Project Hall Bedroom Sliding Door: Done, part 2!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Continuing the adventures of DIY'ing a new sliding barn-type door....

As I mentioned previously, this was an easy project overall and can be completed in one weekend.  Imagine that -- going from a swinging door taking up oodles of floor space to oodles of floor space freed up by a sliding door, all in one weekend!  Neat, right?!

So after getting the jamb in order, it was time to trim the vertical casing.  I did try to measure twice, cut once, but alas, (allergies) after trimming one side with the handy 3" circular saw I realized my cut should have been higher based on where the track would sit.  I didn't fret as I figured I could trim the trimmed piece and add it back if necessary.

Lower line, wrong.  Upper line, yes.
Only tricky part was the right side of the door as it's mighty tight to the wall return, therefore I couldn't get that handy saw all the way across.  My itty coping saw boinked the wall too so I was reduced to a hammer and chisel.  *shrug*.  Not ideal but I got it.

Next was the part I was most nervous about:  hanging the track.

Why was that nerve-wracking?, you ask.  Several reasons.

The instructions, in capital letters mind you, said the track had to be PERFECTLY level in order to operate properly.  Hmph.  Perfectly.  No pressure there, right?  Yeesch.  So I was kinda dragging my feet.

The pretty good instructions.  The drawings were quite helpful for sure, especially if text made not as much sense.
Plus, the instructions said to screw into studs for correct support.  Ok, sure, no biggie, but it was the ol' measure twice, hope for the best when I drill the holes into the track once, that I didn't screw up the hole locations.  Right?!  Heh.  Oy me.  

Plus I had to decide based on the new door size and the handle for the inside where horizontally the track should sit up there over the header.  So oodles more planning and hoping and math and well, guessing and hoping some more.

I located the studs but bonus, had the luxury of a 2x above the gap of the header.  Placed some painters tape on the wall to mark the stud locations (too high), held the track up with one hand (thankfully it's aluminum and light), skooched the tape pieces down and stuck them on the track.  Ok, hole locations.  Insert biting of nails here.

What I should have done?  Made sure I left some tape on the wall so I could easily re-find the stud locations.  But noooo, I wasn't that clever.  I blame the allergies yet again, trying to infiltrate and corrupt my brain.  Ahem, right.

So all nervous-like but ducking my head and going for it, I drilled the holes in the track.  Holding my breath. 

Back upstairs I discovered the track kit didn't come with screws to mount it to the wall.  Curious.  Odd.  And disappointing.  So dashed over to my second home and picked up some 1 1/2" pan head sheet metal screws.  

Know how hard it is to go to Menards and pick up only one package of screws?!  Heh.  I was running out of day and reeeeally wanted to at least get the door on the track, start enjoying the fruits of all this labor.

So after marking a half inch up from the header in a few spots, here's where I wish I had five arms.  Awkward in most situations sure, but here?, woulda been helpful.  I hoisted the track, balanced it on the wall, set my level on top of it, tilted, adjusted, reeeaaccched for the screw gun, and sunk a screw in the middle.

Track.  Level.  Middle screw in.  Looks off but were two studs there.
Next I moved to one end, checked level, held breath, checked level, checked, checked, another screw in, checked level.  Went to the other end, same dealio, and after a couple more intermediate screws, it was up.


And damn, level too!  *fist pump*  and  *jump up and down*

Door track!  Oh yeah!
I stepped back, took a deeeeep sigh, then went to get the door.  The rollies pivot so that made it tricky on a ladder manipulating a door and rollies (don't tell Mike I did that) but it finally...Rats, gotta trim down the hall side pull 1/4" at the top due to the track lip overhang-y part there.  Or in technical terms, the fascia.  Duh.  Heh, ok, off the pull came, zwink on the miter saw, back on it went. (The second time....) 

Ok, now Finally!!  After another spot of ladder struggle, it scooted on and wow, cool!  Smooth as silk!

That's when I realized a couple things.

After maneuvering the door over the 30" opening I realized I should have gotten a 34" or 36" wide door as even with a 32"-er, there are gaps sorta.  It's not terrible but a wider door would have been a wiser choice.

I discovered too that the instructions were incorrect about how much of a gap would be at the bottom; it said 5/8" but it's more like 1 1/4"+.  Standard doors are 80" tall so I was confused why this would be off.

