Interior doors can take up a lot of space. Depending on the size of your home, that can be valuable space you don’t have to spare. But, you still want to be able to separate areas of the house from each other and enjoy a sense of privacy. That’s where wooden sliding doors can come in handy.
Sliding doors remain flat against the wall, so they don’t take up the space traditional doors do. They are also pretty easy to build and install over an opening, as you don’t need to create a pocket for them or build out a frame.
How simple or complex your sliding door is depends on your taste preferences and your woodworking skills. Using a pre-made door simplifies the process, but you can also build the door from scratch if you want.
Where to Install a Wooden Sliding Door
Sliding doors can work in many areas of the home. Those areas include:
- Wardrobe – If you have closets that are not separated from the other parts of a room, you probably want to install wardrobe wooden sliding doors. Wardrobe doors can rest in front of the closet opening, sliding back and forth when you need to get into an out of an area.
- Bathrooms – Sometimes, the bath in a master bedroom doesn’t have its own door. That might look nice, but can be a drag when you want some alone time. Adding sliding wooden doors in front of the entrance to a master bath gives you the privacy you want.
- Open rooms – While the open layout is trendy, it can mean a lack of privacy. Adding a sliding door can help you divide up a large, open space.
- New rooms – If you’ve recently installed a new wall to add a bedroom to your home, it might be easier to hang a sliding door than to install a traditional door frame.
Installing a Warm Industrial Wooden Sliding Door
If you’re not super sure of your abilities as a woodworker, this might be the best way to build and install a wooden sliding door. You don’t have to worry about constructing a track, and you’re not framing out or making the door from scratch.
- A door
- Pair of wheels/castors
- Plumbing pipe (in two lengths, one for the handle, one for the overhead track)
- 4 plumbing flanges
- 4 plumbing brackets
- 4 eye hooks (these need to be wider in diameter than your pipe)
- Wood screws/Drywall screws
- Wood filler (optional)
- Sandpaper and a sander (optional)
- Paint and paintbrush (optional)
- Safety glasses/goggles
- Dust mask
You know what they say, measure twice, cut once. Before installing wooden sliding doors, you’ll need to measure the width of the door opening and its height to make sure that you purchase a door that’s big enough and a pipe that’s long enough.
The plumbing pipe that you use to hand the door should be at least twice the width of the door opening. That way, you’ll be able to slide the entire door out of the opening.
The door should be as wide as the opening. The height of the door should be the height of the opening, minus the height of the castors. So if you’re using 2-inch wheels and the opening you’re covering is 96 inches, you’ll want to cut the door to 94 inches.
How the length of the handle is really up to you. You can make a short handle, that’s between 12 and 18 inches long. Or, you can create a handle that runs up the entire height of the door.
Preparing the Door
Although you’re going to use a pre-made wooden door for the warm industrial sliding door, you might need to prep if first so that it looks good. A door that you buy new from a hardware store is probably going to be ready to go. But if you go a secondhand store or warehouse, you’re likely going to need to dress up the door.
Important: don’t pick a door with a pre-drilled hole for a doorknob. You won’t be using a traditional knob, so you’ll end up having to fill in the gap. Pick a solid door if possible.
To do so, apply wood filler to the surface of the door in any areas where there are gaps or cracks. Let it dry completely (look at the wood filler package to get an idea of how long that will take).
Once dry, sand the door down to smooth it out. Wear your safety goggles and a mask at this point, as the sanding process often produces a lot of dust. If you have room outdoors, it’s a good idea to set up and do the sanding outside.
After sanding, wipe the door down with a damp cloth to remove any dust. If you want, you can paint the door at this point or leave it plain. It all depends on your preferences and taste.
Let the painted door dry overnight.
Add the Handle
Using plumbing pipe as the door handle and as the track for the door is what gives this particular door a “warm industrial” style. Once your door is sanded and painted, it’s time to install the handle.
Using a drill and wood screws, attach two of the plumbing flanges to the side of the door where you want the handle. Keep in mind that the handle should be on the side of the door that faces into the room, not the side that faces the wall.
Spaces the flanges so that you can fit the length of pipe for the handle and two of the 90-degree angle brackets between them. Attach the pipe to the brackets, then the brackets to the flanges. Finally, secure the entire handle to the door by screwing the flanges into place.
Add the Castors and Hooks
Your door will be a lot easier to open and close if you attach a pair of castors or wheels to its bottom edge. While you can use swiveling wheels, a pair of wheels that don’t turn will be a lot easier to use.
To install the wheels, measure about three inches in from each side of the door on the bottom edge. Line up the one wheel on each side and mark the openings for the screws with a pencil. Remove the wheel and pre-drill a hole at each opening.
Put the wheels back in place and attach them to the door with the wood screws, drilling the screws into the holes you’ve created.
Once the castors are in place, you can attach the eye hooks, which will hold the door to the pipe. Starting about two inches from each side of the door, space the four eye hooks evenly apart. Drill a hole in the top edge of the door where you will place each hook, then twist the hook into position.
Hanging the Door
You’re almost done! Now you just need to hang up your door. Hanging the door can be the trickiest part, as you’ll be working with a long length of pipe and a potentially substantial door. In other words, you’ll want to have at least one other person around to help you, if not two.
Attach the long length of plumbing pipe to the two remaining brackets and flanges. Don’t screw things in too tightly, as you’ll be taking this apart in a few minutes to put the door in place.
Position the pipe over the door opening. Use your level to make sure it is even, then mark on the wall where you’ll need to drill to screw in the flanges. If you have drywall and studs, it’s a good idea to try to attach the flanges to the wall where the studs are. The studs will hold the screws in place.
Remove one bracket and flange from the end of the pipe, then thread the pipe through the eye hooks on the door. Re-attach the bracket and flange.
With the help of a friend or two, hold the pipe, flanges, and door to the wall, above the opening. Line up the holes on the flanges with the drill marks you made, then attach the flanges to the wall with the drywall screws.
Locking a Wooden Sliding Door
It can be difficult, but not impossible, to install locks on wooden sliding doors. To do so, you’ll need to attach a hasp to the door and the wall next to it.
Often, you can lock a hasp with a padlock, but there are models available that have a keyed lock or a safety post, which you turn to secure the door.
You’ll need to install the lock on the side of the door that faces the room, and you can only install the lock on one side. The good thing is that it’s pretty much impossible to lock yourself out of a room with a sliding wooden door since you can’t accidentally flip the lock when exiting the area.