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Something you need to know before choosing a barn door

Categories: Latest EventsStars: 3Stars Visit: - Release time: 2017-06-19 15:28:00
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Something you need to know before choosing a barn door

It seems nothing has captured homeowners’ imaginations as much as a rolling door system since French doors came onto the scene. Made of nearly any material you can think of, barn doors can add character and style to any space. Whether you go rustic with wrought iron or streamlined with steel, the hardware options are also seemingly endless. 

  But before you go picking out the pieces, there are a number of things you should think about — from privacy concerns to the load-bearing capability of the door frame you’re covering. Here are five questions to ask before installing a barn door.

 

1. What is the structural stability?

  One of the most important considerations before adding to or removing from an existing structure is whether you will be compromising it in any way. Unless you have a set of plans for your prebuilt home, there is no way to know just by looking whether your door was framed adequately underneath the drywall. 

  Although a barn door, aka a sliding door system, provides a parallel diffusion of weight across the header, the point load for the track, hardware and door will be on the exterior of the frame. You’ll need to know whether the door or doors you’ve chosen are too heavy for the track system they’ll be utilizing, which is especially important if this is a DIY project.

 

While all modern homes are built with sufficient framing, older homes, additions (especially ones built without a permit) and arched doorways should be double-checked before you start drilling. A stud finder is not sufficient. You can check to see if you have a header by cutting out a 2-inch by 2-inch section of drywall approximately 6 inches above the doorway to make sure you can see the beam. Also, at every interval that you will be attaching the barn door track — this includes the extension beyond the door opening — you should have either a stud or a wood block underneath the drywall to add sufficient support. Drywall anchors are not advised in lieu of wood blocking, because they are not made to withstand heavy use and can potentially come out of the wall. 

  Permitting. You should ensure that your city does not require a permit for the installation of a barn door. Some cities mandate that any home improvement costing more than $500 requires a permit; others require sign-off by a structural engineer (particularly with adding large, heavy, double-hung barn doors). Although this may sound like an unnecessary step, having a nonpermitted door can cause you problems down the road with safety and with an inspection should you ever sell your home.

2. What are you trying to cover up?

  I’ve done more than a few barn doors in my day, and what works for some people definitely won’t work for others. Take, for instance, the bathroom barn door. Keep in mind that a barn door does not lie flush with the door opening (in nearly all instances). A barn door essentially hovers over the opening on the exterior track. It covers the opening completely but does not seal the opening the way a typical door does, and depending on the type of track you choose, there can be a small gap between the door and the drywall. If you prefer privacy, especially when using the restroom, ensuring that you get the best possible contact between door frame and door is essential.

 

3. What look are you going for?

 Many love the rustic romance of a weathered wood barn door. Others are attracted to the 007 spy aesthetic of an etched glass slider. Whatever your style preference, make sure that your barn door adds to the overall appeal instead of detracting from it. 

 Choose a barn door material that harmonizes with your home. A stainless steel version in a Zen retreat could be the opposite of relaxing, whereas a reclaimed Balinese temple door would bring a soulful ambience. 

 The chalkboard barn doors shown here are a fantastic way to add a relaxed appeal to a family home.

 

4. How big is your hardware?

  When it comes to barn doors, nothing sets them apart as much as their hardware. Whether you choose a wrought iron rustic rail with oversize wheels or svelte steel rollers on a barely-there track, use scale and placement to vary your style statement. 

  Determine whether you want the rollers on the interior or exterior of the door. The placement will affect the overlap between the doors and walls when closed, so consider the use of the door as a guide when deciding. 

5. Is this a long-term love affair?

Barn doors are a beautiful alternative to the traditional hinged room closure. While they are lauded as space savers because they do not require a specific radius for opening and closure, they do take up significant wall space — both open and closed. Prepping for a barn door installation isn’t without a few sacrifices, either. The track requires a lot of holes in the wall, and an investment (in both time and money) would be involved in restoring the opening to a standard door closure should you need or want to down the road. While design is ever-changing, your doors are a bit more long-term. Know that installation of a sliding door system is something you will likely live with for a long time to come, so make your door selections with that in mind. 

An article by Melisa LaBancz-Bleasdale 

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