Sliding doors make it easy to access everything inside a closet, don't take up much space, and allow you to hang mirrors, hooks, and other implements. It all sounds great...until you have to frame and install them. A whole bunch of factors can impact how well your doors fit. So how do you calculate your framing dimensions to get perfectly hung sliding doors that function smoothly? Well, that all depends on your space.
The measurements you take are always essential in any construction or DIY project, but you have to be extra careful when it comes to sliding closet doos. First, you have to think about the width of the closet door and the width of the mounting track you're going to use. You can’t forget to calculate for the carpeting, which also affects the measurement. Thick carpeting will be a little poofier after it's vacuumed, which can also throw off your measurements. Make sure also that you're measuring the right way. There is a right way and several wrong ways to measure.
To measure properly for sliding bypass closet doors, start with the vertical height. Measure on both sides, because you may find that the area isn't very level or perfectly square. Measure horizontally across the top, across the bottom and across the middle as well. You don't want to get doors that match these exact measurements, because you need allowances for the track and you need a little extra room for overlap between the two sliding doors.
The two closet doors should be the same width when they’re closed, so keep that in mind. Focus on what you’re doing and make sure there are no distractions. Writing down just one number wrong can sink your entire project. Record your measurements precisely and don't round up or down.
So, you've taken your measurements. Now that you know how big the closet opening is, you've got to determine the size of your framing. Take your time and triple-check all of your numbers before you start buying materials and putting in closet door tracks, so you don't end up with doors that don't fit and don't function.
To get the right measurements for your doors, subtract two inches from the width of your measurements. That's how wide your doors need to be, side by side, when they're closed. Subtract two and a half inches from the height to get the measurement for the vertical size of your doors. For example, if your closet opening is 32 inches wide, you need doors that are 30 inches wide when they’re closed side-by-side. If the height of your doors is 80 inches, which is pretty standard, you must frame it at 82 and a half inches wide. If your framing is off by even 1/16 of an inch, your doors won't slide smoothly or sit well in the opening.
Once your framing is installed, place the doors and test them multiple ways to ensure that they can be set inside the closet opening, with a little extra room on all sides. You should be able to see daylight, so to speak, at the top, at the bottom and on both sides of the closet doors. Test the doors again once you have your closet tracks in place. Both closet doors should slide freely along the entire length of the tracks. The movement should be effortless. If you’ve taken time with your measurements, then your closet doors should be smooth, easy to use and nice-looking, too.
Framing Your Doors
With careful measuring and just a little bit of math, you can figure out the exact framing dimensions you need to hang sliding closet doors. Once you know the process, you can repeat it, again and again, to outfit all of your closets with sliding doors that function perfectly and save you tons of space.