View Full Version : large doors for barn- approaches

Lynn Kasdorf
07-10-2006, 2:00 PM
As my Barn-Taj-Mahal workshop extravaganza project proceeds along, I am at the point where I need to make a decision of how I am going to make my extrerior doors.

On the low side of the bank barn, I have 4 bays that need double swinging doors (thats a total of 8 doors). No, I cannot use sliding barn doors because of a variety of factors. The openings vary from 11' wide to 8' wide, and are about 7 1/2' tall. The doors will open out.

It is an 1849 bank barn, and I have just finished completely re-siding with white oak 1x12's and painting barn-red. I plan to keep the old-barn look with my doors as much as possible, but I want them to seal and insulate reasonably well, and not warp crazily as they age. Also, they need to be rot-resistant.

The weight should be as light as possible, but they cannot be flimsy. If the wind catches the door, I want it to hold up. I plan to fashion massive strap hinges from 2" x 3/8" steel.

Piece of cake, eh?

Here are some basic approaches / ideas I am kicking around.

1. Make doors from 1x6 T&G white pine, or PT pine, or cedar. On outside, fashion border and X bracing from 1x6. This is a simple old-fashioned approach that probably will be fine. I wonder about dimensional stability and rot.

2. Make doors from white oak 1" stock. The problem here is that I need to use dried stock, and much of what is left is split and cupped, even tho I stacked and stickered it, and anchorsealed the ends. Also, oak doors will be heeeeaaavvvvy. Very authentic, tho.

2. Make sandwich of 7/16" T-111 (pt if I can get it), foam/foil insulation board, 1/2" ply (inside). These will be contained in frame made of pt pine or white oak. Or some other variation whereby plywood is the structural heart of the door. Maybe 1/2" PT with frame and T&G planks on the outside. (one problem is some of the doors are wider than 4').

3. Make frame from oak 1x6, M&T or lap joints (the stock I have is about 1 1/8" thick rough sawn). Skin with metal siding panels.

3. Involve vinyl planks (that stuff at Home Depot in the trim department) for the frame, maybe only along the bottom.

Whatever I do, all end grain will get sprayed with copper green rot preventative, primed and painted.

This is one of those tasks I have been putting off because I didn't have a clear way in mind to do it right. Any ideas would be welcomed.

Paul Canaris
07-10-2006, 2:20 PM
Torsion box construction for lightness with a thin skin of solid wood to match the exterior is one thought that comes to mind.

James Boster
07-10-2006, 2:24 PM
I have swinging doors on my "barn". I built mine similar to option 2 or 3 on you rlist. I built a frame insulated with plywood on the inside and metal on the outside on my 4' wid doors. On the wider ones (5') I built a frame of 2x's, metal on the outside and 1"x6" tongue and groove on the inside run on a 45 degree. both doors are very stable, BUT, if I was going to do it again I would build the frame out of steel( angle or tubing). I beleive it would be stronger and lighter. Also by ALL MEANS put some type of lock or stay on door to keep wind from catching them. I use a piece of 1/2" cold roll steel that slides in a couple of blocks mounted on doors and push it into ground when door is open. Wind can (an will) suprise you as to how much damage it can do to a door. Please don't ask how I know this.:eek: Good Luck.

Lynn Kasdorf
07-10-2006, 3:10 PM
BUT, if I was going to do it again I would build the frame out of steel( angle or tubing). I beleive it would be stronger and lighter.

Good idea. I do lots of steel fabrication and I can probably come up with enough angle stock to do this for free. If the frame was steel (and rustproofed), then I could lay in whatever (1x6 t&g, etc), and it could be replaced down the road if it rotted.

lou sansone
07-10-2006, 9:40 PM
here are some photos of how built all the doors for my shop.. .

I built 3 single doors 4x8 feet
and 2 double doors 5 x 9 feet each

used hand antique hand forged strap hinges ~ 3/8" x 21/2 " wide and about 30" long each

Door construction

#1 used 2 layers of rough sawn 5/4 pine put at right angles to each other and screwed and deck cemented together.

#2 added final layer of t/g EWP cemented and Ring shank nailed to the other 2 layers

#3 Framed out around the door with 2x2 and filled in with 11/2" cellotex insulation
#4 added 1/2" plywood

Door is hinged on 10 1/2" ( 1" diameter bolt stock ) long pintles that are drilled through the post and beam frame. you will see that the nut and washer are counterbored into the up-right oak beam

used 2 ton car jack to put the doors in place

then have worked fine for over 6 years now


lou sansone
07-10-2006, 9:41 PM
here are a couple more photos

Lynn Kasdorf
07-11-2006, 12:52 AM
If I backed a tractor into those doors I'd be afraid of hurting the tractor!

Nice approach if your pintles can handle the weight. I bet they insulate well.

Beautiful shop you've got there!


btw, I went with generic red latex barn paint- seems very rugged so far. My local southern states was out of barn red, so I got it from Lowes for $40/5 gal.

lou sansone
07-11-2006, 8:43 AM
the pintles are forged 1" diameter steel and they are fully supported right up to the swing point. At that point the strength is really a function of the shear strength of the steel, which is on the order of 100,000 psi, so I would say that they are fine.

Although the doors weigh between 300 and 500 lbs each, they swing with only 1 finger force. you can make them big and strong and still move quite smoothly on the pintle type strap hinge. What kills me, is when I see folks try to use a butt style hinge on doors of this size and then have all types of problems with them. With the butt type hinge you are ultimately relying on the wood screws to do all the work, which they are not really designed to do, like the pintle type bolts are.