The Ultimate Guide to Sliding Barn Doors
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Ever heard the stories from old grandpap telling you about the days of yore? Yeah, everything was harder, like walking backward up a hill in the snow with no shoes. He more than likely lived on a farm and on that farm was a barn and leading into that barn was a door; a barn door. Now, not all things that are old and rustic are bad. In fact, lots of things are still pretty nifty. Like exposed beams in the ceiling, old furniture, and of course – home cooking.
But something has been brought from the past and given an ultra-cool, modern twist that is currently in high demand; the sliding glass barn door systems. Pair amazing architectural decorative glass and high quality machined hardware, and you get a package that’s totally stunning. All glass services are available with sliding glass barn doors like etched, laminated, and printed. Barn-Door hardware is usually brushed, polished, or chrome. But a huge library of options is available like antiqued hardware.
Unlike barns though, you don’t always need double doors. Packages are also available in single glass barn door designs giving you the freedom to install one anywhere.
For those who don’t like the hardware look, pocket glass barn door hardware is a great way to go. This is a sliding system that is hidden in your ceiling allowing all the focus to be put on the glass.
Sliding glass barn door systems are often made with tempered glass to improve safety. You never know when someone will decide to have chipping practice using the door as a backstop or maybe you simply walk into one whilst texting away, oblivious to the doors around you.
If you are still using wooden doors in all your designs, I implore you to explore sliding glass barn doors for lobby’s, bathrooms, entrances, offices, and even with glass walls and partitions. I think your pappy would approve!
Planning Your Next Barn Door
In total, a barn door is a great choice for any space and with all of the options available, you’re sure to find one that fits your next design.
Interior sliding barn doors have garnered much attention in the past few years. Winning over many designers around the world, barn doors have become a staple in all environments. Found integrated with glass wall systems in conference rooms of major corporations to room dividers in hotel suites, interior sliding doors offer a unique, functioning feature to any space.
One major reason barn doors are utilized in many designs is because of the versatility. With so many hardware options, door styles, and uses, barn doors offer flexibility and flare that standard pivot doors do not. Another plus side to these sliding door is the minimum amount of space needed for them to operate. Remember, there are things that need to be taken into consideration before you decide to incorporate an interior sliding barn door.
Forget What You Know About Sliding Barn Doors
In most cases, sliding barn doors are seen as a country chic design style catered mostly to newly renovated homes. These systems are usually paired with an antiqued hardwood door and cast iron hardware. Today, barn door systems have grown to include hundreds of hardware styles and options, glass door applications, and decorative and functioning features like soft close.
Interior Sliding Barn Door Styles
Interior sliding doors are most commonly offered with wooden doors or glass doors. Your environment and application will usually determine which one you want as both feature the same hardware functioning options and most hardware manufacturers offer both a wood door and glass door option to their hardware kits.
One-door models are often seen, but don’t cut yourself short and not look at dual-door designs. Complete with bi-parting functionality, double barn doors offer an amazing grand entrance to any space and a great alternative to French doors.
Wooden doors are most common, block all light, reduce sightlines, and close off a space more efficiently. This is important if privacy or space planning is the most important. These door styles can range from country barn door designs to Mad Men era inspired doors that are modern and sleek.
Glass doors offer you the most design options, let in the most light, controls daylighting, offers privacy, and still lets you control space management with closing or opening up rooms.
Sliding Glass Barn Doors Decorative Options
Some of the best things you can do with glass doors is decorative glass like glass etching. Whether you are going for a full etched panel for privacy, etched gradients, patterns, or a light frost, glass doors offer great versatility to your design. Laminated glass is another option seen with sliding glass barn doors. Full color lamination or custom printed laminated glass is great to continue corporate culture through a lobby, branding for a hotel, or colorful graphic visuals in a guest suites.
Another great option is back-painted barn-doors allowing for a understated mood color or a bright pop in a calm space. There are literally thousands of colors to choose from with the option of exact color match.
Lastly, glass printing is a alternative approach that can offer a show stopping piece to your next project. With 1200 dpi, full color printing options, print full size photos, graphics, and artwork to a glass barn-door panel.
