There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to build double shed doors, so let’s be honest. Building double shed doors is something you can do as it’s not a hugely complicated process, and this design has been around for decades. With materials and tools like planks, screws, nails, and steel hinges only a short drive away or at your fingertips, this task gets even more manageable.
But, why should you spend so much energy on a door? Your shed doors are essential and need due considerations. It gives access, provides security, and adds to your shed’s overall aesthetic look. Double shed doors are preferred because they let you decide on the opening size that best suits your needs. Also, with the correct planning, tools, and materials, it’s only a day or two before your doors are ready to hang.
You can easily purchase a door, but this tutorial will walk you through how to build, hang, and secure double shed doors from start to finish.
Double shed doors give you much more room to move your items in or out, and you can also get more than one person through them at once.
Before You Start – Important Decisions
Some sheds are still in use for their original purposes. Other sheds have gone through a host of transformations from storage or garden to office, craft room, or playroom for the kids. Most sheds can survive for decades if you maintain them.
Decide on the Door’s Height and Width
The dimensions of your door are usually based on what you plan on using the shed for, and you should figure this out before you build them to ensure a great fit. A standard 36-inch by 80-inch door is much easier to carry items like boxes through than a 32-inch wide door is. However, a lawn tractor will go through a 48-inch wide door better. The door height can influence or be directly influenced by the height of the wall you want to fit it into. Put a six or eight-foot header in if you can. You can still frame it for a three or four-foot door today, but a wider configuration may be better later.
Decide on a Sliding or Hinged Door Style
Once you have the door size down, you have to decide if you’re going to have sliding or hinged double shed doors. Two doors can get hinged so they swing open from opposite sides of the frame, or you can make them bi-fold hinged double shed doors that swing from only one side. Sliding doors require space to slide open, and this will require more planning at the design stage. Large sliding doors may have a passage door built into them to make access easier.
Decide on a Single or Double Shed Door Design
Based on the dimensions you need for whatever use you have for your new shed, decide if you’re going to put in a single or double shed door. A 36-inch door is best for a person to move through, and you’ll want 48-inches or wider for your trailers or lawn tractors to fit through. Double shed doors give you a versatility that a lot of people don’t consider. For example, you can play with dimensions or have them the same width. If you only need a 48-inch wide door once in a while, you can split the width to a 36-inch door and a 12-inch door. You can do the same for a 60-inch opening and create a 36-inch passage and a 24-inch fixed with a bottom and top bolt until you need the full opening.
Decide if Your Door will Blend in or Stand Out
The final consideration to keep in mind before you start building is aesthetics. Do you want your door to blend right into the siding on the shed, or do you want it to make a bold statement? This is a purely individual decision, but it’s still important to consider.
Decide on a Door Type
While there are hundreds of doors available on the current market, and there are many plans available you can follow, the more common types of double shed doors include:
There are three main types of batten shed doors you can make using vertical planks. They include:
- Three horizontal ledges or planks to hold the planks together and give your hinges a solid backing.
- Adding a diagonal brace piece between the ledges from the inner bottom to outer top to help prevent door sag.
- Adding a second vertical plank to the design on the frame on the back edge and inside front of the door to strengthen the door more.
A dutch door is a door that has been cut in half horizontally, and it usually has a slightly larger bottom piece than the top. The bottom portion can be left closed to prevent outward or inward movement while you leave the top open for airflow.
Glass or French Doors
You have the option of installing swinging French doors or sliding glass doors on your shed, especially if you need more light to enter the shed or you’ll use it as a backyard office.
Hinged Swinging Doors
A hinged double shed door can swing in or out of your structure, so it needs space to accomplish this. The number of hinges you need depends on the size and weight of your door. A few benefits of this type of door include they’re more secure, the hardware costs less, they’re easier to install, you give up less wall space, and they close more tightly in cold climates. However, they do require swing space and you have to carefully fit them to the frame.
Roll-Up Shed Doors
If you’ve ever had a rental storage unit, chances are, you’ve used a roll-up door. They have two guide side rails and roll up into a spool or canister on the top. You can buy one ready-made or make your own. They’re very convenient to use, require no swing or slide space, and they’re higher security options. However, they come in pre-set sizes, they look very manufactured, and they’re heavy to install.
