Building A Barn Door With the Proper Hinges and Hardware

When building a new barn, there are many types of hinges and hardware to choose from for your barn doors. We will explore some of the choices and types of hinges as well as the accessories to construct a safe, effective and proper barn door.

Strap Hinges

Strap hinges are one of the most basic and versatile hinges for a barn door. The come in various lengths and styles. No matter how good a hinge looks it’s very important to make sure you have the correct duty rating. If your door weighs 200 pounds, you must have hinges rated for that weight. If a single hinge is rated for say 100 pounds, than three hinges would more than suffice for your 200 pound door. Most strap hinges are around 20″ in length providing plenty of support for heavier barn doors.

Pinnel hinges are one of the most cost effective strap hinges on the market. There are two main components of a pinnel hinge, the strap portion that attached to the door frame and the pinnel portion that attaches to the jamb of the frame. The end of the pinnel has a pin on it that attaches to the strap portion on the door. This allows you to attach the components on the respective structures and then assemble the door to the frame. The strap portion of the pinnel hinge usually uses lag screws or bolts for assembly. Most often pinnel hinges are black in nature and can be mechanically made or hand forged from a piece of wrought iron.

Long strap hinges are also an effective hinge for barn doors. Unlike pinnel hinges, these are face mounted with several screws or lag bolts. These are often 15″ to 20″ in length and use heavy duty lag screws for installation. They are usually painted or powder coated in black.

Another popular barn door hinge is the colonial strap hinge. These are flat in nature and feature a round over portion on the end, giving a colonial, old-time look.

Double Dutch Hinges

Double Dutch hinges are the ideal hinge for creating that classic over-under door for horse stalls. This allows you to open the top half of the door for feeding your horse while keeping them safe and secure inside. Double Dutch hinges are actually two hinges in one. There are actually two hinges mounted to one frame, thus allowing you to achieve the over-under door combination.

Double Dutch hinges come on various lengths depending on how heavy your door is. The most common length is either 12″ or 17″ long and most of the time they are secured with simple black screws.

Indoor Barn door hinges

There are several options for indoor barn door hinges as well. Most often these are lighter duty in nature and much shorter in length than the exterior barn door hinges.

The classic 5″ barn door hinges offer basic, effective use for interior doors. These are a no frills no thrills kind if hinge for general use. A step up from the basic 5″ hinge is the colonial 6″ hinge. These are more ornamental in nature and feature a more decorative look. They are also more heavy duty and feature a more robust hinge pin.

For half doors, a large drop latch can be very effective. These allow you to keep your door closed thus preventing animals from escaping, yet they can be easily opened by anyone.

Other Accessories

Beyond hinges, there are other critical hardware components to building a strong barn door. Cross bracing prevents the door from racking or shifting over time. They are metal-like rods that attach to the corners of the door.

Can bolts allow you to prop your door open. They attach on the interior side drop down when in use.

A door pull allows provides a safe, secure place for your hands while opening the door There are several styles and sizes to choose from.

Commercial Door Hardware – The ISO’s Role in Maintaining Quality

Every day millions of people around the world enter and exit public buildings. We work, shop, study and play in commercial buildings. Most people take for granted that public buildings are safe, and that components like doors are going to perform properly and as expected every single time. If we had to stop and think about how the door might work every time we entered a property, it would put a serious damper on how we do business and go about daily life. Fortunately, it’s organizations like the ISO that help make daily living easier, providing peace of mind for consumers and users of everyday products, like commercial door hardware. 

 

The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) was formed in 1947. It is a network consisting of the national standards institutes of 157 different countries around the world. It collaborates with scientists, manufacturers and various industry experts worldwide to create product standards that “meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.” The ISO helps to ensure that international standards for products and technology are developed, encouraged and adhered to by products manufacturers and industries in general. International Standards “provide a reference framework, or a common technological language, between suppliers and their customers.”

 

What does this mean for the consumer? Essentially, consumers and members of the public can be assured of two things:

 

1) Products will perform in the same manner no matter what part of the world they come from. In the case of commercial door hardware, such as exit devices, the device will perform safely and in the expected and acceptable manner in the United States even if it was manufactured in another country.

 

2) Technology is shared. ISO member countries work in partnership with one another. They share information and technology. This means that products (i.e. exit devices, door closers) are manufactured to perform in a uniform manner. While individual commercial door hardware companies are free to improve on existing products and to create new ones, they will still perform according to the technological guidelines as set out by the ISO.

 

The 1903 Iroquois Theater Fire in Chicago, Illinois is an example of human tragedy that resulted, at least in part, from a lack of product/technology standardization. The theater was rushed to an opening several months ahead of schedule, despite the lack of safety precautions, such as working fire escapes. As such, the Iroquois Theater had a beautiful architectural and interior design façade, but lacked working safety systems.

 

When fire broke out during a matinee, hundreds of patrons were unable to escape the burning theater. Many of the theater’s fire doors had been locked, trapping patrons inside. Other doors were outfitted with bascule locks. While they were more common in European countries, they were virtually unheard of in the United States. Just a mere handful of visitors were able to work the bascule locks. Those who could not perished in the flames.

 

Had international standards existed in the early 1900’s, it’s probable that many more lives could have been saved. Over six hundred died in the Iroquois Theater Fire. The ISO exists, in part, to help ensure that these kinds of tragedies do not occur.

 

Today’s commercial door hardware can be expected to perform to the standards set out by the ISO. These standards apply to the United States, as well as the other 156 member countries around the world. 

Barn Door Hardware – Door Anatomy

Doors come in all shapes, sizes, and weights. They are made of different materials, are intended for different uses, and move using different movement systems. One of the more interesting of the movement systems happens to be a current growing trend called barn door hardware, also known as flat track hardware. Even though that is this author’s preferred style of door hardware, that is neither here nor there. The design of this article is to address the construction of doors and their subsequent anatomy.

As stated previously, doors can come in all shapes and sizes. Here we’ll talk about the make-up of a standard 3’x7′ door, the door most commonly used in most homes. This description will be given as though one were looking at a door in the closed position.

Starting off, there are two long vertical pieces that run the length of the door on both the left and right side. These are called the stiles. On the top and bottom there are two horizontal pieces that lock into the vertical stiles; these are called the top and bottom rail. There are also two other horizontal rails, one towards the top, and another that sits at the height of the door knob or handle. The one near the top is called the intermediate or cross rail, and the one near the center is called the lock rail. Running vertically in the center of the door you have what are called mullions. These parallel the side stiles and lock into the horizontal rails just described.

Between all of these rails, stiles, and mullions you’ll notice that there are six panels- four large and two small. The two smaller ones are almost square and sit at the top of the door. The four longer ones are rectangular and take up the rest of the space of the door.

That is the basic anatomy of a standard door found in most homes.