Can I Use Any Door for a Barn Door (+How to Convert)

Posted by The Barn Door Hardware Store on Mar 1st 2024

Barn doors undoubtedly add sophistication and style to a home and instantly create a flair of modernity. You may be wondering if you can add a barn door to your home yourself by reusing one of your own existing doors.

The answer is yes: you most definitely can! Converting an existing door into a barn door is a great way to reuse materials, and is a manageable task even for the most casual DIYer.

In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to take an old door and repurpose it as a barn door. We’ll go through the types of doors you can use, the tools you will need, and exactly how to get the job done.

In this guide you’ll find out:

  • Can any door be used for a barn door?
  • How to convert a door into a barn door
    • Tools and materials you will need
    • Steps to follow for the conversion
    • Expert tips for a successful conversion.

Let’s get straight into it!

Factors to consider when choosing a door for a barn door

When you’re selecting the door you wish to convert into a barn door, there are several factors you will need to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn:

Material and Structural Integrity

One of the most important considerations when selecting your door is the material it is composed of.

Most doors are made from wood; however, not all wood is equal!

You’ll want to ensure the wood you use is sturdy enough to be suitable for use as a door that will stay in great shape for years to come.

Great options for the most sturdy wood doors are hardwood, oak, fir, birch, and white cedar.

Other more lightweight woods are possible to use such as pine and knotty alder, just ensure you have the wood treated to prevent scratches and other damage from occurring.


As barn doors hang above the door frame, they are larger than a regular door. Therefore, you will need to make sure that the door you are using is slightly taller than the doorframe you are installing it onto.

If you wish to remove a door and reuse it as a barn door in the same space, the door will therefore not be large enough.

However, there is a clever way around this! Instead of increasing the size of the door, you could instead decrease the size of the doorframe.

This is a fairly simple process you can do at home. First, remove the trim from the doorframe, then lay extra planks of wood in the interior of the doorframe before reinstalling the trim.

You can then use the existing door successfully as a barn door that will fit over the door frame.

Style and Aesthetics

It’s important that the door you choose for your barn door is one that will fit into the current aesthetic and style of your home.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to select a door that fits your desired style. However, you can always paint your door and add other features such as handles to alter the style of your choosing.

Types of doors that can be used for a barn door

Now that we’ve got those factors in mind, what types of doors exactly can be used as barn doors?

Any regular wood door that has been used in a home is suitable for use as a barn door, providing the wood is good quality as discussed.

In addition, it is also possible to use doors made from steel and glass as barn doors for an ultra-modern touch.

Doors that should not be used for a barn door

So, are there any doors that should not be converted into a barn door? If the door is not appropriate in size then it won’t be suitable as a barn door.

Remember, the barn door needs to be slightly taller than the doorframe as it will hang from trackers on the wall slightly above the frame.

Other types of doors that may not be suitable are doors made from fragile materials or softwood that are likely to be prone to breakage or damage.

How to convert a door into a barn door?

So you’ve successfully selected your door, and you’re ready to convert it!

Converting a regular door into a barn door is a great project for the keen DIYer, and doesn’t require any expert skills.

In this section, we’ll take you through exactly how to convert your door including the materials you will need, step-by-step instructions, and expert tips to ensure a smooth conversion.

Tools and materials you will need

Let’s first go over everything you will need to perform your conversion. Aside from your door, you will also need to purchase some hardware to hang your door from.

You may also need a tape measure, sandpaper, and paint or stain. In addition, you may need a hand drill to install the hardware for the door.

Steps to follow for the conversion

With your materials ready, let’s now go over the step-by-step process of turning your door into a barn door.

Prep your door

The first step you will need to follow when converting to a barn door is to prep your door into shape.

This may involve sanding down any rough or damaged areas on your door to ensure a smooth surface with a professional finish.

You may then also like to paint your door, or alternatively use a stain for a more rustic finish. Any other alterations you would like for your door should also be done at this stage.

Prep your doorframe

Before you install your barn door, you’ll want to make sure your doorframe is in top shape!

Remove any hinges from the doorframe left from the previous door, and you can also fill and paint over the holes left from previous doors to create a professional finish.

Choose your hardware kit

Converting a regular door to a barn door is made easy through the use of hardware kits. These kits contain the track and hangers you will need your door to hang on to become a barn door.

However, it’s worth noting that there are a range of different hardware kits available depending on the type of barn door that you are installing.

The Barn Door Hardware store offers a wide range of hardware kits to meet a variety of needs! These range from hardware kits for simple sliding barn doors, double barn doors, bypass barn doors, and even ceiling-mounted barn doors.

Install the hardware

Using hardware kits makes the next part easy. Simply follow the instructions in the kit to install the tracker to the wall above the door frame, and install the hangers.

Install door

Once your hardware is installed the next step is to mount the door onto the track. Read the instructions on your hardware kit to make sure you do this correctly.

Once mounted, test your door to ensure it slides effectively! Make any necessary adjustments if needed.

Install any other finishing touches

Once your door is mounted, you can then add any finishing touches such as door handles or other desired embellishments.

Expert tips for a successful conversion

To finish off, let’s go over some expert tips to ensure your barn door conversion runs smoothly.

Ensure your barn door matches your home decor

Before you go ahead and install your barn door, it’s essential to ensure the door will match the current design and style of your home and doesn’t look out of place!

Make any desired alterations to the door and lay it against the wall to test the look of the door before installation.

Prep your door thoroughly

You want your barn door to stand the test of time and to look like it was installed by a professional.

This requires that you spend some time carefully sanding and finishing your door to remove any existing damage or wear. You will be glad you did once you have completed the installation!

Take careful measurements

The last thing you want is to go and install your door only to find out it doesn’t fit properly!

To prevent this from occurring, make sure you carefully measure your door and doorway before any installation to ensure the door will hang as desired.


As we’ve seen, converting a regular door into a barn door is a fairly simple do-it-yourself endeavor.

Most doors are suitable for use as barn doors; however, the most important factors to consider are the size of the door, the sturdiness of the material, and the extent to which the door matches the decor of your home.

Installing your barn door is also made easy through the use of hardware kits that are available for an array of different types of barn doors.

Simply follow the instructions of your hardware kit to install your barn door and follow up with any additional embellishments you desire. Once installed you can then enjoy the modern flair and style of your new barn door!