Mind the gap!  And the other gap!
I had pondered if doing the full math top down through all the parts would have made a difference (despite brain matter exploding everywhere) but realized I could have set the track right at the header.  But, it's true, the only way to have known ahead of time would have been to do the full math.  Or a dry test but I'm only one wee human.

But, not the end of the world in either case.

So I go to slide the door and bonk.  Bonk.  What the...bonk.  What's it bonking on?  Oh.

Bonk.  Doh!!
The casing.  Heh, rats!  All righty, all the casing has to come off now, heh.  Ah well, so it is!  The instructions were right in that there's only a half inch gap between the door and the wall so the existing 9/16" trim, poof, gettin' the boot.

Casing gone.  Buh-bye.
After removing that, more decisions.  Do I tape, mud, sand, and paint?  That leaves an odd situation at the base trim.

Door, base, then former casing empty space.
Do get more base trim and quarter round to fill in two 3 1/4" spots?  Or do I save myself headaches, time, and hassles and search for 3 1/4" x less than 1/2" thick trim?  Yup, option three please.

I was on the Menards website in very short order but quickly realized it's a hassle to shop moulding online.  It's a definite, much easier, in-store thing.

Next day, I was in-store and after five aisles I found some simple pre-primed base trim that fit my dimension requirements.  Heh, not easy!  Yes it's base trim, not casing, but honestly?, it looks way better than the existing casing everywhere else in the house.  Like way better.  Scratching head and chin......

Anyway, back home, measure measure measure, cut, cut, and bam bam bam, up the trim went with little brad nails and a nail set.*  Some Durham's Water Putty to hide the nail holes, a quick sanding, some crappy white paint, dust off of hands, and all that was left was the guide at the foot of the door and interior handle.

One of the major selling points of this kit IMO:  the included door guide.  I may need to skooch it a hair right though as the door can fall off it when closed -- again, woulda been solved by a wider door.
Oh but duh?  The pull now also hits the guide on the hall side.  Ha!  Ok, one last time, take the pull off, trim it 1/2" at the bottom, screw that puppy on for the third and final time!  Doh.  Heh.

I thought in keeping with the woodsy theme of the faboo wall mural I'd use a stick for the handle.  Yup, a stick.  So after shopping the park for three days on my walks with Finn, I finally found one.

Fresh outta Humboldt Park, a stick!  Talk about bringing the neighborhood in!
Some pre-drilling and with two of the leftover screws, it was up.  It's a smidge loose so I'll need to revisit it, but it works.  Yes, I know, something recessed into the door would have been much more practical, sure, but I didn't want the door to feel like a closet door from the inside.  The teensy room already feels closet-like enough, why emphasize it more, right?!

Sure, the door doesn't clear the opening all the way but that's all right.  It's only three inches or so narrower, whatev's.  Heh.

But it's done!  The door is done!  

Would I do it again?  Yeah.  I would.

Mike is very pleased with the additional space in the room.  He said "oooh, that's cool babe," about the inside of the door and said "oh, cool, that's clever, I like it," about my 1x1 corner trim door pull.  "Hey this is loose though," about the stick.  "Nice, I like it," about the whole shebang.  

So it's a success!  All my key points met, nearly on budget, and Mike likes it?!  Yay!

I have some touch up here and there, should probably fill that obnoxious gap at the bottom of the door jamb, gotta replace the shattered light fixture, various minor adjustments, figure out a bedside table-y thing now, repaint the whole room, ya know, not much.  Cough.

Simple, clean lined track.  Yup.
Giant Finny boy.  Because he's cute and huge and nosy.
Looks awesome with the wall mural, doesn't it?!

The warm and the cool work well together, yeah?
Stick!  Ha.  :)
Neat, yeah?  What's on tap next though?  Heh, no idea!  You'll have to stay tuned to find out.

*The nail set link is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!


  1. Loving the Blog Becky, it's great to see you tackle these little projects and all the ups and downs along the way. Don't worry the hardware store is my second home as well, my wife thinks its like her version of shoe shopping :)

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks so much, James! I really appreciate it! Oddly, the hardware store is my version of shoe shopping, though I must admit I have a weakness for those too. :) Thank you for taking the time to read along and comment!

  2. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.


Please no spam or links, thanks!