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    News — how to choose barn doors

    5 years of barn doors! (and why steel wheels don't work)

    5 years of barn doors! (and why steel wheels don't work)

    I was going through my old images the other day and came across this picture of the first prototype barn door hardware I developed, five years ago.  I have learned from every generation of hardware that I have worked on.  

    The big takeaway from this version was that METAL WHEELS ARE REALLY LOUD!!!!!  I had thought metal wheels would be great, boy was I wrong.  When I set this up it howled, so it was of no use in a bedroom or bathroom as you could hear it on the other side of my house.

    As this was a prototype I also had some nylon wheels made, which worked much better and were quiet.  This version also did not have bearings so it did not survive the number of openings and closings.

    These days Viba Hardware uses an industrial nylon wheel that can survive over 20,000 opening/closing cycles, and we have added soft close to the system to ensure there are no slamming sounds when the hardware closes.

    So when it comes time to buy your hardware, get it from someone with experience, because my learning will save you from having a bad hardware experience.

    How to choose the right barn door

    How to choose the right barn door

    So you have decided that a barn door is what you need for your home.  Congrats, these are one of the best problem solvers in home improvement today, giving you more space within your home or apartment.  But where should you start?  Well, here is a basic list.

    1. Is this a new opening or an existing one?  If you are making a new opening, such as in a complete basement renovation, it is best to call us before finalizing the size and position of the opening New or old, take a look at our instructional sheet on how to prepare your walls for barn door hardware - you can find it in our instructions section.

    2. How big is your door opening?  You need to know how large your opening is - in inches - from left to right and from the bottom of the opening to the top.  The opening is just that, the open area. It doesn't include any trim work around the opening.  You can find an instruction sheet in the instructions section of our website that will give you the measurements you need.

    3. How much room do you have on either side?  The basic rule is that you need the same amount of space on the side of a barn door as the width of door itself.  So if you need a 40 inch wide door, you better have 40 inches of wall to the left or the right of the door.

    4. Do you have any obstructions?  Electrical outlets and wall switches are not as big a deal as most people think, but thermostats are.

    5. How many doors do you want?  Are you looking for 1 really big door, 2 doors that meet in the middle, or a bypass or multi-pass system where doors roll in front of one another?

    6. What kind of look are you going for?  Are you looking for modern and sleek, super rustic, lots of wood grain? All these are considerations which can effect which door you plan to purchase or which hardware style you want.

    All of these questions will effect what type of door you wind up with, but there is one way to be sure - ask us!  We always answer e-mails; include a picture if you have one. We make it a habit to actually answer our phones when you call, and if we are unable to, we will call you back.