Dress Up the Mess--Sliding Doors to Laundry Room

Wouldn't it be a dream come true to walk in your front door and the first thing you see is this?
Who doesn't love poor lighting, and hollow core doors that don't match the trim paint? Oh and did I mention that's the laundry room? I've been on a "let's-take-all-the-doors-off-because-they're-ugly" kind of mood for a while, but considering our laundry room is atrocious.umm, I'd rather you just see a ugly discolored hollow core door. That's saying a lot.
(Speaking of taking off doors, check out how pretty things can become when you remove unnecessary doors in my foyer closet redo post.)
Believe it or not, it actually looked worse at one time
I know, right? Let's just not talk about that
Since we started the journey into being broke homeownership, I've always wanted a large laundry room. (Dangit, if I've got to wash dirty undergarments and sweaty work jeans in there, at least let me have a nice space to do it in!) Our last house only had a laundry closet, but this oneoh this one had a REAL room-an actual ROOM designated for washing our greasy, sweaty, dusty, grass stained, patched-all-over clothes! I'm telling you, the things I get excited about as an adult..
So back to the door. This terrible, ugly, annoying door NEVER stays where you put it. It always closeswhich I guess could be a good thing considering the room it hides is not exactly presentable (yet). And it also takes up a ton of space in this room because it opens INTO it.
So random question time: why do all these doors have to open INTO rooms? I mean, I guess it's like some kind of "code" that they are required to open a certain way? Probably. But I swear, whoever wrote these codes clearly place no value on square footageor convenience. Or maybe I'm the crazy one.I mean I obviously don't get paid to make the rules..
I said all that to say: this door had to go. I needed that space in my laundry room more than it did. But I also needed this ugliness covered up-at least until I get the time to redo it (hopefully this fall).
Perfect solution: sliding french doors!
I could totally DIY that. So I did. (Don't be fooledit was harder than I thought.) There are TONS of tutorials out there on this, so I'll just give you a quick run down of what we did. I built the doors myself for around $60 ($20 lumber, $40 glass panes) and he hardware probably cost around $40.
I made the doors from 14 and 16 spruce (cheap wood). I made them 2 taller than the opening of the door and I made them each 20 wide (the opening of the door plus the width of the door trim was about 40.) I made the front frame first and stained them. The sides are 14 and the top, middle, and bottom are 1x6s.
I bought two long narrow glass panes from a local glass shop and spray painted them with "frost" spray paint, and routed out the back of the door frame so they would fit snug. I never take all the pictures I plan to.sorry no picture of that.
Once the glass panels were fit into the routed part of the door, I cut 1x4s (the same length as the sides for the front) for the back of the door. (The doors are basically 1xs glued together.) I stained the boards first, then glued them onto the back of the first frame so that the glass was "sandwiched" between the boards. See the picture here?
I cut a 16 and stained it and glued it to the top of the back side, but for the middle and bottom sections, I did 1x4s, so I could glue 1x4s vertically on the bottom. You can see this in the pic above. Once everything was glued and dry, I brought them inside and waited three weeks before hanging themno seriously.
I waited a while because I wasn't sure what to do about our doorbell. It was right in the way, stuck out 2 1/2 from the wall, and Danny wasn't going to move it without a fight. Soooooo, I waited because I didn't know what I was doing (I do this a lot.)
Finally I got tired of looking at it, and just did it haha (I do this a lot, too.) I measured out how long I needed my rail to be (width of door opening plus at least 20 on both sides so the doors can slide over their entire width). I went with 7. And I measured how far my door needed to be from the wall so it wouldn't hit the doorbell.
I cut a 14 seven foot long and got 1/8 x 2 flat steel bar 7 long (I actually got two pieces of 3 1/2 scrap from workit all works out the same). I got 4 garage door pulleys (2 each door) from Lowes for $5 each, a flat 1/8 x 1 1/2 x 36 steel bar, eight 1screws, lock washers for those screws, four 3/8 x 6 lag screws, 3/8 washers (I got 8, you may want more), and four galvanized 2 1/2 nipples for spacers. Hang with me.I know it's getting hairy.
I found my wall studs and figured out where these would hit on my 7 steel bar (remember I used two 3 1/2 pieces, but it's all the same) and drilled holes for the 3/8 lag bolts to go through. These are what will mount the bar to the wall.
Once the holes are drilled, I spray painted the bolts and bar black.
While those were drying, I predrilled holes in the 7 14 I cut earlier where the studs would be and I predrilled holes in he studs themselves. We were using LONG lag bolts so our door will hang out far enough to miss the door bell, so we wanted the bolts to go into the studs pretty far. Predrilling helps prevent the studs from cracking from such a large bolt.
Then I put the bar together like this: first put the 14 down on a work surface, then a 3/8 washer, spacer (which looks like this)
Another washer, flat bar, washer, lock washer, 3/8 lag bolt. I had the lag bolts in four places across the board (where studs were) and I tightened them down into the 14 with a ratchet so everything would stay in place while I transported it. Then I took it inside, lined it up, and screwed them into the wall.
You can see I added several washers before the flat bar to make sure it was out far enough to miss the doorbell. I actually would have been fine without those, but hindsight is 20/20. Maybe some day I will take them out and fix it, but not today because it's like a bazillion degrees out and if I sweat any more I'll become a raisin. TMI I'm sure. Moving on.
Then, I cut my 3 flat bar into four 9 pieces and drilled holes in them to attach to the door and the pulley. (Helpful hint: wear safety glasses wen cutting metal. I got a piece in my eye and it wasn't fun.) I drilled the pulley holes first then measured how far up to drill the holes for the door. Make sure you attach the bar to the door so that it's off the floor when you hang it. I spray painted those bars, the pulleys, and the bolts, attached them and hung the doors
And there they are sliding doors!! Don't you love them?! I still have to add stops on each side so the doors don't slide off the end or run into things.
Whew that was a long post. I apologize for the lack of pictures. This was honestly a trial and error process most of the time and I didn't think to take pictures of everything I should have in the mess of it all.
Another Helpful hint: make sure you measure twice and drill once :) or you may end up with crooked doors that meet at the middle in the bottom but not at the top.
I'd never make such an amateur mistake.
I totally made that mistake.
I will fix it and no one will knowso let's just forget that ever happened.okay? Okay.
Your turn!! Happy DIYing! You will be seeing these doors again when I show you our laundry room remodel coming soon!! Keep your eyes peeled!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  • Pat
    Pat
    on Nov 14, 2017

    P.S. Before I read I was thinking about what to do with the louvered doors in front of my washer and dryer which also "share" a half-bath space...now I am really pondering....
  • Barbara
    Barbara
    on Dec 3, 2017

    a friend of mine just did this at the end of his family room. Shelves then TV then shelves. Both doors cover the TV when needed then the shelves on each side when watching it. They too are beautiful as these. Wish I were as talented as either of you
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