I’m often asked how to build double shed doors. It’s easier than you think, and the design has been used for thousands of years. Ready-made planks, screws, nails, and steel hinges, however, make it easier than wooden pegs, twine, and leather hinges.
Whether at the design or finishing stage, a door is an important consideration. It provides access, security, and an aesthetic touch. You need to determine what size of door you need, and what has to fit through it. Does it need to fit your width, a lawn tractor, or something larger?
You could buy a door, but the look of a door you’ve crafted on a shed you’ve built is a statement of pride and craftsmanship for all to see. I like batten doors. They can be trimmed to fit any opening, are easy to build, provide security, and they look great. In this article, I’ll explain how to build double batten shed doors, with lots of pictures too! If you only need one door, then adjust the plan and make only one.
- Types of Shed Doors
- Popular Materials for Shed Doors
- Several Configurations Before You Start
- How to Build Double Shed Doors – Step by Step Instructions
- How to Frame a Shed Door Opening
- How to Choose Hardware for Shed Doors
- How to Hang Double Doors
Types of Shed Doors
There are hundreds of doors available on the market today, and many plans for doors you can build. Here are several types more common on sheds.
There are 3 types of batten doors made with vertical planks.
(1) Three horizontal planks or ledges hold the planks together and provide backing to hinges.
(2) Adding a diagonal brace between the ledges from the outer top to inner bottom helps prevent door sag.
(3) To further strengthen the door, add a second vertical plank to frame the inside front and back edge of the door.
A Dutch door is one that has been cut horizontally in half (or slightly larger on the bottom than top). The bottom portion can be left closed to prevent movement in or out while the top is open to provide light and airflow.
Hinged Swinging Door
A hinged door may swing into or out from a structure, so it requires space to swing. The number of hinges on a door depends on the weight and size of the door.
- Easier to install
- Give up less wall space
- Hardware costs less
- Close more tightly (cold climate)
- More secure
- Must be fitted to the frame
- Requires swing space
Sliding Shed Doors
Sliding shed doors are like sliding barn doors. Rollers are attached at the top that fit into a rail secured to the shed. They are opened by pushing them to the left or right of the doorway (sometimes both directions).
- Easy to build and install
- Easy to operate
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Harder to lock
- Trickier to seal
- Loose wall space
Roll-Up Shed Doors
Roll-up doors are similar to what rental storage units have. They have two side guide rails and roll up into a canister or spool at the top. You can make your own, or purchase one ready-made.
- Require no space to swing or slide
- High security
- Convenient in use
- Heavy to install
- Pre-set sizes
- Looks manufactured
Glass or French Doors
Installing sliding glass doors or swing French doors are another option, especially if the shed needs more light or will be used as a backyard office or she-cave.
Popular Materials for Shed Doors
Different materials can be used to make shed doors. The dimensions of the project may also influence the materials used. My preference is T&G pine planks, but I’ve used other products too.
Tongue and Groove Wood Boards
Tongue and groove planks have a groove cut into one edge and a tongue cut out on the other edge. The tongue of one board is pushed into the groove of the plank next to it. The T&G help secure the pieces together, reduce warping, and prevent gaps due to shrinkage. You can make T&G boards, or purchase them pre-made.
- Easy to use
- Looks good
- T&G reduce gaps
- Stain, paint or varnish it
- Expensive in some areas
- Must be sealed on all surfaces
- May warp
Price Range: 1”x6” pine is $1 – $1.50 (US) per linear foot
T1-11 is made of thin layers of wood veneer (plywood) or strands (OSB) that are glued, heated and pressed together before being trimmed to size. The exterior grade 4’x8’ sheets have grooves cut every 8”, so they look like shiplap or T&G.
- Inexpensive batten look
- Paint or stain
- No gaps between boards
- Weathers better than planking
- Can flake, split or rot
- Requires maintenance
- Can warp
Price Range: ½”x4’x8’ sheet is $30.00 – $40.00 (US)
Engineered Wood Siding (LP SmartSide Panels)
SmartSide is an example of engineered wood. The 3/8”x4’x8’ panels look like T1-11 OSB. The strands are infused with zinc borate before being coated with a marine wax and resin glue mix, and then pressed and heated together. The sheets are given a protective tan colored resin-saturated overlay.