Interior Sliding Barn Door Hardware
Enclosed, exposed, and pocket are some of the many barn door hardware kit options available. Others include telescopic, bi-parting, and corner.
What’s great about all of these options is that you are able to put a sliding barn door in any area of your space. You are no longer stuck putting a door on a large, wide flat wall.
In addition to hardware styles, there are just as many hardware finishes like chrome, brushed, satin, bronze, and black.
Another feature to look for when choosing barn door hardware is the soft close feature. No matter how much force you apply to close the door, it will always gently close itself ensuring longevity, safety, and integrity of the door system.
Barn Door Handles, Pulls, and Knobs
Besides the sliding system itself, barn door handles are also a major design factor when planning your sliding barn doors. With so many design options from minimal to bold, the handles will play a major part in the overall visuals with your barn door.
The handle is the main operator for the opening function of a sliding barn door and will dictate how people interact with the door. A handle that is too small for a large double sliding barn door will make it feel heavy while a large handle or pull on a smaller single barn door will look clunky and overwhelm the visuals. On closets and smaller openings, a small finger pull will work well while a large entrance will benefit from a large handle. You can also mix and match a pull on one side and handle on the other if the two spaces you’re dividing require to separate looks.
With any new design, you always want the newest styles and trends, but sometimes when we do this, it doesn’t always work out as we planned. Case in point would be the Walkie Talkie Tower in London that has a reputation for melting cars and raising the temperature on the street below more than twenty degrees.
Barn Doors are no less important to think about when integrating into your design. It’s best to think ahead before it’s too late. One massive point to ponder is where you’ll put it and why. If it’s instead of another door, why is there a door there? Is it for privacy, dividing space, or dividing two different rooms?
Sliding Barn Doors do not completely seal off a room like a standard pivot door. There will be a small gap. So in a hotel, some guests that are sharing a suite may really value privacy in certain situations where this should be taken into consideration. In cases like this, pocket barn doors are a great solution. Breaking up different rooms, water closets, hallways, and clothes closets are perfect for Barn Doors where there isn’t room for a pivoting door and space is limited.
Lastly, look at the space you want to put a barn door in. You need a lot of wall for a barn door to function. Space on either side of the door opening for overlap, and wall to the side of the opening for the barn door to slide to allow it to open. We’ve seen it before where someone orders 250 glass barn doors for a hotel project just to find out there isn’t enough wall space for the barn door to open completely. Don’t be that person.
Will a Barn Door Work with Your Structure?
Ceilings are low in some cases, or sometimes openings that were not meant for a door originally, like floor to ceiling openings, will make it hard to fit a sliding barn door system. What this means is that there is no header above the door. You need space above the door to install the rail system for the barn door to slide on. You’ll have to install a header if you can maintain enough height in the opening.
Another aspect to remember, especially in lofts and older buildings, is the angled wall and ceiling. You may have enough wall space for sliding barn doors, but if that wall is angled, or the ceiling angles down into the floor, you may have to tackle that before you run into an installation issue.
How Level is your Ceiling and Floor?
The MOST common problem we run into when installing any glass structure is openings, headers, ceilings, and floor not being level. The absolute last thing you want is to have enough space, the perfect door, great hardware, and then during installation, you try to open the door and then it scraped the floor. Either your floor, or header isn’t level. The exact opposite happens if your ceiling isn’t quite right. If this isn’t fixed and you let it slide (PUN!), you could end up damaging or breaking your barn door, especially glass. All glass barn doors are tempered, which means that damaging the edge could allow the door to shatter.
Will Your Barn Door Need to Lock?
With so many uses for glass barn doors, eventually you’ll install it where it will need a lock. You’re not the first, you’re not the last. Luckily, hardware manufacturers have tackled this issue long ago and have recently designed even more, unique designs. Just remember there are certain design aspects that need to be looked over for these situations to make sure locks can line up and that proper hardware and doors are chosen.
BONUS! Sliding Barn Door Safety
So I’ve decided to include this because not a lot of people do. They talk about looks and function and sometimes more technical things.
