​Your Guide to Barn Door Types (+Tips)

Posted by The Barn Door Hardware Store on Mar 8th 2024

Are you thinking of installing a barn door in your home?

These trendy doors are attractive, super practical, and popular for a reason. If you’re looking to enhance your space, a barn door is a great choice!

However, you might have noticed that there are many different types of barn doors and that the terminology can be a little confusing.

In this guide, we’ll help you find the perfect barn door for you! We’ll cover everything you need to know, including:

  • Different types of barn doors
  • Materials used in barn doors
  • Factors to consider when choosing a barn door.

Let’s get right to it!

Types of Barn Doors

The first thing to consider when looking at barn doors is which basic type is best for you!

While there are definitely aesthetic differences between these types, the main factor in selecting them is space – so be sure to have measured the door frame and wall where you plan to install them.

Single Barn Door

Design and functionality

The single barn door might just be the most popular type of barn door out there at the moment.

It consists of a single door on a rail that’s mounted above the door frame. These doors are easy to install, work in a variety of diverse spaces, and are very adaptable.

Advantages and disadvantages

The single barn door is an extremely versatile barn door as it slots over the doorway for a traditional swinging door perfectly.

It’s very affordable compared to more complex models, works well in most spaces – and, as it is the most sought-after type of barn door – comes in the biggest range of varieties.

However, there are still some downsides to a single barn door.

It can only take the place of a single traditional door at once, so is not suited for closing off full rooms in open-plan houses.

Double Barn Door

Design and functionality

Double barn doors mimic the look of traditional barn doors, giving them a higher level of rustic appeal than single barn doors.

They are quite charming, and are a very practical type of door to have in your home!

Having two adjustable doors gives you a wide range of options, so you can fully separate your spaces, leave a cheeky gap, or have full flow through.

Advantages and disadvantages

This style of barn door gives you the most day-to-day customization options. They are also a total classic and add a homely, welcoming vibe to any space they are installed in.

However, there are still some disadvantages to this style of barn door.

They can slam and/ or pinch between the two main doors, which can be a hazard especially if you have children in the home.

They also take up a significant amount of wall space when open; you may need to leave an entire wall free to accommodate a double barn door.

Bypass Barn Door

Design and functionality

Bypass barn doors refer to the type of door in which one can overlap the other!

There are two (or, in some cases, more) doors, but their rails are layered allowing them to smoothly move over their counterparts.

These doors are ideal when you need the coverage of double barn doors but might only have space for one (or if you prioritize neatness in your home).

Advantages and disadvantages

The primary advantage of this style of barn door is the saved storage space while still having the range of a double barn door.

If you have a versatile, often changeable space, these are the doors for you!

It’s important to note that bypass barn doors take slightly more maintenance than single or double doors, so be prepared to do more cleaning and lubricating than you have before.

However, this uptick in maintenance is worth it for the flexibility of this door type.

Bi-Fold Barn Door

Design and functionality

The bifold barn door might not be one you’ve come across before.

While it still has the functionality of a barn door (being mounted only to a sliding top rail, rather than the sides of your doorframe, and not swinging outwards), the shape of these doors may bring to mind more traditional doors!

Bi-fold doors are split in half vertically, meaning when they are opened they segment in half. This design is appealing, as well as space-saving.

Advantages and disadvantages

Bifold doors are appealing, but they don’t preserve as much room as other barn doors as they still fold outwards.

These doors are best for smaller spaces in our opinion, such as guest ensuite bathrooms, closets, and pantries.

Ceiling Mount Barn Door

Design and functionality

If you have room for some real industrial hardware and love barn doors, you should consider getting a ceiling-mount barn door!

These doors, as the name suggested, are mounted to the ceiling rather than the wall they run along.

This is a great alternative if your interior walls are not load bearing, or up for a barn door, as well as being a fashionable look.

Advantages and disadvantages

Unfortunately, ceiling-mounted doors don’t do much to save space.

You’ll be looking at the same amount of wall space taken up when the doors are open, plus an additional usurping of vertical space where the hardware attaches to the ceiling!

However, due to the relative strength of the building materials, you can usually hang a heavier barn door from the ceiling – giving you much more leeway in your pick.

It’s also a very stylish, trendy look to have a ceiling-mounted barn door.

Materials Used in Barn Doors

The second factor to consider when you're shopping for a barn door is the material they are made from.

Depending on your aesthetic preference and needs, what your barn door is made from makes a massive difference! Here are some of the most common options:

Wood barn doors

Wooden barn doors are the most classic variety of this charming door style. They’re rustic, match with almost anything, and are loved by many.

They’re also definitely the most readily available variety of barn doors! You can get a range of these doors, from unfinished, cheap (but sturdy light) wood to fancy, oiled, and treated hardwood – it’s up to you!

Metal barn doors

If you love the industrial aesthetic, metal barn doors are the way to go.

These doors may be a little louder to open and close, but they’re just as (if not more) soundproof than high-quality wooden barn doors. They also add an unbeatable sense of security.

Glass barn doors

If you’re looking for a middle ground between flow and sectioning, look no further.

I may be a little biased, but glass (either full sheets or multiple panes) is my favorite type of barn door!

They can divide up living spaces while still letting natural light through, as well as reducing sound transmission will still enable you to keep an eye on what’s going on in the other room.

For home offices, glass barn doors are a must (especially if kids are in the picture!).

Composite barn doors

If you’re after a cheaper option that is still super functional and stylish, don’t turn your nose up at composite barn doors!

While they may not be quite as authentic as natural wooden doors (nor as modern as metal or glass), these doors still serve the exact same purpose and are sure to bring joy and peace to you and your family.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Barn Door

Make sure to double-check your needs and wants before securing a new barn door!

While grabbing something right away is very tempting, it’s important to take a moment and consider if what you are looking at will truly suit your needs. Some of the most important factors include:

Space availability

As stated above, the most important factor to consider when looking into purchasing a new bar door is what space you have available.

You will need to note down the dimensions of your door frame or entranceway, but also the wall space available on either side.

While barn doors save loads of interior space by not swinging outwards, they do increase the demand for vertical wall space – so it’s a trade-off that you need to consider!

Design preference

It’s a bit of a stereotype that barn doors are rustic and have a homey, country-style aesthetic.

While this can definitely be true for traditional wooden barn doors, this isn't the case at all in modern times!

There are barn doors out there to suit every aesthetic, from rustic to ultra minimalist and modern and everything in between.

However, it’s still important to consider both a) the existing vibe of your home and b) how much you’re looking to do an overhaul before you get your heart set on a door.


Even if you’ve found the door of your dreams, you may still have to face reality.

It’s crucial to stay within budget – and while most barn doors are very affordable, it might strain the budget if you have your heart set on something special!

If this is the case, it’s time to reevaluate and look for more affordable options or (unfortunately) to put off your ideal barn door until it’s in your budget.

Maintenance and durability

Standard barn doors require very little maintenance. They’ll typically need normal cleaning (dusting and wiping when general household surfaces are being done), and a rare oiling of the hardware if it gets slow, sticky, or creaky.

These doors don’t need any more maintenance than traditional swinging doors!

Additionally, they’re often more durable as they tend to be made of higher-quality materials.