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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I want to put a barn door in my house. It would be for an opening that's about 41" wide and 96" tall; when open, it would lie against the wall next to the opening. The door can't be 96" tall, because there's only 85" of clearance on that neighboring wall; so I'd fill in the top of the opening with something fixed. So I'm thinking the door should be about 43" wide, and about 78" tall (since the hardware adds 4-6" or so).

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I see several problems with the ones I can find. For one thing, the standard height is 84", so I'd need to trim off the top and/or bottom, which might look ok for some of the designs, but for some it'd end up looking weird. Also, they're darn expensive.

So I'm thinking of building my own. Not only could I make it the exact size, and for much cheaper, but I could put some soundproofing in it. Here's my plan: I wonder if it makes sense ...

I'd start with two sheets of 1/2" hardwood plywood. A local place has the flat cut stuff, which I understand looks more like actual boards than the round-cut big-box store stuff. I'd sandwich a 1/2" piece of "sound board" between them (it's a kind of pressed-cardboard looking material that deadens sound). The trick is how to hold all this together and make it look half-decent. I was thinking of using brass (or silicon-bronze) carriage bolts with brass cap-nuts; I'd almost certainly have to trim a 2" carriage bolt to get the cap nut to fit after it goes through 1-1/2" of material, so there's the issue of making the thread cut clean enough for the cap nut to screw on, but I gather that is doable. I'm not sure how many bolts I'd need - with the soundboard, glueing is probably out - perhaps one near each corner, and two along the centerline ? Then I'd put a strip of 1x2 material along the long edges; I think the top & bottom could just be left rough, since those edges wouldn't be at all visible. Then add handles.

It looks possible to buy a nice hardware set for $100 or so. This one is designed for two overlapping movable panels, but I think it'd work fine for mine, just discard the brackets for the further-from-wall door:


I also wonder if it'd look half-decent. It'd just be a large flat panel of hardwood-looking plywood, with the heads/capnuts of the brass fasteners, the trim strips along the sides, and whatever handles I add.
 

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I want to put a barn door in my house. It would be for an opening that's about 41" wide and 96" tall; when open, it would lie against the wall next to the opening. The door can't be 96" tall, because there's only 85" of clearance on that neighboring wall; so I'd fill in the top of the opening with something fixed. So I'm thinking the door should be about 43" wide, and about 78" tall (since the hardware adds 4-6" or so). I see several problems with the ones I can find. For one thing, the standard height is 84", so I'd need to trim off the top and/or bottom, which might look ok for some of the designs, but for some it'd end up looking weird. Also, they're darn expensive.

So I'm thinking of building my own. Not only could I make it the exact size, and for much cheaper, but I could put some soundproofing in it. Here's my plan: I wonder if it makes sense ...

I'd start with two sheets of 1/2" hardwood plywood. A local place has the flat cut stuff, which I understand looks more like actual boards than the round-cut big-box store stuff. I'd sandwich a 1/2" piece of "sound board" between them (it's a kind of pressed-cardboard looking material that deadens sound). The trick is how to hold all this together and make it look half-decent. I was thinking of using brass (or silicon-bronze) carriage bolts with brass cap-nuts; I'd almost certainly have to trim a 2" carriage bolt to get the cap nut to fit after it goes through 1-1/2" of material, so there's the issue of making the thread cut clean enough for the cap nut to screw on, but I gather that is doable. I'm not sure how many bolts I'd need - with the soundboard, glueing is probably out - perhaps one near each corner, and two along the centerline ? Then I'd put a strip of 1x2 material along the long edges; I think the top & bottom could just be left rough, since those edges wouldn't be at all visible. Then add handles.

It looks possible to buy a nice hardware set for $100 or so. This one is designed for two overlapping movable panels, but I think it'd work fine for mine, just discard the brackets for the further-from-wall door:


I also wonder if it'd look half-decent. It'd just be a large flat panel of hardwood-looking plywood, with the heads/capnuts of the brass fasteners, the trim strips along the sides, and whatever handles I add.
Just my opinion, it will be very difficult to make that door, using two sheets of 1/2 ply and 1/2 sound proofing, and expect the door to be anywhere near flat. Especially if you finished the two outside surfaces. Second, the edges of the door would be exposed veneer core/insulation board. Not a good look. Third, the door is a sliding door, does not seal, which defeats the purpose of sound proofing. I commend you for making it yourself. I would consider making it as a traditional Z bar door. If you feel ambitious I would Make a stile and rail frame with either mortise and tenon joints or lap joints. Cut a 1/2 groove around the inside of the frame to accept 1 sized sheet of 1/2" plywood. Cut plywood to size. The frame should be 1/2" proud of the panel which would give you the option of applying 1/2" strips to decorate the door however you wish. This should give you a flat, square, good looking door.
 

