Mother Earth Living

Try This: Sliding Bathroom Door

No room for swingers. Increase the space in your bathroom with a sliding door.
By Natural Home Staff
September/October 2005
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Made to handle heavy barn doors, this hardware will take on any vintage door. All the hardware is exposed and easy to install once you understand the basic components and configuration.
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Increase your bathroom's square footage without adding on an inch. A swinging door requires almost 9 square-feet of space to operate. A sliding door needs just a 2-inch wide slice. With bathrooms taking on so many functions—laundry space, storage area, water closet— too many doors eat up too much space. Simple hardware made for sliding barn doors allows you to create sliders without the complicated carpentry required to install a pocket door. Added bonus: the door doesn’t have to fit perfectly into the door opening. This is a great way to recycle and reuse those cool old doors you can find by the dozens at architectural salvage and building surplus yards.

BARN SLIDERS 101 

Every installation will vary slightly depending on the configuration of the bathroom. This overview should help you design an installation perfect for your setting.

Mounting a sliding barn door requires:

• A DOOR YOU LOVE: It needs to be wide enough to cover the opening in your wall with 2 inches to spare. The height should cover the wall opening. It’s fine if it’s taller, just adjust how high you hang the rail.

• BOX RAIL: This is the track that the door slides in. Cut it long enough to span the wall opening plus the width of the door so it can slide all the way out of the way. Keep in mind that nothing can be flush against the wall where the box rail is hung because the door will slide along the entire length (that includes light fixtures).

• BOX RAIL BRACKETS are simple brackets that mount flush on the wall and hold the box rail for your door to slide in. You need about one bracket every 24 inches to support the rail and the weight of the door. The brackets attach using one wood bolt.

• BOX RAIL HANGERS with trolley (the wheel assembly) and strap (the plate that attaches to the door). You’ll need two hangers on each door. The hanger attaches to the door via the metal strap using three nuts and bolts that go through holes drilled through the door. These can be countersunk for a cleaner look.

• BOTTOM GUIDES: There are many ways to make sure your door slides straight. One easy version is to attach a piece of 2x2-inch wood to the floor a couple inches out from the wall creating a “track” for the door to glide in to. This strip of wood acts as a guide only. It need not run along the threshold of the door opening, but only along the wall that the door slides in front of when it’s open. The guide can be secured directly into the floor with decking screws.

ASSEMBLY:

1. Measure, mark, and predrill all pieces of your door system and assemble it completely before hanging.

2. Attach the hangers to the doors first. You’ll need an adjust­able crescent wrench or appropriate-size socket wrench to tighten the bolts.

3. Next, slide the trolleys into the box rail. Slide the hangers onto the box rail.

4. Attach the hangers to the wall using your predrilled holes. This last step will require a strong helper to hold the door while your screw the hanger bolts in place.

5. Add your bottom guide, find a cool door handle and you’re all set.

An excellent source for barn slider hardware is National Manufacturing. Their hardware comes with all the elements discussed here including the nuts and bolts needed for installation.


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