- Critter, bug, moisture, and rot resistant
- Environmentally friendly construction
- Pre-primed, so paint any color
- 50-year warranty
- All cuts need to be sealed
- Requires periodic painting
- May warp
- Dulls saw blades and drill bits
Price Range: 3/8”x4’x8’ panel is $30.00 – $40.00 (US)
Thin layers of wood veneer glued, heated, and pressed together and cut into 4’x8’ sheets of different thicknesses. The panels are then grooved by a router to look like battens. It is not classed as an exterior grade but can be used outdoors. Available in ‘U,’ channel, and reverse board and batten grooved sheets.
- Opposing layers of grain make it very strong
- Won’t shrink or warp
- Can be painted or stained
- Multiple thicknesses available
- Susceptible to water damage, rot, and layer separation
- Needs to be painted and maintained
- Porcupines and squirrels like to chew on it
Price Range: 4’x8’ panel is $30 – $60 depending on thickness and veneer
Several Configurations Before You Start
Some sheds are still used for the purpose they were originally built. Others have gone through transitions from storage to garden, to a playroom, or an office or craft room. Most sheds will last for decades if maintained.
- Decide on the width and height of the door
The door dimensions are usually based on what the shed will be used for, and should be determined before building. A standard 36” x 80” door is easier to carry boxes through than a 32” wide door; however, a lawn tractor fits through a 48” door better. The door height may influence, or be influenced, by the height of the wall into which it fits.Plan for today, but build for tomorrow. Put a 6’ or 8’ header in if you can. You can still frame for a 3 or 4-foot door today, but later, on a wider door configuration may be more useful.
- Decide whether you need a single or double door
Based on the dimensions needed for the use you have planned for your shed; decide if you want a single or a double door. A 36” door is best for human movement, 48” or wider for lawn tractors and trailers.Double doors offer a versatility many don’t consider. They can both be the same width, or you can play with the dimensions. If you only need a 48” wide door occasionally, split the opening to be 36”-12”. The same can be done for a 60” opening, so you have the 36” passage, and a 24” fixed with a top and bottom bolt until the wider is needed.
- Choose between a hinged swinging door and a sliding door. Once the door size is determined, decide if you want a hinged or sliding door arrangement. Two doors can be hinged to swing from opposite sides of the door frame, or bi-fold hinged to swing from only one. Sliding doors need space to slide open and may require planning at the design stage. Large sliding doors sometimes have a passage door built into them too.
- Decide if you want door blend in with the shed or to stand out.
The last consideration is aesthetics. Will the door blend with the shed siding, or will it be a bold statement. It’s an individual decision, but an important one.
How to Build Double Shed Doors – Step by Step Instructions
There are different ways to construct batten doors. Batten doors are easy to build, adjustable in size, and look great. I’ll show you how I build them with step-by-step instructions, including helpful pictures.
Over the past few years, I’ve built 3 sheds with double swinging batten doors:
My first was a small Gable shed.
The second shed I built was a larger Slanted Roof Shed.
Like many of you, I needed more space and added a lean-to shed on the end of my second shed. I used the batten process to make a double swing shed door for it too.
Main Components of a Batten Door
There are three parts to my ledged and braced batten doors. The vertical boards or battens for the door panels, three horizontal rails or ledges, and two diagonal pieces or braces.
Shed Door Design
My preference is tongue-and-groove 9/16” x 6” x 8’ (real size – 9/16 x 5-¼) pine boards for the battens. They’re available from most lumber supply stores. I buy them in bundles of 4 boards.
The door opening, after it’s been finished and trimmed, is 40-¾” x 68”. The plan is to make two 20-¼” x 68” door panels. The extra ¼” will allow for expansion between the panels.
Each door is held together by three 2×4 rails or ledges, and two 2×4 diagonals or braces. That is why they are called ledged and braced batten doors. If the roof has an overhang, make sure it doesn’t interfere with the doors opening or closing.
