What are Barn Doors?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Barn doors are doors designed for use on a barn or carriage house. In addition to being used on barns, barn doors can also be utilized in residential architecture, and for some types of commercial structures as well. There are a number of variants on the traditional barn door available from companies which manufacture barn doors, and people can also build their own, if they have specific idea of what they have in mind and no commercial manufacturer is meeting their needs. Barn doors can be installed by a contractor or by someone who is skilled at tasks like hanging doors.

The classic example of a barn door is a large sliding door.
The classic example of a barn door is a large sliding door.

The classic example of a barn door is a large sliding door. Sliding barn doors are designed to allow large equipment through, with many barns having a set of two which can be configured in a variety of ways. Sliding barn doors also may have a smaller inset door, so that someone who wants to enter the barn without opening the large rolling door can open the smaller door to get in.

Swinging carriage house doors are another form of barn door. In this case, a pair of oversized doors is designed to swing open. Traditionally, these doors are large enough that a carriage with a coachman on top can move through the opening once they have been swung out. Some people use carriage doors on their garages because they do not like the look of traditional roll up garage doors, or because they want to create a more unified visual look on their property, and they would prefer to disguise the garage as a carriage house.

In residential architecture, there are a number of uses for barn doors. Rolling barn doors can be used as exterior doors, with some houses cleverly using them to cover windows; when the weather is fine, the doors can be rolled back, and when the weather is unpleasant, the doors can be rolled over the windows to cover them. Barn doors can also be used on studios and workspaces so that a large opening is available when big things need to be moved in or out.

Rolling doors are also utilized inside. Open floor plans can use such doors to create temporary partitions when they are desired, and smaller versions of the traditional rolling barn door can be used to conceal pantries, utility rooms, and similar spaces. Homes with a rustic theme may also use rolling doors in regular doorways; one advantage to a rolling door is that clearance around the door isn't required for opening.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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