Sliding Shed Doors
Sliding shed doors are very similar to sliding barn doors. You have rollers attached to the top that fit into a rail that you secure to the shed. You open them by pushing them to the right or left of the doorway, or they can go in both directions. They don’t take up a lot of space, they’re easy to operate, and they’re generally easy to build and install. However, sliding shed doors are more difficult to lock, tricker to seal, and you lose wall space with them.
There are many materials and types of doors you can create, and this allows you to customize your doors to your needs.
Decide on a Material
There are several materials that you can pick out to build your double shed doors, the most popular options include:
Engineered Wood Siding or LP Panels
LP panels are a type of engineered wood that mimics the look of the T1-11 OSB. They have strands infused with zinc borate, and the wood then gets coated with a marine wax and a mix of glue and resin. Then, they get heated and pressed to bind them together. You’ll get a double-style, tan-colored shed door that is environmentally-friendly, resistant to bugs, moisture and rot, and they’re pre-primed so they can come in any color. However, there are challenges to using it like you have to seal all the cuts you make and you’ll have to repaint it periodically. It can also dull or warp your saw blades and drill bits when you work with it.
To create grooved plywood, thin layers of wood veneer get heated, glued, and pressed together to form 4-foot by 8-foot sheets in different thicknesses. The panels are then grooved using a router to look like battens.You can use it outdoors even though it’s not classed as being exterior grade, and you can pick from channel, U, and reverse board and batten grooved sheets. There are several thicknesses available, you can stain or paint them, they won’t warp or shrink, and the opposing layer design makes the grain very strong.
T1-11 siding is a very thin layer of wood strands or plywood that gets glued to one another, pressed, and heated. Then, they get trimmed down to a manageable size. You can paint or stain them, there are no gaps between the boards for a secure fit, they’re budget-friendly, and they survive the elements and weather exposure better. However, they can rot, flake, split, or warp, and they require more maintenance to keep them looking nice.
Tongue and Groove Wood Boards
Finally, we have tongue and groove boards that come with a groove cut into one edge and a tongue cut into the other end. The tongue on one board gets pushed into the groove on the plank alongside it. This design helps to secure the pieces together, prevent gaps due to shrinkage, and reduces warping. You can buy them pre-made or make them, and you’re able to varnish, paint, or stain it, and they’re very easy to use with a sleek look.
How to Frame a Shed Door Opening
You may think that a door is just a hole in the wall, but it’s actually a reinforced hole. It needs more support to carry and spread your wall and roof’s weight while helping maintain the wall’s structural integrity.
- Cripple Studs – These are short studs that fit between the bottom of the top plate and the header. They are usually put in place to continue the 16-inch or 24-inch center pattern of yoru framing studs, and one usually sits right above the Jack stud.
- Header – This part carries the weight on the building above your door opening. The dimensions will depend on the size of your door opening. It usually has two 2x4s or 2x6s on edge with spacer shims or ½ inch plywood stuck between them.
- Jack Studs – These studs are shortened to the height of your door opening plus two-inches to help support the header.
- King Studs – They frame the opening at each side and go from the bottom plate to the top plate.
Our heder is two 2x4s with a ½-inch OSB strip that we sandwiched between to match the 3 ½-inch thickness of your studs. You can frame the door using the King Stud that you sandwich between the Jack Stud and a stud. You may not have any space for a Cripple Studs above the header.
Your frame has to be very sturdy to support your doors while helping the wall keep its integrity level.
How To Build Double Shed Doors
There are a few different ways you can go about building double shed doors in the batten style. Batten doors are generally easy to build, look nice, and you can adjust the size. The following step-by-step instructions will go over how to build them.
Understanding the Main Components of a Batten Door
There are three parts to this braced and ledged batten-style doors. The battens or vertical boards get used for the door panels, and there are three horizontal ledges or rails with two braces or diagonal pieces. It’s common to use tongue-and-groove boards that are 9/16-inches by 6-inches by 8-feet in pine for the battens. You can get them from most lumber supply stores, and they come in bundles of four. The door opening, once you finish and trim it, wil measure 40 ¾-inches by 68-inches. The plan is to finish with two 20 ¼-inch by 68-inch door panels. The extra ¼-inch will allow the panels to expand a bit.
