How To Build A DIY Outdoor Sliding Door

From the realization of the project to the materials and tools needed to complete it, let’s see together how to make a DIY sliding door and how much it costs.

When you hear about a sliding door, the first thought usually goes to the retractable one, which requires the installation of a casket inside the wall and therefore of a decidedly complex installation and hardly within the reach of a simple DIY enthusiast. at your place. Instead, there are alternatives that allow you to build a do-it-yourself sliding door without the need for complex interventions, namely doors with external tracks .



In our article we will explain how to build cheap sliding doors using wood and the external sliding door track kit as main materials ; we will also try to provide an estimate of the construction costs, taking into account the quantity of materials based on the size of the door, and the tools needed. To conclude, we will briefly illustrate how to do the job, in order to provide the maximum possible help even to novice DIY enthusiasts.

The necessary material


As mentioned in the title of the article, our project refers to the construction of a sliding door with external track , but the same working method can also be easily applied for the construction of an internal sliding door . If they are made with care, in fact, wooden sliding doors have the advantage of being suitable for any type of environment and furniture.

By choosing wood as the primary material, there are two possible alternatives to keep construction costs low: beads or pallets. The first choice natural raw fir wood beads cost about 14 euros per square meter, they are thinner and lighter than the boards of the pallets but are better finished and above all without nails, so they require less tools for subsequent processing. To make a single door of normal size you need at least three square meters of beads, for a total cost of about 42 euros.

Pallets are by far cheaper, however, because they can cost from 5 to 10 euros each, depending on the type and size and if purchased second-hand; who has the possibility of accessing places where to find free pallets , moreover, such as warehouses or shopping centers, can completely reset this expense item.



The kit with the do-it-yourself sliding door track , on the other hand, can cost around 40 to 70 euros depending on the type and characteristics; while kits with rails for double sliding doors can cost up to 130 euros.

A final consideration to make on materials, especially wood, concerns the intended use. As mentioned above the beads are thinner and better finished, so they are especially suitable for interior doors; the pallet, on the other hand, has a more rustic appearance and is therefore particularly suitable for making outdoor sliding doors.

The overall expenditure for wood and the kit with the track, therefore, can vary from about 50 to 100 euros, to which must be added the costs for consumables, small metal parts and any tools necessary for the work.

Tools, utensils and consumables


The tools that you absolutely cannot do without are the carpenter’s hammer, an awl, screwdrivers, a hand saw for wood, a hammer drill, a tape measure, a metal ruler, pencils, sandpaper with grit. 80 to 240, vinyl glue and impregnating varnish for wood, nails, wood screws and expansion anchors.

Instead of the manual saw it could be convenient to have a radial miter saw, or a circular saw; both the wooden beads and the pallets, in fact, will have to be cut to size so as to be able to assemble the door, consequently those who have a space equipped in the laboratory with power tools, bench grinding wheel and other stationary machines, have a decidedly advantageous part. The same goes for sanders, which can make the sanding of wooden surfaces easier and faster.

How to build a sliding door


The first step is to establish the measurements of the door to be made, so as to be able to calculate the exact amount of wood to be procured. Making a sketch of the project on paper will help you not only to have a general idea of ​​the work to be done, but also to choose the best way to combine the wooden boards; regardless of the choice of material, in fact, beads or pallets, the wooden planks must be assembled together.

With the beads it is easier as they are already finished, after having sawn them, therefore, just brush the edges with glue and then fit them together; It is also advisable to nail some beads sideways, arranging them in an X or Z so as to give greater solidity to the door, and in this phase the metal ruler and the pencil will be of great help to mark the exact positions. The same method can be used with the wood of the pallets, with the difference that this must first be cleaned and sanded properly.

Once the door has been assembled, it is necessary to sand the edges well and then apply one or two coats of impregnating varnish for wood; it is possible to apply a coat of impregnating agent and then, once dried, apply a coat of finishing varnish in order to improve both the aesthetics and the resistance to bad weather. The wooden pallet door, on the other hand, can be left unfinished if necessary.


When the door is completely finished it will be possible to proceed with the assembly of the track; this is the simplest part but at the same time it is the one that requires more precision, as the track must be fixed to the external wall above the lintel of the compartment that the door will cover, and must be at such a height not to find the lower edge of the door at the right height from the ground once it has been placed on the track. To fix the elements of the track, just mark the points of the anchors and then, with a drill, make the holes to screw the expansion plugs.

Leave a Comment