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Beginner’s Guide to Glass Barn Doors

Beginner’s Guide to Glass Barn Doors

It seems like door styles change every year. As a result, there are more door options to choose from when trying to give a custom look and feel to your home. Barn doors have become a staple for homeowners looking to for that farmhouse chic look and glass barn doors are especially growing in popularity. Whether you’re craving modern elements in your home with a hint of rustic charm, or you simply need a new divider for your home office, glass barn doors work effortlessly in many situations and can save you time and space.

Time and Space

Barn doors act as a unique divider when you need to create two distinct spaces. When they’re closed, they create a space that’s cozy and sequestered. Open them up and the room instantly becomes more spacious. You could get the same effect by building a wall and installing accordion or French doors, but glass barn doors are much simpler to put in. By helping you avoid a big construction project, they save you time, money, and stress.

Glass barn doors create spaces in a unique way. Even in homes that already have doors made from wood or other materials, glass might be a better option. Because of its transparency, glass magnifies the home environment, making spaces look bigger than they actually are. This is a big advantage for small houses. Add in the variety of designs and frost options glass doors offer, and you get a wide choice of decorating options.

Because glass barn doors slide along tracks, they need less space than swinging doors. However, you’ll need enough space to install the track. When mounting a single door, you’ll need wall space on one side that's equal to the width of the door, so it can slide completely open. For double doors you’ll need that same space on both sides of the doorway opening. Make sure your glass barn door isn’t on a wall with light switches, windows, vents, or anything else that might scratch the door or prevent it from opening and closing properly.

Laminated or Tempered?

Safety is one of the biggest concerns when people consider installing glass doors. Although most glass doors are made from tempered glass, some manufacturers have switched to laminated glass. Because laminated and tempered glass resist cracking and breaking, both are considered “safety glass.”

The main difference between tempered and laminated glass is, while tempered glass breaks into small pieces, laminated glass will crack but remain together due to the plastic layer that’s baked between the two pieces of glass. Tempered glass is stronger than laminated glass, but laminated glass is still five times stronger and stiffer than regular glass. Because laminated glass costs less to produce, it can be a lower-cost alternative to the more expensive tempered glass.

The Mirror Option

Instead of clear or frosted glass, barn doors also come with a mirrored option. A mirrored barn door can visually expand a room and give it new depths. Typically, mirrored barn doors are framed in wood, which makes them look more traditional and rustic. For a completely modern look, a frameless, all-mirror glass barn door is also an option.

Since all-mirror doors can be heavier than wood or glass doors, be sure the location you choose is sturdy enough to support the weight before mounting them to the wall. For better stability, many homeowners mount the barn door track to a header—which is attached to the wall studs—just above the doorway. A simple header can be created with 2 x 6 boards, cut twice as long as the door’s track. As an extra advantage, making a header ensures the door we be far enough from the wall to clear the door frame.


Installing glass barn doors can be complex and requires two people. Make sure the hardware you use complements your décor, is durable, and moves smoothly and quietly. Even if the hardware you choose costs a little more, it will be worth it in the long run. Tracks come in flat and round rail styles and are usually made from aluminum or stainless steel.

Before mounting, double check to make sure your doors are wider that the doorway space they’re covering. To make sure everything is properly covered, the door needs to be several inches wider than the opening. For example, a 5-foot door will cover a 4-foot opening, including the 6 inches on either side. To slide completely open, your door needs a track that’s twice its width. As a result, a 4-foot door will need 8 feet of track.

It’s Not Done, Until It’s Done Right

Although installing glass barn doors can be a DIY home improvement project, it’s not without its problems. Glass barn doors are extremely heavy and can be hard to lift. Without the proper tools, it can be difficult to get the tracks level so the door glides open and shut properly. Since proper installation is vital to the door’s noise level, longevity, and safety, consider getting help from The Glass Doctor. The professionals from Glass Doctor will come to your home and make sure your glass door installation is done right, so it hangs safely and securely for years to come.