Measure the Door Opening
After the door opening has been framed and trimmed, measure the size of your shed door frame.
Choose and Purchase Materials
The width of the door opening helps determine the amount of wood required for the doors. If each door panel is 20-¼” wide, and my preferred pine plank is 5-¼” wide, I’ll need 4 planks. I bought 1 package extra so I could choose better boards. Select good boards – choose straight boards with fewer knots.
Prepare Door Boards
Cut the planks to the length needed. For each door, I cut 4 T&G boards to 68” long. I then ripped off the tongue from one plank, and the groove from another using a table saw.
Remove the tongue on one plank.
Rip the groove off another board.
Dry Fit and Glue the Doors
Lay the boards on a workbench or a pair of sawhorses with the outside face down.
To minimize cupping and warping, try to mix the planks, so the end grain curvature alternates in and out. The ledge and brace boards will prevent cupping, but alternating further reduces the risk. You may want to do this before trimming the tongue and groove in the step above. I wasn’t able to this in my last door, which is why I bought extra planks.
Here’s another example:
The end grain close up shows the alternating pattern to minimize cupping as the wood ages and weathers.
Dry fit the door boards to make sure that all tongue and groove joints fit.
Apply a light bead of wood glue on one side of the groove of the first board.
Some people are against gluing T&G boards saying it restricts the board from expanding and contracting. By applying the binder to one side of the groove, the board is free to expand or contract. Additionally, shrinkage or expansion doesn’t occur only at the edge; it is across the board.
The best way to limit the movement within the wood is to seal (paint, stain, and urethane) all 6 faces of the plank to control moisture. If you’re nailing it or screwing it to the ledges, the movement is restricted even more. The glue is sealing the joint, as well as securing the edges together. After 4 years on rain, snow, strong winds, my batten doors are still strong, clear of splits or cracks, and flat.
Repeat for all boards and join them into the grooves to help spread the glue some. Wipe off any that squeezes out. Align all ends flush.
Make sure first, and last boards are square at the edges. I use a large carpenter’s square or a sheet of plywood with true corners and edges.
Clamp the boards together but do not overtighten. You want enough pressure to close the joints completely, but no more. Recheck to make sure the outer edges are still square.
Clean off any excess glue that has squeezed out of the joints.
Cut 3 horizontal rails or ledges 18” long from 2×4 boards for each door panel. I bevel cut mine at one end. The hinge end remains square.
Cut and Attach the Rails or Ledges
Sand the pieces with 120 grit sandpaper. I use a random orbital sander.
Mark the location of the top rails on the batten panels. Mine is 7” from the top and 1” from door sides.
Apply construction adhesive to the back of the top rail or ledge.
Attach the rail to the boards with 2” decking screws.
I decided to build this door slightly different from the others I made for my other sheds. I choose to run all screws in from the back through the 2×4 ledges into the door battens. This way the outside face of the door would look better, and I’d have less issue with screw heads being visible when I paint the door. The downside is I’ll be attaching thicker 2x4s to thinner 1×6 boards while knowing it is better to attach thin boards to thicker.
Mark the location of middle ledges down 22” from the bottom of the top ledge, and 1” from door sides. Apply construction adhesive to the back of the 2×4 pieces, and attach to the door battens with 2” decking screws.
Mark the location of bottom batten 7” up from the bottom of the door, and 1” from door sides. Apply construction adhesive to the back of the 2x4s, and attach to the door panes with 2” decking screws.
With the ledges screwed to the door battens, remove the clamps.
Cut two 2×4 pieces for each door panel to fit diagonally between the ledges for the braces.
Apply construction adhesive to the back of the first, fit it from the bottom to the center, and attach to the board with 2” deck screws
Apply construction adhesive to the back of the second, fit from the center to the bottom, and attach to the board with screws too.
Trim Off One End
I built my doors to the dimensions of the passage opening, which meant there was no gap and the doors would stick. Draw a line ⅛ – ¼” across the top or the bottom, not both. That will allow a gap for opening and closing.
I cut with a circular saw using a guide to keep it straight.
