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How to Build a Garden Shed Door

This simple DIY shed door is easy to build in an afternoon! Thin, lightweight materials make it simple to install in a standard door frame.

how to build a shed door

The door to our garden shed under the deck has been falling apart for years. The previous owner had installed louvered closet doors (why????), which gradually disintegrated in our wet Seattle weather.

small garden shed with tools inside and broken louvered door

Before I started building, I took off the door and rearranged the space. The outdoor shelves were moved to the new greenhouse, and the hanging garden tool organizer I made years ago finally came down. Everything is up off the ground and easier to access.

small garden shed with organized tools and doors removed

Now it's time to build a new shed door!

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Measure the opening

It's super important to get accurate measurements at various points to ensure that your shed door fits in the opening correctly.

Use a tape measure to measure across the width at the top, middle and bottom of the opening. Make sure you're measuring the frame where the door swings in, not the stop where the door will hit when closed. Use the smallest measurement for the width of your door.

measuring across the width of the shed door opening with a tape measure

Repeat the process for the height of the door. Mine was a little tricky because the shed is built into a slight slope and there's no sill at the bottom. I measured up from the bottom of the stop on both sides and used the smaller measurement for the height of the shed door.

bottom of garden shed door frame

Repair any damage to the door frame (optional)

As you can see, the bottom of the door frame was a little beat up (and really dirty). Luckily, the wood under the peeling paint was still in good shape, so I just cleaned it up and patched the chipped spots with exterior wood filler.

interior/exterior wood filler to repair damage to garden shed door frame

Once it dried, I sanded the filler flush with the surrounding wood. Then I applied a few coats of porch and patio paint left over from painting our kitchen backsplash tile and bathroom floor. It's not perfect, but it'll do!

patched and painted door trim

While the paint dries and cures, I can start working on the door!

Calculate the dimensions for the door

I'm using ¾" thick cedar tongue and groove siding for the center panel of the shed door. You could also use weather-resistant plywood or pressure treated lumber.

When the tongue and groove are clicked together, they leave 5" of board showing. I drew up a quick model in Sketchup to figure out how many I needed, and how wide they should be.

sketchup model of shed door with dimensions

At the top and bottom, I'll cut off the tongue or groove to create a flat edge. I needed the door to be 79" tall, so removing ½" from each end turns out perfect! The sides will be 1x6 cedar boards trimmed to 5" wide to maintain the same proportions.

Cut the boards and drill pocket holes

I set up a stop block on my miter saw station to quickly cut all the center panel boards to the same length. Then I ripped the tongue or groove off of two of the boards for the top and bottom at the table saw.

miter saw stop block

Then I drilled pocket holes in both ends of all the center panel pieces. These will only be seen when the door is opened, so I won't bother filling the holes.

drilling pocket holes in tongue and groove boards for shed door

Assemble the shed door

Start with the top board, which has the tongue trimmed off but the groove still intact. Align the top edge with the end of a vertical side piece, and screw it in place with 1 ¼" exterior pocket hole screws.

attaching top slat of shed door with pocket hole screws

The tongue of the next board should fit snug into the groove of the top board. Once it's seated properly, you can screw it into place.

tongue and groove cedar boards connected together to make a shed door

If they're not fitting together easily, you can tap on the edge of the board with a rubber mallet. Just be careful not to damage the groove at the bottom!

tapping tongue and groove boards together with a rubber mallet

Every once in a while, use a speed square to check that everything is still at a 90 degree angle.

checking slats for square as they are installed

I was so relieved when the bottom board fit perfectly flush at the end without having to trim it!

bottom edge of shed door

With one side of the door complete, it's time to attach the other side!

attaching other side of door with pocket hole screws

The other side went together much quicker, and soon I had a new door!

assembled shed door on workbench

Sand and apply finish

Up until this point, I've only seen the back of the door. When I flipped it over, I could see all the sanding that needed to be done. Ugh!

assembled shed door before sanding

There were a few spots where the slats are sitting above the sides, and marks from the mill where I bought the wood. Luckily, cedar is really soft and sands down quick!

sanding the front of the shed door before installation

Cedar is weather and rot-resistant, and weathers to a gray patina over time. I chose to leave it natural to match the potting bench and bike shed under the deck. But any exterior paint or stain would work great too.

Install the shed door

Since this door is only ¾" thick, standard door hinges are too big. Instead, I used these non-mortise door hinges that are narrow enough to fit on the side. Cedar is really light, so these hinges are plenty strong enough to hold it in place.

non-mortise door hinge on shed door

Instead of a door knob, I just installed a pull handle on the front. There's not really a need to lock up our shovels and rakes, and this will make it easy to grab something quickly while I'm out working in the garden.

installing a door handle on the shed door

To keep the door closed, I added a heavy duty magnetic catch at the top of the door frame. It's so satisfying to hear it click into place, and it holds really well!

magnetic catch at the top of the door frame to hold the shed door closed

Now we finally have a proper door on the shed!

DIY shed door

I'm so glad to have all those tools hidden away and protected from the rain. I can't believe it took me this long to do something about it!

before and after shed door

It ties in perfectly with the bike shed doors, and the light colored wood really helps brighten up this dark space under the deck.

garden shed next to bike shed with matching cedar doors

Now, where did I put that power washer? It's time to clean up all this moss! 🙂