Sliding Barn Door Garage Doors

Jan 01, 2011
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whattya live in a barn?

Photo of a sliding barn door garage door by mriggen/Flickr.

A sliding barn door garage door can be easily installed to change the look and feel of a garage or take advantage of the design of sliding doors, although there are some things to think about before making the switch. This door style, for example, can tend to admit more cold air, snow, and rain if it’s not installed well, and it can stick or freeze at the bottom if not well maintained. Before putting in a sliding barn door garage door, it’s also important to prepare the site well.

Traditional sliding barn doors use a design featuring a large door on a slider, allowing users to push the door along the side of the barn to allow animals and vehicles to pass through the opening; in some cases, a smaller door is cut into the larger one so people can go in and out of the barn without opening the sliding door. Sliding doors offer lots of flexibility for ventilation in addition to ample room for high clearance, and they don’t take up very much room when they open and close. As long as the sides of the building are kept clear, the door can open.

Several different sliding barn door garage door designs are available. One is the classic single sliding door, and it’s also possible to find biparting doors. Another option is bypassing doors, and some fold; while this isn’t strictly a sliding design, they’re intended to look like traditional sliding doors, and thus some manufacturers include them in their lineup.

One of the most common reasons to choose a sliding barn door garage door is aesthetics. These doors tend to look more attractive than other garage door designs, a concern when a building will be readily visible. The doors can mesh well with Craftsman and other traditional building styles to discreetly provide an entrance to a garage or workshop space without creating a visual clash with the rest of a structure or other buildings on a property. The space-saving advantages can also be good in an environment where there are limited options for fold-out or rolling doors.

Whether building a new garage or replacing an existing door, it’s possible to get custom doors as well as kits from a variety of sources. Custom doors tend to be more expensive but may be necessary for openings of unusual sizes or projects with very specific needs. Before installing a sliding barn door garage door, the area where the door will slide should be completely cleared, and it is advisable to put down at the very least a compact layer of gravel, and preferably concrete or stone, to ensure that weeds and dirt won’t build up and catch the door over time.

Hanging the door can be tricky and may require several people because these doors are often quite heavy. Once the rail is installed, the door can be carefully maneuvered into place and any finishes, like end caps to keep the door sealed to the rail, can be added. The sliding barn door garage door should be regularly oiled and checked for signs of warping, and the area alongside the building where the door slides should also be kept clean to ensure the door moves smoothly.

s.e. smith writes for

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