Are Barn Style Garage Doors The New “Old Look”?

Barn Style Garage Doors or Carriage Style Garage Doors have a quaint rustic charm. They are not for every home or every homeowner. But when constructed with authentic, high quality materials and paired with a matching architectural home style, they can create an unique “old look” ambiance.

Barn Style Garage Doors can be equipped with electric garage door openers to  automate, just like the Overhead Sectional Garage Door. They do not offer the most efficient use of limited space. They will work best with a ranch or modern farmhouse architectural style home on a large estate.

In the good old days, before automobiles, the wealthy travelled on horses or horse drawn carriages. Large estates always had a barn and a carriage house, for the horses, the carriage and for storing agricultural produce and implements.

The present day garages serve the same purpose. Of course they have evolved to accommodate the car and benefited from electricity & automation.

It is not surprising therefore, that some architects and homeowners give their homes and garages a new twist by recreating historic styles. The look is old & classic but the execution is very modern & functional.

What are Barn Style Garage Doors?

Overhead Sectional Garage Door

The most popular type of garage door is the overhead sectional type. The door is made of four panels, hinged to each other. When the door is in the “closed” mode, the panels are supported on two vertical tracks on the side. 

The vertical tracks curve into horizontal tracks along the garage roof. An electric garage door opener pulls the panels, mounted on rollers and balanced with springs. At the press of a button, the garage door glides up and aligns horizontally with the garage roof. The door is now in the “open” mode.

Barn Style Garage Door

The barn style garage door is one piece. The planks forming the door face are nailed or screwed together to form a single slab. 

The barn style door is mounted on horizontal top & bottom tracks, attached to the exterior surface of the garage wall. The door can slide sideways, to close or open the garage entrance.

An excellent example can be seen at Geobarns Gallery

Carriage Style Garage Door

The carriage style garage door is similar to the barn style garage door in construction. The look & feel of the two doors is quite similar.

The main difference is the way they open and close. While barn style garage doors slide, carriage style garage doors swing out to open. Instead of tracks & rollers, they use hinges.

Often, Barn Style & Carriage Style Garage Doors are considered as just two versions of the same basic style.

What are Advantages of Barn Style Garage Doors?

You may decide to install a barn style garage door purely for the unique aesthetic appeal and the rustic charm. And, in my opinion, that is the best reason of them all!

However, sliding barn style and swinging carriage style garage doors come with some other advantages that you may not have considered.

They can be Large & Heavy if Required

Overhead Sectional Garage Doors move up to open. They work against gravity.This puts a limit on how heavy (and therefore how large) they can be. In fact even a one car overhead garage door has to use springs to counterbalance the weight.

Barn Style Garage Doors, whether sliding or swinging, do not have to work against gravity to open and close. They can therefore be a lot larger (and heavier). They do not require springs as counterbalances.

Now you know why aircraft hangar doors are made in the sliding barn style!

They can be Operated Manually Quite Easily

You may decide to automate a barn style door for the sake of convenience (see FAQ). But you could easily open and close them manually. Just ensure that you use top quality hardware and grease them regularly.

This makes them a lot safer in case of power outage or garage door opener malfunction.

They Give You More Garage Space

Sliding Barn Style Garage Doors are completely outside your garage. They do not encroach on your garage space at all.

Even Swinging Carriage Style Garage Doors swing out when they open. They do not enter the garage space.

In both cases you get full access to the space above the garage door for storage or any other use.

They may be Sturdier & More Durable

Though not necessary, most often barn style garage doors are made from thick planks of solid good quality wood. Often these are handcrafted, with customized hardware. 

This is expensive but really good stuff. It will last a lifetime!

They are More Energy Efficient

Believe it or not, they save heating & cooling energy costs. Most homeowners like to use the garage as living space too. So you may be popping in or out of your garage several times in a day.

You have to open an overhead garage door almost to the top to do that. You lose a ton of cold (or hot) air. But in the case of a sliding barn door or a swinging carriage door, you do not have to open it all the way.

Just open the door enough to get in or go out!


Do Barn Doors Need a Bottom Track?

A small light barn style door can be hung on just the top horizontal track. This may work fine inside the house, say as a kitchen door.  However, this arrangement is not very sturdy. 

A Barn Style Garage Door is large & heavy. It must be hung from the top horizontal rack, but must also be supported by a bottom track. Actually the bottom track should take much of the garage door weight. 

Can Barn Style Garage Doors be Automated?

Yes, both barn style sliding garage doors and swing out carriage style garage doors can be automated. You can use the same garage door operator, as used by overhead garage doors, but with modifications in hardware.

The Edison Automatic Sliding Door Opener from RealCraft provides convenience and accessibility for sliding door applications. The motor and track mount to the ceiling or wall above the opening and the arm connects to the door. With the click of a button, the automated doors slide horizontally to open or close.

Automate Barn Style Sliding Garage Door
The Franklin Autoswing Automatic Door Kit from RealCraft is designed to swing open garage/carriage doors with the click of a button. With European engineering, the design is compact, smooth, and quiet. The motors mount above the opening, without a track along with the ceiling, leaving the space open from floor to ceiling. Customize with accessories – Homelink Compatibility, WiFi Hub, Interior or Exterior Wireless wall button, Battery Backup, and even a Solar module!

Automate Carriage Style Swinging Garage Door

How Much are Barn Doors for a Garage?

According to Home Advisor, the Barn Door prices range from $200-$1000 and installation can cost the same. Having said that, the price of a custom crafted wood barn style garage door will be substantially higher.

My advice is that your decision to install a barn style garage door should not be influenced by price. Shop for something that goes well with your home. Aesthetics and Durability is more important than Price, when it comes to Barn Style Garage Doors.

Are Barn Style Garage Doors Going Out of Style?

It is entirely a matter of personal opinion. My view is that Barn Style Garage Doors are classics and can never go out of style.

But you do have to ensure that the Barn Style Garage Door is in complete harmony with the architectural style of your home, including the landscape around it.

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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