How To Build Sliding Garage Doors

How To Build Sliding Garage Doors

Have you ever envied those luxury modern homes with sleek, space-saving sliding garage doors? Well, guess what – you can build your own sliding garage door for your home garage with a bit of DIY spirit and some basic tools and materials!

In this handy guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to build your own sliding garage door, from planning and prep to installation. You’ll learn about different types of garage door materials, how to construct the frame, attach panels, and install the hardware. We’ll also cover maintenance and troubleshooting so your new sliding door stays in tip-top shape.

So rev up those power tools and let’s get building! Adding a sliding garage door is an achievable DIY project that can completely transform the look and feel of your garage.

Picking The Right Sliding Garage Door Material

The first step is choosing what you want your sliding garage door to be made of. There are several options, each with their own pros and cons:

Wood Sliding Garage Doors

Wood is the classic choice for sliding barn-style garage doors. It has a timeless, rustic appeal. Cedar and pine are common woods used. The benefits of wood doors are that they offer more customization in terms of patterns, textures, and staining. Wood is also a natural insulator.

The downsides are that wood requires more regular maintenance, sealing, and can be prone to warping if not properly treated. It’s also more expensive than other options.

Steel Sliding Garage Doors

Steel is the most popular option for modern sliding garage doors. It’s affordable, durable, and low-maintenance. You can choose galvanized or stainless steel. Steel comes in various thickness gauges – the lower the gauge number, the thicker and more insulated the steel.

Steel doors are great for security and weatherproofing. The cons are they tend to show dents and scratches more, and thinner gauges can be noisy. Insulation must be added separately.

Aluminum Sliding Garage Doors

For a contemporary vibe, aluminum sliding garage doors are sleek and lightweight. Aluminum is highly resistant to rust and corrosion. It’s more expensive than steel but requires less maintenance than wood. Aluminum can also be painted or coated for various custom looks.

Downsides are aluminum is prone to dents and noise. It’s also not as insulated as wood or insulated steel. Overall, aluminum is best for milder climates.

Custom/Specialty Sliding Garage Doors

Beyond the main three materials, you can get creative with specialty sliding garage doors. Options include:

  • Glass or frosted glass panels
  • Faux-wood grain textured steel
  • Mirrored doors for an ultra modern look
  • Insulated polyurethane foam-filled doors
  • Composite blend doors for strength and insulation

Building a Wood Sliding Garage Door

If you want that classic wood look, building your own wooden sliding garage door is a straightforward DIY project. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Plan and Measure

Measure the width and height of your garage opening and consider how much clearance you need. Standard garage door heights are 7′, 8′ or 9′. For width, common sizes are 8′, 9’, 10′, 12′, 16′ and 18′ wide.

Factor at least 5-6 inches of extra width and height for your frame dimensions. Decide on a wood type like pine or cedar and purchase boards.

Gather Materials

You’ll need 1×8, 1×10, or 1×12 boards depending on door size. Get 3/4″ 4×8 plywood for interior bracing. Other supplies include wood glue, galvanized screws and finish nails, rollers/brackets, tracks, wood sealant and exterior wood stain.

Construct the Frame

Cut the boards for the top, bottom and sides to your measurements. Assemble into a rectangle using wood glue and screws. Use plywood cut to size to brace the inside of the frame. This prevents sagging or bowing over time.

Attach the Boards

Cut your 1×10 boards to the width you need to cover the door space. Use tongue and groove boards for easy fitting. Lock boards into the frame grooves and secure with glue and finish nails. Use scrap wood spacers between boards.

Add Trim and Seals

Cut 1×4 boards for vertical side trim and top/bottom trim. Attach with finish nails. Install weatherstripping seals to the edges and top. Apply silicone caulk around all exterior edges.

Finish the Wood

Finish by coating all wood surfaces with exterior wood sealant. Let dry completely. Then apply two coats of exterior wood stain in your desired shade. Add decorative handles or pulls if desired.

Constructing a Steel Sliding Garage Door

Steel sliding garage doors involve a bit more work than wood, but provide excellent durability and security. Here are the steps:

Plan the Size

Measure your garage opening. Standard steel garage door heights are 7′, 8′ or 9′. Widths range from 8′ up to 18′. Factor the frame dimension to be 5-6 inches wider and taller.

Purchase Steel and Hardware

For an 8×7 door, you’ll need five 24-gauge or thicker steel panels. Other supplies include L-brackets, angle iron, bolts, rollers, tracks, weatherstripping and exterior screws.

Build the Frame

Construct a sturdy steel frame from L-brackets and angle iron bolted together to fit your opening size. Weld joints for added strength if possible.

Install Steel Panels

Measure and cut steel panels to size. Drill holes to mount rollers to the tops of panels. Attach panels to frame using exterior screws evenly spaced.

Add Trim and Seals

Cut C-channel trim pieces to fit and screw into place around the panels. Install weatherstripping seals along the edges. Add silicone caulk around exterior edges.

Paint and Finish

Clean and degrease panels. Apply two coats of exterior rust-resistant spray paint. Let dry completely before installing the door.

Putting Together an Aluminum Sliding Garage Door

For a lightweight and corrosion-resistant sliding garage door, aluminum is the way to go:

Calculate Size

Measure your garage opening width and height. For the frame, add 5-6 inches to width and height. An 8×7 aluminum door will need around five aluminum panels.

Get Supplies

You’ll need approx. five 24-gauge aluminum panels, L-brackets, tracks, rollers, angle trim, exterior screws and silicone caulk.

Construct Frame

Build a rectangular frame from L-brackets and angle iron to fit your opening. Bolt together and reinforce the joints.

Install Panels

Measure, cut and drill roller holes in the aluminum panels. Attach to frame using exterior screws evenly spaced.

Add Trim and Seals

Cut aluminum angle trim to fit and install around panels. Add weatherstripping seals to edges. Caulk exterior with silicone.

Finish the Aluminum

Use isopropyl alcohol to clean and degrease panels. Apply two coats of exterior aluminum paint if desired. Let dry before mounting door.

Mounting Your Sliding Garage Door Hardware

Once construction is complete, it’s time to install the hardware that allows your door to slide.

Mount Tracks

Mount a continuous track to the top and another to the bottom if needed. For the top, use lag bolts into ceiling joists. Level and align tracks.

Install Rollers

Attach heavy-duty roller brackets evenly spaced along the top of the door. Insert galvanized steel rollers into the brackets.

Add Pulleys/Handles

Bolt pulleys or handles evenly across the door’s bottom edge. This allows you to pull it open from the inside and outside.

Consider an Opener

For convenience, you can add an automatic garage door opener. Belt drive openers are ideal for quiet and smooth sliding operation.

Maintaining and Troubleshooting Your Sliding Door

Like any garage door, your DIY sliding door will need periodic maintenance and upkeep for optimal performance:

Monthly Inspections

Check for damage, dents or corrosion. Tighten any loose bolts or hardware. Lubricate rollers and pulleys with light oil.

Seasonal Maintenance

Seal gaps and repaint as needed to prevent rust or deterioration. For wood doors, apply fresh sealant every 1-2 years.


If your door sticks or drags, clean tracks and realign if bent. binding rollers should be replaced. For wood doors, inspect for warping and re-seal.

Safety First

Ensure safety sensors are working if you have an automatic opener installed. Test the auto-reverse feature monthly. Replace damaged cables immediately.

Building your own sliding garage door is a manageable project for a motivated DIYer. With the right planning and materials, you can create a custom sliding door tailored to your garage space. Just take it slow and be diligent with safety. Soon you’ll be able to sit back and admire your handcrafted, super slick sliding garage door!