If you’re building a shed, the door may be a more important decision than you expect. What side of the shed do you place it on? What kind of access do I need for the equipment I plan to store in the shed? What kind of door will work best with my landscape and my storage needs?
Using a man door man is a great shed door idea and may be big enough, if you need to store large items like riding lawn mowers, you’ll need a double door or a roll up door to provide the opening you need.
Here are Five Tips for Choosing Which Shed Door Ideas to Consider
Security. Will your door be sturdy enough to keep out unwanted guests? Will you be able to lock it securely and easily? Will somebody be able to pry it off the hinges or unscrew the lock hasps? For more information on security hinges check out my article How to Use Door Security Hinges on a Shed.
Size. You may be surprised to learn that doors on pre-built sheds are usually a bit smaller than exterior house doors. You may not need any extra width, but you may have a wide ATV that will be stored in your shed. What you plan to store or may store in the future will play into the decision of door size.
Convenience. If you have a door so narrow that some of your equipment barely squeezes through, you’re going to get tired of the gymnastics getting certain things in or out fairly quickly. Your door needs to allow easy access to everything that will go into it. It also needs to be located on a side that allows for easy access.
Durability. Your door needs to be at least as sturdy as the rest of your shed. Your door will move every time you enter or lock up your shed. It needs to be able to stand up to the use without sagging and stand up to the weather without warping.
Style. You want your door to finish the look of your shed. People living in an HOA will especially need to make sure that the door doesn’t stand out awkwardly.
There are many aspects to the door that should be considered. The more thought you give to the door, the more convenient you’ll find your access to be. There are several styles of shed doors from which to choose.
Eight Easy to Build Shed Door Ideas
There are many ways to build your door. The cost will depend on the size, of course, and the type of lumber you choose, along with the source. If you have enough wood left over from building your shed, you’re in luck. Sometimes you can get reclaimed wood from somebody tearing down an old barn or other outbuildings, either for free or at a low cost.
The other expense will be the hardware. Latches equipped with locks range from below $15 to over $40. You can usually get a simple hasp that folds over to keep anybody from just unscrewing the hasp and removing it from the door. Then a good padlock is all you need.
While you can use regular door hinges on your shed door or doors, many people prefer to use T-strap hinges. These hinges have a longer part that attaches to the door. It holds more weight than a regular hinge, which is something to consider since your door will swing free when open and will likely remain open while you’re mowing your lawn, raking leaves or just airing out the shed.
These usually come in sets consisting of a pair or more and range from around $15 for a pair to over $40. They usually come in silver or black, with some being decorative to add to the look of your shed.
8 Shed Door Ideas
1- Basic Barn Door – The basic shed door is built of 2 x 6s braced horizontally at the top, middle and bottom by horizontal boards. Usually, a couple of boards placed diagonally adds strength and stability. All the bracing is inset an inch or two from the edges to allow the door to close flush with the rest of the shed exterior.
This door can be painted or stained to match your shed siding. Be sure to plan the places for the hinges and closing latch so that the bracing isn’t in the way. This type of door is fairly inexpensive, especially if you have some wood left over from building the shed. Then all you have is the cost of the hardware.
2- Rustic Looking Shed Door – This kind of door is typically made of reclaimed barn wood. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to score the whole door. Many barns had regular-sized entrances on the side in case a person just wanted to go in without opening up the large doors.
If you can’t get reclaimed wood, your cost will drop if you buy rough sawn wood rather than planed lumber. This will add to the rustic look of your door. The rough sawn wood will actually accept paint or stain better than the planed boards, which will make your job easier. Installing the door with the bracing showing on the outside will add to the rustic look.
3- Extra Strong Shed Door – One of the best ways to build an extra strong door is to not only use horizontal and diagonal bracing but also add a framework all the way around the door. This will help to keep your door from warping and add strength to allow it to stand open for long periods of time.
4- Dutch Door from Scratch – A Dutch door is a door that actually has two parts. The top and bottom open independently. This allows you to let air into the shed without opening the whole thing and worrying about your dog or small children getting in and perhaps getting hurt. Some have glass panes in the top part, but that’s not necessary for a shed.
Basically, you’ll be building two doors, each with its own hinges at the top and bottom. You can either buy a separate lock and hasp for the second part or just one hasp and lock, with some hardware to connect the two doors. When you wish to close up the shed after you’ve left the top open, you go in, latch the two doors together, then open the door as one piece, leave and lock up.
One of the best ways to easily build a Dutch door is to either buy or build a door to fit, then cut it in half. Some people have done this for less than $70. This may actually be easier, as you won’t have so much work ensuring that the door will fit your doorway as you would building the two parts separately.
5- Double Shed Door – If you have a monster lawn tractor or a wide ATV, you need a large doorway. It’s much better to have double doors to provide the room rather than one really large door. Two doors will mean less strain on the hinges, and you still only need one lock and hasp to lock the two together. You can designate one as the main door, with the other opened only when needed.
It’s easy to nail a small piece of wood to the top brace of the second door. You’ll just need one long nail, but don’t hammer it in firmly. This will allow you to turn the wood so that it rests against the doorway frame, keeping the door closed.
6- Budget Minded Shed Doors – If you’re on a tight budget, your main concern will be the cost of the lumber. You don’t want to skimp on the door hardware. The hinges will need to be sturdy, and you want a good lock setup. As has been mentioned above, if you can, getting some lumber from somebody tearing down a building is a great way to save money.
