With any architectural hardware product, the foundation and reinforcement that you don't see can be just as important to the performance of your opening as the hardware you do see. For sliding barn door hardware, this foundation is wood blocking. It's required for proper installation of your hardware, and ensures smooth operation. We'll cover some of the basics.
What is the wood blocking actually reinforcing?
Blocking reinforces the header of the framed opening, and (along with drywall spacers) allows the weight load of the barn door hardware and panel to be properly distributed. This prevents any of the weight load being transferred onto the drywall.
Also, it is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to hit studs when mounting your track system due to the spacing of the attachment points. Wood blocking placed between the studs ensures that each connection point of your track system is securely fastened to the wall framing, no matter the spacing.
What type of lumber do you recommend using?
We recommend using 2x4s or 4x4s for blocking. In new construction this can easily be achieved prior to drywall installation. If your project is a remodel, and your wall and opening are remaining as-is, we suggest carefully cutting away existing drywall in the area where installation of blocking is necessary. If this is not an option, an external, surface-mounted header may be installed.
At what height should the blocking be placed?
Typically, we recommend 2.5” above your panel height. However, it's a good idea to reference the Installation Instructions for your particular hardware style.
Another function of blocking is that it helps keep your door track system level and plumb, providing proper contact between trolleys and track. This also will keep your panel traveling evenly along the door bottom guide.
Ensuring that your sliding barn door hardware has the reinforcement it needs helps ensure contractors, designers, and end users that panel operation will continue to be smooth and problem free for years to come.