Building Double Shed Door

Choosing what doors to build for our lean-to shed was quite an adventure by itself. As it's long and narrow (5m X 1.60m) it was clear that a basic single shed door like this one wouldn't do the work. We have bicycles to store inside which makes the need of larger door even stronger.

Our lean-to shed
When you have a long attached shed like this you will need at least one double door. Ours it at right, and the sliding door at left is not yet done as you can see.

While a sliding shed door would be excellent solution, after thinking some time I decided it's going to require precise work and good materials that we have no access to at this time. And winter is approaching and we have no much time! (We'll work on a sliding door next year though as this shed needs two doors).

So here we go, we decided to build double shed doors. Read on to see how and why we did exactly these.

Materials

I definitely recommend using tongue and groove boards or wooden paneling for this, and even for the shed walls. But especially for doors. Doors made of regular planed boards are heavy. And become twice heavier when they are double doors. And there are always gaps no matter how straight the boards look when you buy them.

So this is what we did, we used tongue and groove boards for the doors and we used regular and thicker boards for the "Z" frame. Quantity depends on your door size of course. Other materials - nails and screws. It's better to use only screws but it's time consuming so we used more nails. I placed screws only once on each few boards. Thanks to the tongues and grooves the doors are stable enough when most of the boards are attached with nails.

One more board or lath is required to overlap the door. More on this at the bottom.

Of course at the end you'll have to finish the wood so you'll need some primer, lacker and maybe paint.

Don't forget few other things you can't build yourself - the hinges and some kind of latch, reamer, padlock or other locker.

Vertical or Horizontal

One of the important decisions when building any kind of door from wooden boards with tongue or groove or wooden paneling is to choose whether you'll lay them horizontally or vertically. We went horizontally due to the entire shed design - our walls are also made of horizontal groove and tongue boards.

Our double doors
So here is our doble shed door

When arranging the boards horizontally you'll have to make the "Z" frame vertical. Aligning the boards well and especially making both doors match well visually is a bit harder in this case.

Making the construction vertical seems a little bit easier due to the fact that you don't have to match the horizontal lines of the two doors perfectly. Also, the "Z" frame will have only one long board (the diagonal one) instead of three like it is with horizontal construction.

Nothing in this is fatal, just have the pros and cons in mind when choosing how to build your doors. The most logical choice is to follow the orientation that's used in the walls, if the walls of your shed are also made by boards. But sometimes changing the direction of the boards on the doors will result in good visual appeal.

Of course you can also choose to arrange the boards diagonally which will make them more stable than the other choice. The disadvantage is that you'll have to build a rectangular frame and cutting the diagonal boards properly at the same angle is much harder (for me at least). Also I expect there will be a lot more wasted material at the end. (But I agree those doors on that picture look amazing).

The Z structure (Diagonal supports)

When building doors with horizontal boards the diagonal part of the Z frame remains in the same way like if you were building the door with vertical boards - at the side of the hinges at the bottom, and pointing to the other end at the top of the door. Although this guide shows how to make a splint for better security we didn't do this and just cut the board sideways. This seems to work fine so far.

Our doors from inside
Our door Z-frames from inside

Ideally the Z frames on both doors should be placed on equal distances from the end of the doors.

Choosing the Hinges

Our doors aren't too heavy. Each one is about 80 cm / 30" wide and 160cm / 60" tall, and using rather light groove and tongue boards it probably doesn't exceed 4kg / 9 pounds. So we didn't need very strong hinges. Still hinges for a regular wardrobe wouldn't be strong enough. So see what we ended up with:

The outdoor hinges

We bought these locally at about $4 each. I can see there are similar ones at Amazon for less. If your doors are heavier and bigger you may need hinges like these albeit the higher price.

In any case it seems best to put such hinges on the outside of the doors not only so they are visible but also to avoid gaps when the doors are closed. The chance that you build yourself perfectly aligned doors is slight unless you are really good and have excellent tools. So it's better to make the things in such a way that small discrepancies won't be an issue.

Enclosing Lath To Overlap The Doors

Because the end of both doors won't match perfectly without gap, and the door wouldn't close if they did, it's best to place a vertical lath on one of the doors. It overlaps the other when both are closed. We just used one of the groove and tongue boards we had:

Overlapping Board

But of course you may prefer to use a nicer board, maybe one with ornaments and so on.

Locking The Door Or At Least Keeping It Closed

Finally we have to make sure the doors stay closed. So we placed a small reamer at the top and a small one at the bottom door so the enclosing lath doesn't handle the resistance when we doors are being closed.

Obviously our shed is still not secured. You'd better have a padlock too to keep your valuables from thieves.

User comments:

Frances at Aug, 22 '15 17:47
I was looking for sizing measurements such as how much of a gap to leave at sides and bottom.
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What Else:

A few more random tips:

1. Better fully assemble and attach one of the doors before starting the other. You will be able to calculate the size more precisely then.

2.We were thinking to place windows on the doors, but it doesn't make much sense. Because you need window when you are inside the shed and then the doors will probably be open.