Both functionally and aesthetically pleasing, barn doors have been known to capture homeowners’ attention. Made of nearly any material, barn doors can add character and style to any space. There are many things to think about when selecting the perfect barn door.
Here are 9 questions you should ask yourself before installing a barn door in your own home.
1. What look are you going for?
Barn doors are a great way to add some character to your home and can go with almost any style. The key is to make sure the material matches with the rest of your home or contrasts to create a unique focal point. Remember, the door covers a significant piece of wall which will be empty when the door is closed. Where wall space is coveted for display a pocket door may be better alternative. Barn door hardware is available in a multitude of styles should match appropriately.
2. What area of the home is your barn door going?
Barn doors don’t lie flush with the door opening; rather, they hover over the opening, creating gaps. This means that if sound separation or privacy is a major goal, barn doors with their gap might not be the best choice.
3. Do you have enough wall?
Remember barn doors need to slide at least as far as the opening in one direction or the other. To have privacy the door usually overlaps the opening by an inch so that a 2-6 opening will require a 2-8 door. This means on one side of the door opening or the other there should be at least 2-8 and perhaps a little more to ensure all the hardware can fit properly. The wall also has to be clear of anything such as sconces, paintings, and possibly light switches.
4. Are there boisterous children around?
Barn doors often roll on wheels and can be lifted off their tracks intentionally or by accident. A heavy barn door can come off its track if flung open quickly resulting a door falling over causing damage or injury. Not all systems are open providing options for those families with young children.
5. If the door is being reused does it contain lead or other toxins?
Used barn doors are available from factories. They create a great loft look. However, it’s uncertain to whether they contain lead or other toxins that are being brought into the home. In our experience, the suppliers of the doors did not have any records on their doors or do any testing for toxic substances. They may be perfectly safe but one should approach them with caution particularly when small children are in the home.
6. Will the hardware support the door?
Be careful to match the door weight to the hardware according to the manufactures specifications. The hardware rail system should not show any give or movement or it may fail over time as screws work their way out of the supporting structures holding them.
7. Do you need the door to lock?
Barn door hardware usually do not have hardware to lock them in residential use though there are systems used industrially for this purpose.
8. Is the floor and ceiling sufficiently level?
Since barn doors travel it is necessary that the floor and ceiling are sufficiently level so that the rail system which must be level does not appear to be out of line with the ceiling. Similarly an out of level floor will require that the bard door be cut down to allow it to move over the area were the floor is highest.
9. Is there sufficient structure to allow the rail system to be installed?
Most rail systems attach to the header above the door. This means that opening that go floor to ceiling may not be well suited for barn door.
Mackenzie Cain is an Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.