Sand the doors with 120 grit sandpaper. I use a random orbital sander.
Priming and Painting
Apply a good exterior wood primer to all surfaces. Remember the top and bottom of the doors too.
Use an exterior latex paint of good quality to cover all surfaces, including the top and bottoms of both panels. It’s better to use semi-gloss or gloss paint. I use a brush and a sponge roller.
How to Frame a Shed Door Opening
A door may seem like just a hole in the wall, but it is a reinforced hole. It requires additional support to carry and spread the weight of the wall and roof above and to maintain the structural integrity of the wall itself.
King Studs: Frame the opening at each side and go from the bottom plate to the top plate.
Jack Studs: Studs shortened to the height of the door opening plus 2-inches (usually). They support the header.
Header: Carries the weight of the building above the door opening. Dimensions depend on the size of the opening. Often two 2×4 or 2×6 on edge with spacer shims or ½” plywood sandwiched between.
Cripple Studs: Short studs that fit between the top of the header and the bottom of the top plate. They are usually placed to continue the 16” or 24” center pattern of framing studs, with one directly above each Jack stud.
My header is two 2x4s with a ½” OSB strip sandwiched between to match the 3-½” thickness of the studs.
I framed my door opening with the King Stud sandwiched between a stud and the Jack Stud. I also didn’t have space for any Cripple Studs above the header.
How to Choose Hardware for Shed Doors
There are dozens of types of hinges available today made of different metals, finishes, and styles; some are even made of wood. However, they all secure a door to a frame so it can pivot and open or close.
The height, width, thickness, and weight of a door are factors to consider when selecting hinges. Doors less than 60-inches usually have two hinges; add one for every 20-inches of height above that. Hinges are available for different door thicknesses; pick one that is rated for the door dimension. Weight can over-ride height on the number of hinges. Use two hinges for panels up to 20-pounds, three up to 40-pounds, and four up to 60-pounds. Extend the pattern if the door is heavier.
For my door I used Strap or T-Hinge hardware. It mounts to the outside of the door since it doesn’t have a proper frame for a Butt Hinge. The T-Hinge is rated for light, medium and heavy doors, so pick the one best for your project.
I used 8-inch spring loaded T-Hinges. The spring can be adjusted to help close the door, so it doesn’t swing in the wind.
How to Hang Double Doors
Hinges should be 5” or more from the top and bottom of the door. Mine are centered on the ledges, so about 8-½” from the top and bottom. Leave a 1/4″ to 3/8” gap for seasonal expansion between the frame and the door.
For added security, I replaced two of the supplied screws with a carriage bolt on each hinge.
Clamp to door panel into place, and mark the location – make sure the hinges are level. Make sure to keep the 1/4” to 3/8” gap. I clamp to the top and bottom plates – this is why I didn’t cut the bottom plate out yet.
Drill the holes for carriage bolts (one per hanger), and install the bolt and screws. You may want to drill a smaller guide hole for the screws to prevent splitting. I find it easier on my back to lay the doors on portable saw horses.
I finger-tighten the carriage bolt until the screws are in place, then flip the door and tighten with a wrench.
The door is ready to hang once the two hinges are in place.
Drill the hole for the carriage bolt in the door frame. It will go through the stud framing, so have a bolt the correct length.
Secure the hinge to the frame with the carriage bolt. I only finger tighten the nut until both hinges are in place.
Once both hinges are in place, screw the other fasteners in, and wrench-tighten the bolts.
If the bolt is too long, it can be cut off, or used for hanging a jacket on.
Repeat the hinge process for the second door. Remember to cut out the bottom plate once both doors are installed.
I attached a gate latch to keep the doors closed. It’s level with the top hinges, so the screws bite into the 2×4 ledge.
Two ring bolts are attached into the middle ledge board. They allow the doors to be locked and also act as pull knobs for opening.
Building and installing batten doors in a shed you’ve built is like icing to a cake. It finishes it off and looks awesome. Hopefully, my article was helpful. Your feedback is appreciated, and if you know someone who may find the instructions of use, pass it on.