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I'm looking to install a single, sliding barn door in the 2nd bedroom of my condo. The door is solid MDF and weighs 200 lbs, including the metal rail and sliding wheels. And being in a condo, I'm unfortunately plagued with metal studs.

To date, I've installed a 1x4x80 wood backing board across 5 metal studs, with strap toggles going through the studs. The rail is 78.75" and the door is 96x36". I'm also planning on driving two additional screws per stud, on top of and below each strap toggle, for additional support. My plan is to install the rail onto the wood backing, with the provided 4" lag bolts going through the wood/drywall.

Two questions:

  1. Will my planned installation support 200lbs? Or should I consider cutting out some drywall and adding horizontal wood blocking in-between the metal studs?
  2. At least one (maybe two) of the pre-drilled rail holes align with metal studs. Will I have a problem getting those to go through the metal studs behind the wood? Any best techniques for doing so?

I'm less worried about the board pulling out of the wall, and more worried about the rail pulling out of the wood. In considering how much of the 4" lag bolt will be exposed behind the drywall, here's the thicknesses of everything in-between...

1/4" Rail --> 1.5" Spacer --> 3/4" Wood --> 1/2" Drywall 

So, add that all up and there will be 1" of the 4" lag bolt exposed behind the drywall. Will it really make that much of a difference if that 1" were to go into wood blocking?

I'd very much appreciate any advice! Pictures below:

1x4x80 Wood Backing Installation: 1x4x80 Wood Backing

4" Lag bolt with spacer (and also a lag bolt with a lag anchor, presumably for drywall only installation) 4" Lag bolt with spacer (and also a lag bolt with a lag anchor, presumably for drywall only installation)

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I think it'll hold, but I'd have done a couple things differently.

  1. A taller board would've reduced the tension on your fasteners and the rotational torque on the board. I'd have gone with a 2x6 or a 5/4x6 board, or even a 1x6 if thickness is an issue. As it is you might see some gapping along the top as things flex.
  2. Fasteners nearer the top would do the same. When you install your additional screws, put them 3/4" down. That's where most of the pullout force occurs. Picture a hinge running along the bottom of your board. If there's room, put both additional screws above the toggle bolts.

Regarding your questions...

  1. Again, it'll hold. Worst case you get some bulging from the stud flange flexing. If you see that, make improvements.
  2. Your lag screws will penetrate the studs fine. I assume that you'll pilot the wood and steel appropriately, which you certainly should. For 1/4" lags I'd pilot 5/32". For 5/16" lags, 3/16".
  • Thanks for the information and advice! I may consider swapping the current board for a 1x6 (I do want the thickness to match the existing door frame). I can probably do it pretty easily by tracing the toggle bolt screw holes onto the new board. Either way, I’ll a sleep a bit better once installed. Thanks again! – littleK May 2 at 21:33

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