Firstly, all glass barn doors are safe. Perfectly safe. The hardware is usually made of steel and aluminum. The parts that carry the vast majority of weight and do all of the moving are usually steel. There are safeguards in place that ensure the door does not come off the railing via the floor guide, rods in the rollers, and metal fasteners. You will literally have to disassemble the door to get it down. That doesn’t mean that they are impossible to destroy, it would just take a lot of work. If it’s a wooden door, I’d say a chain saw or ax, for glass doors, that may be a bit tougher. All glass barn doors are tempered which means if you run into it, throw baseballs at it, hit it with golf clubs or whatever, you’re not going to break the door.
But with all tempered glass, if you hit the edges with enough force, they will shatter into small pebbles that can leave small cuts. So inspect all the glass doors for chips and cracks, especially along the edges and around drilled holes.
Download Our Barn-Door Lookbook Now
You’ve decided on a glass barn-door. You know where to put it, you got the hardware, but what about that door? You’ve decided on glass for its many pro’s; Glass is anti-bacterial, durable in high traffic areas, resistant to scratches, UV protectant. The list goes on.
But no one wants a clear glass panel as a door. Kind of defeats the purpose. So what can you do to add a bit of privacy or separation between spaces and keep the glass? Add decorative glass services. That’s when you do something to the glass to spruce it up. Some options include back-painting, etching, laminating, and glass printing. All of these are excellent choices and have their ups and down depending on where and why you use a glass barn door.
Etched Glass Barn Doors
Also called frosted glass barn doors, etched glass is a very common way to go. It is cost efficient and adds privacy. Plus there are loads of options beyond a simple full etched glass panel. Frosted gradients, patterns, and text are options you have while choosing these services. You also have control over opacity ranging from almost transparent, a little bit of haze, to fully opaque.
One thing to keep in mind is that the etched side of the glass will absorb oils from fingerprints, stains easily because foreign substances get lodged in the etched pores of the glass. So we suggest that if people will have access to both sides of the glass, go with an acid etched panel or a frosted laminate.
Laminated Glass Barn Doors
Laminated glass is when you take two pieces of glass, stick something between them like a custom printed film or opacity layer, and back it all together. The result is one large panel of glass fused together with a decorative layer in-between. Your windshield on your car is laminated. So are some windows in high rises. Most often, you can’t tell if it’s laminated unless you look at the side of the glass and see the seam between the two panels of glass.
Laminated options include custom printed interlayers, opacity interlayers which resembles frosted glass, designs, and gradients.
Printed Glass Barn Doors
Printed glass is done a lot in offices and corporate environments. If you really need a design printed, a continuation of company culture or branding, or carrying a design theme throughout a space, and you can’t laminate, glass printing is the way to go!
Back-Painted Glass Barn Doors
Like printed glass, back-painted glass does well in offices and corporate environments. Back-painted glass is usually painted in one color over the whole panel of glass. Masks can be applied to create borders or patterns if you are feeling daring.
Inset Mirror Barn Doors
One of the most popular types of barn door panels is the inset mirror design. Perfect for small spaces where you need object to pull double duty and to make the space feel larger, an inset mirror panel will meet your needs perfectly and save space at the same time.
What Kind of Barn Door Hardware Do You Need?
With the huge surge in barn door popularity, so has there been for Barn Door Hardware and accessories. Not only do they all look great and function in their own way, but they offer solutions for particular needs:
- Pocket barn doors are great for privacy.
- Enclosed headers are great for low profile sliding barn doors where you won’t see any hardware.
- Exposed Lineal Rail, the most commonly seen barn door is flashy, stylish, and shows off the barn door aesthetically.
Each of these types of hardware are different in looks and function that can match any style, need, or space.
Sliding barn door hardware packages and options are extensive and daunting. Factor in options like finishes and hardware additions make it even more of a chore to ensure your barn door fits perfectly into your design scheme.
Barn door hardware choices like concealed or exposed hardware, bi-parting features, soft close options, styles, and designs are all considered when building out your perfect barn door. Factor in a bevy of handle options and locks, you’ll start to see where a person could go insane. I’ve seen catalogs and website featuring literally hundreds of handles, pulls, and locks in a variety of finishes. The sliding hardware is a completely different catalog offering hundreds of telescopic, bi-parting, double, and single barn door hardware systems. But we’ll stick with the basics today.