Each door you build will get held together using three 2×4 ledges or rails and two 2×4 braces or diagonals. This is why they’re known as a braced and ledged batten door. If the roof has an overhang on your shed, make sure it doesn’t interfere with the doors closing or opening.
Step One – Measure the Door Opening
To start, break out your measuring tools and measure the size of your shed door frame once you frame and trim the opening.
Step Two – Choose and Purchase Your Materials
The width of your door opening will help to determine how much wood you’ll need to build your double shed doors. If each door panel measures 20 ¼-inches wide, you’ll want a plank that is 5 ¼-inches wide, and you’ll need four per door. You may want to buy an additional bundle so you can pick out the best boards possible. They should be very straight and have as few knots as possible.
Step Three – Prepare Door Boards
Cut the planks to your desired length. For each door, we cut four tongue and groove boards to 68-inches long. Then, you’ll rip off the tongue from one plank and the groove from another plank using a table saw. Remove the groove off of one board and the tongue off of another.
Step Four – Dry Fit and Glue the Doors
Lay your cut boards on your workbench or on a pair of sawhorses, and make sure the outside face is down. To minimize warping or cupping, try to mix the planks so the curvature and end grains alternate in and out. The brace and ledge boards will prevent cupping, but by alternating them, you reduce the risk further. You will want to do this, ideally, before you trim the tongue and groove sections in the step above. Once you have them like you want them, dry fit the boards to make sure your tongue and groove planks fit nicely.
Apply a light bead of glue on the side of the groove on the first board. Some people don’t like gluing this type of board because they claim that it restricts the board from contracting or expanding. However, by applying the binder to one side of your groove, you leave the board free to expand and contract as it needs. Also, expansion or shrinkage doesn’t happen at the edge, and it happens across the board instead.
The best way you can limit movement inside of the wood is to seal it using urethane, stain, or paint on all six faces of the plank to help control moisture. If you want to screw or nail the ledges, this restricts the movement even more. The glue seals the joint while securing the edges together. Even after multiple years of exposure to strong winds, snow, and sleet, your double shed doors will be clear or cracks or splits, flat, and clear.
Repeat this process for all of the boards and join them into the grooves to help spread the glue evenly. Wipe off any excess glue that squeezes out and align all of the ends so they’re flush. Make sure your first and last boards are square at the edges. You can use a large carpenter’s square or a sheet of plywood with true corners and edges for this part. Clamp the boards while being careful to not overtighten them. You want enough pressure to close the joints, and recheck to ensure that the outer edges are still square when you finish.
Clean off any excess glue that you can see squeezed out of the joints. Next, cut three horizontal ledges or rails that are 18-inches long using 2×4 boards for each door panel. You may want to bevel cut yours at one end, and make sure you keep the hinge end square.
Making sure all of your boards fit nicely will get you a solid door that doesn’t warp or have any gaps.
Step Five – Cut and Attach the Rails or Ledges
Using 120-grit sandpaper, sand your pieces using a random orbital sander. Make the location where you’ll put the top rails on the batten panels. It should be roughly seven inches from the top and an inch from the sides. Apply a layer of construction adhesive to the back of the top ledge or raile and attach the rail to your boards using two-inch decking screws.
Ideally, you’ll run all of your screws in from the back through the 2×4 ledges and into your door battens. Doing so will ensure that the outside face of your double shed doors look better, and you’ll have fewer problems with the screw heads being visible when you paint or stain it. However, the downside of doing this is that you’ll have to attach thicker 2x4s to the thinner 1×6 boards.
Mark the location for the middle rails or ledges roughly 22-inches from the bottom of your door’s top ledge and one-inch from the door sides. Apply a layer of construction adhesive to the back of your 2x4s and attach them to the door battens using two-inch deck screws. Next, mark the location of the bottom batten roughly seven-inches up from the bottom of your door and an inch from the double shed door sides using two-inch decking screws. When you have the ledges screwed to the door battens, you can remove the clamps. Cut two 2×4 pieces for each door panel, and they’ll fit diagonally between the ledges for the braces.
To finish this step, apply a layer of construction adhesive to the back of the first 2×4, fit it from the bottom to the center, and then attach it to the board using two-inch deck screws.