Sometimes you’ll see construction crews working on building a home, and you can get some scrap lumber fairly cheaply. You can also use exterior grade 3/8-inch-thick plywood as the door, building a framework on one side to keep it from warping and add strength. Some people with siding panels on their homes use this for their shed and door as well.
Another way to save money is if you have a sawmill located nearby. You can buy boards that still have some bark on the edges and may have wavy long edges. Since these boards are almost considered as being scrap, you can get them at a fairly cheap price or perhaps even for free, and you can easily smooth out the boards to have straight edges with a circular saw.
7- Tongue and Groove Shed Door – A tongue and groove shed door is a very sturdy design. This is made with boards that have a groove cut on one long side and a protruding “tongue” on the other that fits into the groove on the next board. You can use wood glue on the connections for added strength.
Some people make very decorative doors with this type of lumber, using them on the diagonal facing opposite ways on the top and bottom halves. This is done by building an outer framework and nailing or gluing the tongue and groove boards to it. The doors are installed with the framework showing on the outside.
8- Pine Shed Doors – Pine is a good choice for shed doors, especially if you want a rustic look. Pine often has knotholes that add to that rustic appeal. You can get a stain and sealant all in one product that will bring out the wood’s beauty and also protect it. Pine is also easy to work with and is usually less expensive than some other types of wood. If you need some help framing the door opening check out my article 5 Tips for Framing a Door Rough Opening.
What Kind of Wood Should I Use for a Shed Door?
You can use practically any type of wood for your shed door, but be sure to get the pressure-treated type, as it will be exposed to the weather. You can use the same wood as the siding on your shed or you can go for a contrast. Some people even use decorative woods such as cedar to add a nice touch.
When choosing your wood, be sure to ask your supplier about what fasteners to use. Some woods, such as oak, require stainless steel screws, as the wood contains acidic tannins.
What Kind of Plywood Should I Use for a Shed Door?
You’ll need exterior grade plywood, preferably pressure treated. You’ll need to make sure the plywood is completed dry before priming and painting, especially if its pressure treated. While some people use ¼ inch thick plywood, using 3/4-inch plywood will give you a sturdier door. After all, that door will see a lot of action over the years, so getting thicker plywood will cut out the worry.
Where Should I Put the Shed Door?
Your yard conditions and the placement of the shed itself may need to be considered when placing the door. If your shed sits on a slope, you’ll want to put the door on either the high or low side. You’ll probably want it on the side that slopes away from the shed.
You may have to construct a ramp or steps, depending on whether you have large equipment that needs to be wheeled in. It’s best not to put the door on the other end, as heavy rain can wash water into your shed. While you can put your door on a high sill to prevent this, you won’t be able to wheel equipment in or out, and you may trip over the sill when carrying large items.
If you have trees or other large growth around your shed, this will play into the decision as well. You certainly don’t want to have to maneuver around a tree with your ATV or garden tiller anytime you want to use it. Basically, you want to have access as carefree as possible.
Another consideration is the layout of the shed itself. The shed doorway will take up some space, so it’s best to draw out a diagram with your door either on one end or on a long side, taking into account where you’ll have space for your larger equipment and the ease of getting it into place.
Double doors are often put on a long side. If you have a smaller shed, putting a door on a short end may not give you much space for hanging tools or storage on either side of the door.
One important factor in the placement of the door is the placement of any window or windows you plan to have in the shed. At least one window should be placed on the opposite side of the door to ensure plenty of airflow inside the shed.
Should Shed Doors Open In or Out?
Shed doors usually open outwards. This is why shed door hinges need to take a lot of weight, as they support the door as long as it’s open. Having the door open outward gives you more room, as you won’t have to use up precious storage space to leave room for the doors to swing. It also gives you more room to move around inside.
A simple hook and eye installed on the door can keep it open while you are inside or just letting the shed air out for the day. It also makes it easier to wheel out large equipment. On a windy day, a door can swing shut and dent your mower or yourself while you are getting it out. Besides, nobody likes a banging door. Get more information in my article Should a Shed Door Open In or Out?
How Much Gap Should Be Around a Shed Door?
When measuring your door, make sure to leave ¼ inch of space on all sides between the inner door frame and the door opening. Make sure there is the same distance on the outer face as well. Door bracing is usually inset a bit from the edge of the door itself. Wood will swell a bit under wet conditions, and this space will leave room for that swelling, still ensuring that your door will open and close easily.
Should I Use Pressure Treated Wood for Shed Door?
Any wood or wood product that comes into contact with weather conditions should be pressure-treated. Shed doors take all the weather that the siding does and should be built with pressure-treated wood or plywood. The pressure treatment won’t interfere with painting as long as it’s completely dry.
Pressure-treated wood usually has some moisture left from the chemicals used in the treatment. Ask your supplier how long you should let the wood dry before painting. If you want to leave the door with a natural look, there are plenty of sealants and other wood protectants that will lengthen the life of your door.
Once you have decided on the type and style of door you want and have all the measurements done, you have half the battle won. Once you have your door built and installed, you’ll have a unique door to boast about that doesn’t look like any other. You’ll also have a sturdy door that you know was built well and that will last as long as your shed. Aren’t you proud of yourself?