There are two basic hardware door options; exposed or concealed. There are also basic finishes; chrome, brushed, bronze, brass, and black metal. As for parts in the kits, you’ll see variations like tubular track, flat track, various stops, floor guides, and mounts.
All hardware kits should include the following:
- the door
- floor guide
- handle or pull, and of course
- the rollers.
You don’t have to buy the door with the kit. But I wouldn’t suggest mixing and matching parts of the sliding system. They are designed to work together and you risk damage or serious injury otherwise. If you decide to find a nice rustic door or order one from someone other than the seller of the barn door hardware, expect to drill some holes and modify the door to incorporate with the hardware.
So let’s dive into sliding barn door hardware kits and options so you know how to build your own barn door, speak like a pro, and design a perfect system that fits seamlessly into your design.
Exposed Barn Door Hardware
This is the most common and famous design for barn doors. It’s the kind you see on HGTV. As the name implies, exposed hardware means that it’s out in the open. Usually, these styles range from over the top, technical masterpieces to understated strips of metal that simply function. Both have their place. Are you looking to draw attention to the hardware or do you want something that plays a role in the larger design landscape? Basically, do you want bling out or do you want classy understated flashes?
Concealed Barn Door Hardware
As the name implies, this is the exact opposite of exposed barn door hardware in terms of design. Concealed hardware is usually stored in some sort of housing. Mostly made of metal, but I’ve seen some designers take it a step further and have a custom enclosure designed of wood and other materials. Sometimes, you don’t need an enclosure at all. You can mount the hardware within the ceiling or the header of the door.
Another concealed barn door option is the pocket door. Pocket doors have all of their hardware contained in the header above the door opening and the doors are slid into the wall. In my opinion, these are luxury. Maybe because I associate them with early 20thcentury homes and mansions here in the south where this style was the norm.
Secretly, I love these doors because it’s hard to not have a strong urge to just rip them open and make a grand entrance.
Bars, Stops, Mounts, & Floor Guides
- Bars are the horizontal pieces of metal that the rollers glide on thus opening and closing your barn door. There are 2 variations; flat and tubular. The names are pretty self-explanatory. Flat is simply a flat piece of metal while tubular is tube piping. Both require special rollers that work specifically with that bar system.
- Stops are small metal and rubber mounts that are fixed onto either end of the bar. They are set in place by the installer and stop your door from rolling off the side of the bar whilst closing or opening. They are calibrated and installed in a specific area so that your door is closed in the perfect position and opens up to a certain spot.
- Mounts are used to fix the bar to the header above the door. There are multiple mounts in the kit and are attached to the bar through pre-drilled holes. The styling of mounts will usually compliment the roller and handle styles.
- Floor guides are small and simply makes sure the door moves straight from left to right. Floor guides are rarely noticed but play a huge part in the function of a barn door. It also prohibits the door from be pulled away from the door thus keeping it from being rotated off the bar. Floor guides have the same finish and metal as the rest of the kit.
Barn Door Rollers
This is where you can get real stylish, and really expensive, real quick. From over the top to understated, the rollers have an absolute function of opening and closing your door thousands of times, but also to be the fashion center of your barn door hardware. Just remember; the door is the focus and the overall design cannot upstage your total scene and environment.
Barn Door Handles
Like the rollers and kits, there are thousands of handles and pulls to choose from. Firstly, a pull is a little metal stud or a hole through the door. It’s small, simple and works. A handle is something that you’d see on a glass door in a mall or a glass shower. They are offered in the same finishes as the barn door sliding hardware kit and both should usually be purchased from the same dealer to ensure consistency in finishes. Often times, handles and pulls are paired with hardware kits based on styles but you can often choose a different one.
Barn Door Hardware Finishes
The basic finishes usually cover every design style unless you’re going for diamonds bedazzled all over the place or want something made of 24k gold. The names are pretty clear as to what they are. Black metal looks like cast iron. I’m sure you can find some cast iron door hardware, but I’d stick with black, textured steel.