Step Six – Trim Off One End
Ideally, you’ll build your doors to the dimensions of your passage opening, and this means that you should have no gaps and the doors should stick. Draw a line between ⅛-inch and ¼-inch across the bottom or top, but not both. This will allow for a gap to open or close your double shed doors. Cut along the line using a circular saw and a guide to keep it straight. Stand the doors using 120-grit sandpaper and a random orbital sander.
Step Seven – Priming and Painting
To finish, apply a good exterior wood primer to every surface of your double shed doors. Remember to cover the bottom and tops of your doors too. Use an exterior latex paint to cover all of the surfaces, including both panels on the bottoms and tops. It’s better to use gloss or semi-gloss paint, and a sponge roller or brush.
How to Choose Hardware for Shed Doors
There are dozens of hinge types available today that are made out of different finishes, metals, and styles, and you can even find wooden ones. However, they all work to secure the door to the frame so they can pivot close or open.
The thickness, width, height, and weight of your double shed doors are factors to consider when you’re picking out the hinges. Doors that are less than 60-inches usually have two hinges, and you put one for every 20-inches of height over this. Hinges come in different door thicknesses, and you should pick out one that is rated for the door dimension. The weight can override height on the number of hinges. Use two hinges for any panels up to 20 pounds, three for 40 pounds, and four for 60 pounds. If the doors are heavier, continue the pattern and add a hinge for every 20 pounds.
T-hinge or strap hardware is a popular choice for double shed doors. It mounts on the outside of your door since the doors don’t have the correct frame for a butt hinge. The t-hinge comes rated for medium, light, or heavy doors. An eight-inch spring-loaded T-hinge is a great choice for this project, and you can adjust the spring to help close the door so it doesn’t swing open in the wind.
The hinges you pick out should be sturdy and able to easily support the weight of your double shed doors to make opening and closing them easy.
How to Secure Double Shed Doors
Your hinges should be five-inches or more from the bottom and top of your double shed doors. You can center them on the ledges, so they’ll be roughly 8 ½-inches from the top and bottom. You want to leave ¼-inch to ⅜-inch gap for seasonal expansion between the door and the frame. For more security, you can replace two of the supplied screws with a carriage bolt.
Clamp your door panel into place and mark the location while making sure your hinges are level and leaving room for the gap. Clamp the top and bottom plates and drill the holes for your carriage bolts, one per hanger, and install the bolt and screws. You might want to drill a smaller guide hole for the screws to prevent it from splitting. It works well to lay the doors on portable saw horses for this part. Finger-tighten your carriage bolt until the screws are in place before flipping your door over and tightening it using a wrench. The doro is now ready to hang as soon as you get your two hinges in place.
Drill the hole for the carriage bolt into your door frame. This screw will go through the stud framing, so you’ll need to ensure the bolt is the correct length. Secure your hinge to the frame using the carriage bolt. If the bolt is too long, you can cut it off or use it to hang something on. Repeat this process for your second door. Remember to cut out the bottom plate once you get both doors hung.
Finally, attach a gate latch to keep your doors closed and secure. It should be level with the top hinges, and you want the screws to bite into the 2×4 ledge. Two ring bolts attach to the middle ledge board to allow you to lock the doors while acting like pull knobs to open them.
The Biggest Benefits of Double Shed Doors
Double shed doors come with a range of benefits for your shed, and they include but are not limited to:
- Easy Access – This is the biggest benefit as double shed doors allow you to have a big opening in a small building. In turn, this makes it easier to access your shed’s content, like your garden tools, lawn mower, or kid’s toys.
- Economy – Double doors are much cheaper to build than it is to buy a roll-up shed door, and this is great for strict budgets. Roll-up doors are nice for wide openings, but their complexity makes them more expensive.
- Flexibility – Most of the time, you’ll only use the primary door. But, having the option to open both doors when you need to move a big item or to allow fresh air in is a big bonus.
- Improve Ventilation – If you use your shed like a small workshop, you can open both doors for fresh air and to allow more sunlight in.
- Increased Space – Double shed doors can make the shed seem bigger when you have both doors open, since you can have more than one person inside at a time without feeling like you’re cramped.
Building and installing double shed doors in the batten style for your shed is like putting the finishing touches on. It looks great and finishes your design. Hopefully, you can follow this tutorial and learn how to make your own sturdy double shed doors.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.