To install sliding closet doors is more than just having a convenient way to open and close the closet. These nifty doors also save up space and don’t have the usual creaking and squeaking hinges problems that regular closet doors have.
The sliding closet doors are easy to open, quiet, and give you easy access to the space inside of the closet. No matter how small your bedroom is, you can have a large closet that holds all your clothes with doors that don’t take up half the space in the room. With that gained space, you can make your bedroom cozy and more comfortable.
So how would you go about installing sliding closet doors on your own? First, you need to find the right door types for you.
Sliding Closet Door Options
Sliding closet doors come in different shapes and styles. That’s good news if you have a specific design in mind and you wouldn’t like the closet door to look out of place or stick out like a sore thumb. But apart from the designs and styles, sliding closet doors either hang by the top and bottom tracks or just the top track. They each have their advantages.
When you have top and bottom tracks, the sliding closet door is more secure and stable. You won’t have issues with the door falling off the tracks or giving you that jittery slide when you open and close it. However, the bottom tracks double the work of installing the door and, in many cases, are just redundant additions.
Many doors come with a top track and a bottom plastic guide. That gives you the same stability you’d get from a double-track door while minimizing the installation process. To keep the bottom of the door secure, these doors have a plastic guide. Eliminating the bottom track means the door is much lighter and easier to maintain.
The Evolving Process of Installing Sliding Closet Doors
As you might expect from a DIY project that involves wood, there will be a lot of measuring and cutting involved. Even before you have purchased the sliding closet doors, you’ll need to measure the closet opening to make sure the doors will fit.
The way these doors work is they slide on tracks, usually at the top. That top track carries the whole weight of the door. Both doors can slide in either direction. That way, you have access to the inside of the closet. However, you can only have access to one side of the closet at a time. If you want to get to the other side, then you’ll have to slide both doors in the opposite direction. When you’re done, you slide one door shut.
That means you’ll have double tracks at the top of the closet to allow both doors to move freely in either direction. The bottom will also either have double tracks or double guides. In the case of light doors, you might have neither tracks nor guides at the bottom of the closet to guide the doors.
This is usually a job for two people. You’ll need someone to hold the door for you while you guide it onto the track. If you’re working alone, this part could be a little tricky.
What You Need
How to Install Sliding Closet Doors
With all the materials and equipment at hand and hopefully someone to help you, you are ready to start. The first step is to get the exact measurements to help you choose the right door for the available space.
1. Measure the Space
Start by getting the measurements of the finished opening of the closet. First, measure the top of the closet and mark it down. Then get the measurement of the bottom of the closet and write it down as well. Do the same for the height of the door in two locations, from the floor to the top edge on the right and again on the left.
Write down the thickness of the frame in two locations. That should tell you what type and style of closet door you will need. Base your decision on the smaller measurement, not the higher one. You’d want the door to fit against the thinnest part of the frame, not stick out.
2. Install the Tracks
The top track is usually the trickiest part to install. It carries the weight of the door, and if not adjusted well, it will either stick out of the wall or sink into the frame. So, measure the top opening of the closet and mark the spot on the left and right for the top track.
With the help of the hacksaw, cut the guide rails of the track according to the measurements. Place the track in place at the top and make sure it aligns with the closet. You can use wood shims to get the right alignment. When you’re satisfied with your work, use screw nails to secure the track in place. If the walls are too difficult to screw the nails in, use pilot drills instead.
3. Install the Floor Guide
Sliding closet doors without a bottom track usually have a floor guide that you need to install. Only in the case of very light doors that you would have neither bottom tracks nor floor guides. To install the floor guide, mark the middle of the closet door on the floor and drill a hole into it. Align the floor guide with the edge of the bottom of the closet opening. Use a screwdriver to screw the floor guide into place.
Fit the parts of the floor guide that go into the doors. Make sure you leave about one-eighth of an inch of space to give the doors enough room to slide easily.
4. Secure the Roller Brackets
If the sliding closet doors don’t come with pre-installed roller brackets, then you’ll have to fix them yourself. Usually, the doors will have instructions from the manufacturer about how to install them. Follow these instructions. In general, you’ll need to install the roller brackets about two and a half inches from either end of the door.
For the door closing to the right, fix the roller bracket on the right side. And for the other door that closes to the left, install it at the top of the door to the left. Test the rollers and make sure they are not too tight.
5. Install the Sliding Closet Doors
This part will require some lifting and adjusting to get it right. Hold the back door and aim the top at the track. Lean the door at an angle so that the bottom sticks out of the closet. Now slide the roller at the top of the door into the guide rail. If the door has a bottom track, slide the roller into that one, otherwise, slip it into the floor guide. Test the door and make sure it moves freely from one end of the closet to the other end.
Do the same for the front door. If the doors are heavy to hold, you can lift them up and make them rest on a stool or a low chair as you adjust the top roller into place.
6. Make Necessary Adjustments
When you’re done with installing the sliding closet doors, survey your work. Check if the doors align with the walls or do they need to be adjusted.
The roller brackets are responsible for the stability and smooth sliding movement of the doors. So inspect them and make sure they’re securely screwed into the doors. If they’re a little loose, this might give you problems down the line. The doors become jittery and unwieldy. So tighten the screws of the brackets with a screwdriver.
7. Install the Handles
Sometimes the handles will come pre-installed. If not, check to see what type of handles they are. Adhesive handles don’t need screws. Place them on the designed space on the doors and remove the protective layer then press them against the surface of the door firmly.
If the door handles, need to be screwed in, mark the spots with a pencil and use a screwdriver to screw the handles in. Use small screws that are about half the thickness of the doors so that you won’t have sharp nail ends sticking out of the inside of the closet doors.