Future anthropologists might scratch their heads trying to understand our obsession with interior sliding barn doors in recent years. Even though the majority of us don’t actually own barns, it seems no room in our homes is immune to this design trend.

While these doors can be functional, particularly in spaces where traditional doors won’t fit, let’s face it: many of us embraced them simply for their aesthetic appeal. Influenced by that captivating image on Pinterest, we felt our homes would be incomplete without one.

I too jumped on the bandwagon, repurposing a vintage office door for my bathroom. We frosted its glass for privacy, adorned it with a “WC” sticker (nodding to the European water closet), and mounted it on a sliding track from Menards. This DIY project was not only cost-effective but also added a unique touch to the space.

Weighing the Barn Door: Pros and Cons

Fast forward eighteen months, and while I still admire the door’s exterior aesthetics, my feelings change once I step inside the bathroom. Here’s why:

Sound Privacy Concerns with Barn Doors

Traditional doors, when closed, offer a certain level of sound insulation. Barn doors, on the other hand, merely hang in place, leaving gaps. While it’s not as exposing as having just a curtain, the sound insulation is noticeably less effective. It’s fine when you’re alone, but with others around, things can feel a tad too intimate.

Barn Doors and the Challenge of Uneven Floors

My bathroom is situated on the third floor of a house that’s almost 130 years old. Predictably, the floors aren’t perfectly level. This means the door, if not positioned precisely, tends to move on its own. It might drift slightly or swing wide open, potentially leaving one in a compromising situation. I’ve found myself yelling warnings to approaching family members more than once.

Latching a Barn Door: Challenges and Solutions

Securing a sliding barn door can be tricky. The design doesn’t allow for any protruding elements that might damage or scrape the adjacent wall. However, my ingenious brother, who crafts sliding barn doors, offered a solution. He recommended installing a sliding latch at the door’s interior top, aligning it with a latch point on the upper door frame. A flat bolt design ensures no bumps or scratches, keeping the door firmly in place.

The Noise Factor of Barn Doors

A minor gripe, but worth noting: some barn doors can be surprisingly noisy. Depending on the hardware, the sound of the door gliding can be as loud as a distant thunderclap. It’s an unintentional alarm system if you’re trying to monitor sneaky teenagers, but not ideal for most other scenarios.