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You can't sound proof a sliding barn door because of the gap all around. You haven't said what type of "hardware" you want to use, sliding or hinges.
I find this confusing, but I'm guessing you want it to slide?
The door can't be 96" tall, because there's only 85" of clearance on that neighboring wall; so I'd fill in the top of the opening with something fixed. So I'm thinking the door should be about 43" wide, and about 78" tall (since the hardware adds 4-6" or so). I see several problems with the ones I can find. For one thing, the standard height is 84", so I'd need to trim off the top and/or bottom, which might look ok for some of the designs, but for some it'd end up looking weird. Also, they're darn expensive.

I built these 7 ft X 11 ft sliding barn doors from cypress:
428575


I used the original 100 year old hardware after I media blasted and lubed it up. Those buggers were heavy!
428576
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just my opinion, it will be very difficult to make that door, using two sheets of 1/2 ply and 1/2 sound proofing, and expect the door to be anywhere near flat.
That's what I was wondering.

the edges of the door would be exposed veneer core/insulation board. Not a good look.
LIke I said, I'd put trim strips allow at least the long sides.
Third, the door is a sliding door, does not seal, which defeats the purpose of sound proofing.
Yeah, I thought it might behave like exposed soundproofing material (like on music studio walls), but I guess you're right, sandwiched between plywood it wouldn't do much.

I would consider making it as a traditional Z bar door. If you feel ambitious I would Make a stile and rail frame with either mortise and tenon joints or lap joints.
Outside my pay grade :)

I think you've convinced me: this is a bad idea (to build it DIY). Thing is, all the ones for sale online are at least $500 or so, and I think they look like crap; and I'm not gonna pay $500 for something I don't like. I'm looking at craiglist, and maybe Habitat for Humanity, now - I'll buy something used, at least temporarily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You haven't said what type of "hardware" you want to use, sliding or hinges.
See the Amazon link in my OP: sliding with rollers along a rail.
I find this confusing, but I'm guessing you want it to slide?
The door can't be 96" tall, because there's only 85" of clearance on that neighboring wall; so I'd fill in the top of the opening with something fixed. So I'm thinking the door should be about 43" wide, and about 78" tall (since the hardware adds 4-6" or so).

My bad - let me see if this is clearer. The opening is 41" wide and 96" tall. However, the wall right next to the opening has an obstruction that is only 85" above the floor (a mini-split HVAC unit). So when the door is in the "open" position (slid over to that neighboring wall), the door - plus the rail and hardware - need to fit underneath that 85" limit.



I built these 7 ft X 11 ft sliding barn doors from cypress:
Nice. What did you do to keep the vertical board from warping at all and making the door not be straight ?
 

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That's what I was wondering.


LIke I said, I'd put trim strips allow at least the long sides.

Yeah, I thought it might behave like exposed soundproofing material (like on music studio walls), but I guess you're right, sandwiched between plywood it wouldn't do much.


Outside my pay grade :)

I think you've convinced me: this is a bad idea (to build it DIY). Thing is, all the ones for sale online are at least $500 or so, and I think they look like crap; and I'm not gonna pay $500 for something I don't like. I'm looking at craiglist, and maybe Habitat for Humanity, now - I'll buy something used, at least temporarily.
No, that was not my intent. A router with a 1/2 rabbeting bit, or a few passes through a table saw can easily make the 1/2" groove. It is not "above your grade", you can do it. Even if it does not come out perfect, that does not matter. You will learn a great deal, have fun, and enjoy the process. There are still times I feel as you do. I have a gorgeous slab of true Honduran Maogany that has been screaming "guitar" at me for a number of years. Having the courage to take the plunge is not always easy, but you have inspired me to plunge.
 

