DIY Barn Door Kit. Rustica’s DIY barn door kit includes a metal frame so you can add your own quality wood panels. We provide the installation instructions for simple assembly, including tips to make sure your wood panels have a a tight fit. This option gives you even more freedom to create your own unique sliding barn door, and is Rustica’s most affordable interior sliding barn door. 

5. Affordable 

If you're trying to keep costs down, Rustica offers the perfect barn door solution. We have many affordable choices, including basic doors without extra upgrades. The raw unfinished door is just one of these options. It's not just budget-friendly; it also lets you add your own finishes. If you’re looking to save even more, you can also choose to assemble the barn door yourself—this is ideal for those who are comfortable with DIY projects. Keep in mind, however, that pre-assembled doors are quicker to install.

With these choices, Rustica makes it possible to own a quality, solid wood barn door without breaking the bank. Once you've added your own finish and put it together, your space will shine with a stunning new barn door.

Start Your Next DIY Project with Rustica Today 

Not all DIY projects have to be from scratch! This is good news for those new to the home improvement world. With an unfinished barn door, you have the opportunity to learn a new skill and create a functional piece of art for your home. And what’s more, unfinished barn doors are eligible for same-day shipping, offer a classic design, are fully customizable, and affordable. 

If you’re ready to start working on your new barn door, go ahead and browse Rustica’s extensive selection of barn doors today! Whether you need a single standard door, interior barn doors, or double barn doors, we have everything you’re looking for! 

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