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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a large shed in my back yard that needs some doors installed before the snow flies. The opening is 6' wide x 80" high. I'd like them to be simple, swing out barn doors. They'll be painted to match.

I think it will make sense to have a larger and smaller door. Most of the time, the larger one will remain latched and just the smaller door will operate as a man door. I'm thinking 30" and 42".
Any thoughts on 30" and 42" sizing? How about on the location of the center vertical rail? Is there a standard?

I'm contemplating using common dimensional pine lumber 2x6's for the frames. I know I'll have to mill it straight, and fill defects before painting. I am a bit concerned with how it will hold up, but I don't want to invest a whole lot of money into these. I figured some decent plywood for the panels, painted and caulked at the edges.
Any thoughts on plywood & 2x6 construction? What kind of ply would you recommend?

My plan is to use blind M&T to join the horizontal boards to the verticals. And rout a groove in the frame for the plywood panel. Basically allow the panel to float and just seal it up with caulking. I guess I would be gluing up the frame around the panels. I've never tried anything like this before. Does this method make sense? Will the M&T with the panel floating be enough to resist racking?
I'm struggling with the joinery. The picture below is my initial idea for the M&T/groove combo. Is there a better or easier way to design the joinery?

Any help, suggestions, insight is greatly appreciated!
 

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Sawdust Wrangler
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Any suggestion on plywood? I was thinking sanded maple ply.
Hmm, maple ply... I am not sure how I feel about plywood for doors. At first blush, I was fine with it but over the past few days I began to think about other friends that had sheds with ply doors. A good bit of how and of what you should build your doors out of, in my opinion, is where you live and the shed's surroundings. Does it rain a good bit, etc. How much overhang do you have from the roof? I, personally, would want doors made from materials that are rated for outside. Cypress, cedar, redwood, marine ply, those sort of things. The glue that is used in the plywood can make a large difference, in my opinion. On the other side of the coin, I try very hard to research and find low maintenance materials with which to build projects in the weather. Are the doors going to be painted or stained or what is a question to be asked before materials. I think you should read over this guy's site and pay attention to the joinery techniques that he uses and describes. http://www.prowellwoodworks.com/gate/techniques.htm

My question would be, "Can you buy the materials that you are thinking about and spend the time building the door for the same or less money than that of a discounted prehung french exterior door. There are some good deals out there, I was walking through HD one day and noticed they had marked down a series of their lifetime warranty french doors from 600+ down to 350. They were the metal and glass ones. I knew I would need something for the front of my new workshop so I purchased one and stored it in the garage until I was ready for it. You may find one at the Habitat store, in my area, they are always above retail for every item so not so good. If you have any architectural recyclers in your area, that is a good place to look.

Just thoughts of how I would tackle the issue, I hope something helps...

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I suppose the other option is I could order more of the hardi panel cement siding. That stuff is just so heavy and expensive. I was hoping if I painted & clear coated the ply and then caulked around the edges, that it would protect it well enough. The exterior grade ply makes sense, but that stuff is just so nasty looking. I suppose I could go to town with some wood filler and sand it fairly smooth.
 

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Sawdust Wrangler
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I suppose the other option is I could order more of the hardi panel cement siding. That stuff is just so heavy and expensive. I was hoping if I painted & clear coated the ply and then caulked around the edges, that it would protect it well enough. The exterior grade ply makes sense, but that stuff is just so nasty looking. I suppose I could go to town with some wood filler and sand it fairly smooth.
Yes, the exterior ply is rough, that is why I mentioned the marine, it looks as good, in most cases, as the interior stuff. You could be ok with the way you described, it will depend on weather and prep and execution. You could look into the vinyl panel stuff from Azek or the like. Or, you could use the tongue and groove stuff that many of the closed cell vinyl companies make and build your frame out of whatever you like and then attach the tongue and groove vinyl to that frame. Sort of like what they described in the first link I sent you:
http://www.secrets-of-shed-building....shed_door.html
As you well know, water will, eventually, find it's way into anything.

How about a barn door type, you could sandwich ply in-between tongue and groove... There is so many ways to go. I keyed in on you saying "before the snow flies" so that is what brought me back to the "prehung" avenue. You could have the door in in less than a day and weatherproofed...

Paul
 
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