Should A Sliding Barn Door Cover Trim?

Barn doors bring a homey feel to any room; they create interest and warmth and can complement any style. If you are interested in adding a barn door to your décor, you most likely have some questions regarding measuring. Should a sliding barn door cover trim, and how far should it stick out from the wall? We have done ample research to help you understand the most aesthetically pleasing barn door specifications for installation.

A sliding barn door should cover trim and should stick out one inch from the wall. The most agreed-upon view on sliding barn door measurement is to cover the trim and add an additional 1-2 inches on each side. This ensures proper coverage and is considered the most aesthetically pleasing.

To properly install sliding barn doors, you must consider a few other factors. In the following, we cover exact measurement details, ways to keep the door from swinging, and other items to consider before installation.

A small barn door made form hardwood planks, Should A Sliding Barn Door Cover Trim?

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How to measure for a sliding barn door

There are specific measurements that must be taken into account when measuring for your barn door. You do not want gaps on the sides of the barn door that you can see light from when you are looking at the door closed.

Not only is it important to have the right size door, but you need to take into consideration whether there is enough room on the wall that your barn door can fully open. The following are the most agreed-upon ways to measure for a properly sized sliding barn door. 

When your doorway has trim

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A white barn door leading to the living room

To measure the width

You will want to measure from the outside of the trim on the left to the outside of the trim on the right. Add 1-2 inches on each side.

To measure the height

First, decide where you will place your track above the door. The most common placement is either right above the door or halfway between the top of the trim and the ceiling.

If you choose the former, you will next measure from the top of the trim to the floor and subtract 0.5 – 1.0 inches to ensure that the door will not grind on the floor. If you choose the latter, measure from wherever you decide to place your track to the floor and subtract 0.5 – 1.0 inches.

When your doorway has only finished sheetrock (no trim)

A modern contemporary house with a barn door

To measure the width

You will measure from the inside of one side of the opening to the other. You will then add 2 – 4 inches on each side.

To measure the height

Like a doorway with trim, track placement is critical in determining how tall your door needs to be. Mark where you decide to place your track and measure from that point to the floor and subtract 1 inch to ensure that your door has free movement across the floor.

What size rail do I need for a barn door?

The barn door size determines the rail or track length. If you just have one sliding door, you will take the width of your door and double it. For instance, if your door width is 36 inches, then you need a 72-inch track.

If you have a double sliding barn door, your track must be four times the width of one of the doors. For instance, if you have two 24-inch doors, the track must be 96 inches. These dimensions are minimum requirements – you can always choose longer if you would like.

If you are also interested in keeping barn doors from sliding open, check out our post, “How To Keep Barn Doors From Sliding Open.”

How to keep your barn door from swinging?

To prevent a barn door from swinging, there are door glides that can be used. There are several different kinds of door guides. The most common include:

Standard L-Shaped Bracket

These L-shaped brackets are the most commonly used guides. These come standard with most barn door tracks. It is mounted to the floor and guides it from hitting the wall and from swinging out. This type of guide requires a groove in the bottom of the door.

If you have purchased your door from a manufacturer, this groove is often already in the door. If you are making your door yourself, you will use a router for a clean groove along the very bottom of the door. This type of guide can not be used with a glass or acrylic door.

Check out this L-shaped bracket on Amazon.


The C-channel style guide wraps around the bottom of the doors and does not involve making adjustments to the door. You have to line up the guide with the door and attach the guide to the floor, most commonly by drilling into the floor. This can be used with a door made of any type of material.

Click here to see this on Amazon.


The t-guide bracket also requires modification to the door itself. One must drill into the bottom of the door an even groove that will fit the t-shaped guide and allow it to move along the guide. This style of guide is mounted to the floor as well. A t-guide type can not be used with a glass or acrylic door.

Click here for a t-guide from Amazon.

Wall mounting guides

Wall mounting guides are an alternative to traditional guides. If you can’t or don’t want to mount to the floor, there are wall mounting options that work the same way as the floor mounting options; just mount to the wall instead. Some options do not need grooves in the door like the one from Amazon below.

Click here to view this type of wall mounting bracket on Amazon.

No matter what style you choose, make sure to read the manufacturer’s installation instructions thoroughly. These instructions will be imperative to the proper installation of your guide. We recommend choosing a barn door guide kit that is made of metal and not plastic. Plastic door guides tend to break easily.

For more information on barn door hardware, check out our post, “Do Bedroom Barn Doors Lock?”

Are barn doors heavy?

The material used to make the door determines how heavy the door will be. The most common materials used to make barn doors include hollow-core, glass, acrylic, and wood.

Any of the materials used for barn doors can potentially be heavy. Consequently, a solid wood door will be the heaviest, while a hollow core door will be the lightest.

What are other things to consider for a barn door installation?

Are there light switches in the way?

You do not want the barn door to cover a light switch, especially one that is commonly used. If you do have a light switch in the way and still want a door, moving the light switch is the best option.

Make sure to hire a licensed electrician to move the switch so that it is out of the way of the door. Patch the sheetrock, and you are ready to measure for your barn door!

Is there enough space when the door is pushed completely open?

Just measure the wall where the barn door will slide when open. Make sure that the space is large enough for the size of your door. Consequently, if there is not enough space, choose another place for your barn door.

Did you acclimate your wood?

If you are making the door yourself, make sure that the lumber or old wood has at least a week (preferably ten days) to acclimate inside your home before building the door. There is moisture in wood, especially new lumber, and it can warp if not properly acclimated to the climate it will be staying in.

Do you want a trim board behind your track?

A dark hardwood barn door with a black color sliding mechanism

A trim board behind the track is most often used when the opening does not have trim. You do not want this board to be more than 1″ thick.

In Closing

In summary, barn doors are a great way to add warmth and texture to a room. They are versatile, interesting, and relatively easy to install. Most importantly, you just need to follow a few guidelines when measuring and make a few decisions on style, and you can have the barn door of your dreams! 

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