3 Things to Consider When Maintaining or Refinishing Barn Doors

Amy Hayden

While barns generally have few openings for windows and doors when compared to residential housing, doors and openings are important to a barn's appearance and proper functioning. Common problems arise when you maintain or refinish barn doors and fail to consider the following three things:

1. With barn doors, form follows function.

Main doorways of many barns are large because they once allowed wagons to pass through. Large animals, such as cattle and horses, may also need to enter barns through doors, or be contained within barns, which is the reason for double doors that hinge outward and attach with specific fasteners from the outside. When refinishing or maintaining barn doors, make sure to remember that the function of the structure is more important than fancy flourishes or complex woodwork. Clean, simple lines are generally just what a barn needs.

2. Barn doors have their own specific style.

While it might be tempting to use a garage door as a barn door, or to fit it in a similar fashion, doing so won't add much value--monetary or aesthetic--to your barn. This is probably one of the most common problems or mistakes new barn owners encounter. Use a reputable barn door supplier (and there are many) to find a door that fits your budget and the barn's aesthetic. This is also a key consideration when refinishing barn doors because you don't want to mistakenly use a technique or material that conflicts with the overall style of the structure. Looking at the different types of barns and learning about general maintenance and preservation techniques and considerations can also help you decide the best approach for refinishing or maintaining barn doors, if you want a DIY approach rather than buying new from a supplier.

3. Routine barn door inspections are key.

Excess moisture and insect infestation are the two most common problems that beset barns, and barn doors are no exception to this. Make sure to regularly examine the foundation, roof, windows, and door frames of your barn, and arrange for insect inspections, specifically for termites, carpenter ants, and powder post beetles. Also maintain barn door hardware by checking for proper fit and regularly lubricating hinges, lest they rust or become otherwise inoperable.

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