How to Convert Hinged Doors to Sliding Doors

Changing your hinged doors to sliding doors can be a fast way to freshen your decor. It can also solve access problems in an area where hinged doors are not able to open fully. Though not particularly difficult for an experienced do-it-yourselfer, this project can be daunting for someone who is just becoming familiar with power tools and carpentry techniques. The key here is to be especially attentive to detail and organize your tools so that they are within easy reach.

Step 1

Use a pry bar and a hammer to gently remove the interior door trim. Save the trim to be used elsewhere. Cut away any old caulk between the door frame and the wall. Use a flat pry bar to remove the casing nails securing the door jambs to the wall. If necessary, cut through stubborn nails with a reciprocating saw. Remove the door from the opening.

Step 2

Measure the length of the door opening from top to bottom. Then measure horizontally across the width of the opening. Cut the purchased door frame into four pieces -- two pieces that match the length of the door opening and two pieces that match the width of the door opening. Lay out the frame pieces and ensure that they are square. Nail the frame together. Set the frame inside the opening. Use a level to ensure the legs of the frame are plumb. Insert shims if needed to adjust the fit of the frame. Check the top of the frame (header) and ensure it is level. Insert shims as necessary to adjust the fit. Double-check that the frame is square and level after each adjustment. When satisfied, nail or screw through the shims to attach the frame to the wall.

Step 3

Remeasure the door opening from top to bottom. Add this measurement to the thickness of the tracks provided in the sliding door hardware kit. Measure the door lengthwise and score a line across the bottom of the door at this new measurement with a utility knife. Place the door on a level surface and trim the door along the score mark using a circular saw. Using slow, even pressure, pass the plane along the cut end of the door to smooth the surface.

Step 4

Screw the the top track to the top of the door frame according to the manufacturer's instructions, using the hardware provided in the sliding hardware kit. Screw the door rollers and their brackets to the upper end of the door according to the hardware kit manufacturer's instructions. Attach the bottom door guides/track from the hardware kit to the door sill per the manufacturer's instructions. Check the alignment of both sets of tracks/guides with a spirit level. Insert the rollers into the upper track and hang the door in place. Repeat steps 3 and 4 if hanging more than one sliding door. Check with the level to ensure the door(s) are plumb and level. Ensure that the doors can move easily in the path created by the upper and lower door tracks/ guides.