How to Build an Exterior Barn Door

This blog post describes the process we used to build a barn door for our dock closet; however, the same steps apply to building a barn door for any room in your house. The only difference is that we used treated wood and plywood.

If you don’t want to build a barn door,, the largest sliding barn door manufacturer in America located in Collegeville, PA is a great source for barn doors.

Here is our dock closet before building/installing our barn door. Neal purchased all of our supplies from Home Depot.


    • treated (if exterior) plywood the size of the door
    • 8 (may need more or less depending on the size of your door) 1×6 treated boards
    • Gorilla glue
    • Deckmate screws (the length depends on the combined thickness of your boards and plywood)
    • barn door hardware
  • Tools:
    • set of saw horses
    • tape measurer
    • chalk reel
    • circular saw
    • miter saw
    • table saw
    • square
    • 2 long clamps
    • 2 small clamps
    • Drill
    • Starrett protractor
    • Long level (optional)
    • planer
    • sander or sandpaper

Note: This material/tool list does not include the door trim.

We started by measuring this treated plywood and cutting it the size we need. It will be the frame for the door. The height will be 84 inches and the width will be 42 inches. We used our chalk reel to make the cut lines. You can see the chalk lines in this photo where we will cut. Neal used a DeWalt circular saw to cut the plywood. The picture below shows the plywood cut the size we need it. Our next step was to cut each treated 1×6 board 84″ in length, which will be the height of the door (same as the height of the plywood). Here, Neal is cutting each of the 7 boards. He is using a Dewalt miter saw. He used a square to make his mark before cutting each board to ensure a precise/straight cut. The picture below shows all seven boards cut. We have the seven boards laid in place over the plywood. There is an eighth board that we cut the same length; we will cut smaller strips from this piece. Here, Neal is setting the table saw before we cut (rip) the eighth board into two 1 1/2″ boards (more on this later). Since this picture, our table saw died. We purchased a new table saw at Home Depot! Let it rip! We laid all the boards in place, including the two 1 1/2″ smaller boards that Neal just ripped. (We were originally going to use the two narrow pieces on the edge, but later decided to use them in the middle of the door — more on this later.) We used clamps to pull the boards together and double-checked to be sure the boards will fit on our plywood. He laid out the two pieces (previously cut) across what will be the door. We used Gorilla glue and then screwed each board in place. See the photos below. Here, Neal is gluing the first board. We clamped the first board in place to be sure it is flat on the plywood. Wood can sometimes be warped and clamping helps to straighten. We used our Ryobi drill . . .and screwed the wood in place from the underside. We used 1-1/4″ screws. You must be sure the screws are long enough to go through the plywood and the 1×6 treated wood, but not too long to go all the way through the treated wood. This would ruin the appearance of your barn door! Here is board number two . . . 1.) glue . . . 2.) clamp in place.3.) secure with screws. Board number 3 . . . 1) glue2.) clamp3.) secure with screwsLadybug, was our supervisor . . . however, she passed away since this photo. Board number 4 (this is one of the two pieces we ripped on the table saw). We decided to put these smaller pieces in the middle with one 1×6 between them. 1.) glue2.) clamp and 3.) secure with screws. Board 5 . . . We had to start using longer clamps now because we had so many 1×6 boards across the plywood. Also notice that we made sure the edge of the clamp was not resting on the plywood (i.e. the 1×6 was flat on the plywood).

Board 6 (the second small board) 1.) glue2.) clamp3.) screw. Neal had to measure the underside to be sure the screws were going in the actual board on top of the plywood. Board number 7More measuring . . . Board number 8

And finally, board number 9! All boards have been glued, clamped, and screwed in place! Neal added more screws just to be sure all the 1×6 boards were secure. We removed all the clamps

Now to add the “Z” pieces. We measured 12″ from the top and the bottom for the two horizontal pieces. We clamped (not glue this time) the pieces in place. We flipped the door over and made a chalk line on the underside so Neal would know where to put the screws. NOTE: The chalk line is one inch more narrow than the actual horizontal board; he will use this as his guide for the screws. This time, we are using 2″ screws. We are using longer screws because they will go through the plywood, the 1×6 wood, and then attach the 1×6 horizontal pieces. However, we made sure they were not long enough to go all the way through the top board. This is a box of the screws we used. Neal installed screws on his chalk line from the underside. We flipped the board over to secure the second horizontal piece of wood. We secured it the same as the first horizontal board. Here is the door with both horizontal pieces. Now time for the diagonal piece that completes the “Z”. This Starrett protractor helps measure odd angles. We placed the diagonal board on top of the two horizontal boards and measured the angle. It was 35.5 degrees. Here is a closeup. We adjusted the miter saw 35.5 degrees and cut the first end. We cut the first end and put it in place. Then we measured . . .And then cut the second end. Now that is a perfect fit! You, GO Neal! We clamped this piece in place. We clamped a more narrow leftover board on the underside to trace a line (both sides of the narrow board) so Neal would know where to put screws. We actually clamped down a level to push this diagonal board in place while Neal screwed it in place. Here is Neal screwing the diagonal board from the underside. Neal planed the edge of the door to make it smooth on the edge. Here is a close-up view of the planer. Voila! It is smooth! And a close-up view! Nice job, Neal! Here you can see the underside with all the screws. And a closeup of one section. And the FINAL door! Now we move down to the dock to prepare the door opening. Talk about a workout! Neal measured and cut the first 2×4 (to close in the door opening a little). He nails it in place. This is the nail gun we used for this project. And the other side . . .Now we want to add trim, but we need to chisel the end pieces of the flag, so the trim will lay flat. First, he made an indention with the chisel. Then he started chiseling out each section. Almost finished this part . . .And now the trim lays perfectly flat. Neal nailed this in place. And then he cut . . .and nailed the trim on the other side. We measured, cut, and nailed a piece of trim (also where the barn door hardware will be installed) across the top. We are now ready to install the barn door hardware. We ordered the barn door hardware on Amazon. Neal followed the installation directions that came with the hardware. The picture below shows Neal installing the rail. Below, Neal is installing the hardware on the door.

Here is a closeup of the small piece of wood we added. Here is the door installed (open). And another picture when the door is closed. Thank you for reading our blog post! Please give us feedback by commenting below.

If you don’t want to build a barn door,, the largest sliding barn door manufacturer in America located in Collegeville, PA is a great source for barn doors.

Click here to see our blog post about painting the American flag on our dock closet.

Click here if you want to see our blog post about dock construction.

Thanks for reading my blog post! Please give us feedback on our barn door project by commenting below!



Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.

12 thoughts on “How to Build an Exterior Barn Door”

  1. Thanks for the detailed directions! You helped me get my confidence to make a barn door for my pantry.

  2. I could not refrain from commenting. Well written! I have been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet
    I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s
    pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

    I am sure this post has touched all the internet people, its really
    really nice post on building up new weblog.

    1. Will,
      Thanks for taking the time to write such an affirming comment about our blog post. We try hard to provide detailed steps to our readers. In addition, all our blog posts feature our actual projects. Thanks again for your feedback and sharing the article!

  3. This looks great. I didn’t think of using a barndoor outside. I want to do this to my garden shed.

Comments are closed.