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You can easily make half lap joints at the corners and at the cross pieces or rails. We'll guide you through the process. Here's an example of half laps I made on a gate for the deck during "lockdown":

428592
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys, but I don't think I'm up to it. I actually found an off-the-shelf one which meets the "contemporary aesthetic" of my house, plus reasonably priced because a guy is selling one (that's new and he can't use) on craigslist. Only problem is, it's 84" tall and I'm not sure I can trim off 4" and still have structural integrity.

428599


What do you guys think ? It's made of MDF. If I could remove 4", I'd have 5" to play with, and there are hardware kits that'll make that work, such as this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M18UPFY/ref=twister_B01LXO08LT?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Then there's this kit: https://www.amazon.com/DIYHD-Stainless-Ceiling-Sliding-Hardware/dp/B01CVHCNQI/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=low+profile+barn+door+hardware&qid=1624389432&sr=8-6&th=1

... which would require hardly any trimming of the door, and it's pretty slick looking. Problem is, it's meant to screw into the ceiling. And it's not ceiling that's giving my 85" clearance - it's the damn minisplit, and of course I can't screw this rail into it. I suppose I could use a piece of angle iron, screwed to the wall, and then bolt this rail to it ...
 

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Rethink that 4" dimension because you only need a 1/4" gap between the top of the door and the bottom of the rail. The rollers can ride inside some tracks to save space.
When you cut any amount off the rails, you substantially weaken the strength. I did need to to that to some steel faced doors, but I replaced that portion with a piece of pressure treated milled to the proper thickness to fit up between the steel faces. If any comes off I would remove from the bottom rather than the top because the windows will look weird with a narrow top rail across. The other option is to remove the glass windows and have solid panels which can add even more strength.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Rethink that 4" dimension because you only need a 1/4" gap between the top of the door and the bottom of the rail. The rollers can ride inside some tracks to save space.
I'm not quite following. ARe you saying I needn't trim the door down to 80" height ? Are you saying to use some of that unistrut-looking material you linked ? Which set of rollers of the ones I linked ?

When you cut any amount off the rails, you substantially weaken the strength.
Yes, definitely remove from the bottom. What if I reinforce that bottom board, after I remove some of it, with a piece of plate steel bolted to it ?
 

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These rollers fit inside that Stanley track I posted:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
These rollers fit inside that Stanley track I posted:
Right, but there's still the thickness of that channel/track that has to fit above the door and below the mini-split. So I have to trim an 84" door or find an 80" (or less) one.

Given I've found an 84" one I like (for a decent price on craigslist), here's my plan, starting with the sire drawing in my OP ...

428621


The hardware kit from Amazon:


... claims the ceiling only needs to be 1/2" taller than the height of the door. Since I can't mount it on the ceiling (because of the mini-split), I'll mount a piece of steel angle on the wall, and the horizontal lip of it will serve as the "ceiling" and I'll bolt the ceiling-mount hardware kit to it. (I need something like the angle there anyhow - none of the barn-door hardware kits would allow the rail to just float across the opening supported at only the ends). So there's the 84" height of the door, plus 1/2" above and below the door for the ceiling-mount kit, plus 1/4" or so for the angle. With 1/4" to spare.
 

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In my opinion, making that door with two sheets of 1/2 ply and 1/2 soundproofing and expecting it to be flat will be extremely difficult. Especially if you completed the two exterior surfaces. Second, the door's edges would have exposed veneer core/insulation board. It's not a good look. Third, because the door is a sliding door, it does not seal, defeating the purpose of soundproofing. I applaud you for creating it yourself. I'd think about making it as a traditional Z bar door. go ahead, If you're feeling ambitious, I'd build a stile and rail frame with mortise and tenon joints or lap joints. Cut a 1/2 groove around the inside of the frame to accept a 1/2" plywood sheet.
 

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... claims that the ceiling only needs to be 1/2" higher than the door's height. Because I can't mount it on the ceiling (due to the mini-split), I'll mount a piece of steel angle on the wall, with the horizontal lip serving as the "ceiling," and bolt the ceiling-mount hardware kit to it. (I needed something like the angle there anyway - none of the barn-door hardware kits would allow the rail to simply float across the opening supported only at the ends.) So there's the 84" door height, plus 1/2" above and below the door for the ceiling-mount kit, plus a quarter-inch or so for the angle. With a quarter-inch margin of error.
 
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