How to build double shed doors that work - first time!

Double shed doors are a great way to create easy access into your shed. In this no-fluff, step by step guide I explain:

  • The benefits of double shed doors in relation to other door types.
  • How to create solid shed door plans whether you are using plywood facing or vertical boards.
  • How to choose the right shed door materials and hardware.
  • Instructions on how to build and install your own double shed doors so that they work perfectly from the start.

Double door shed General view of double door shed showing large wall opening and ease of access

To get started let's find out why double door sheds are so popular.

What are the benefits of double shed doors?

Double shed doors provide a number of benefits for your shed, including:

  • Easy access - This is the main benefit, having a large opening in a small building makes it much easier to access the contents of your shed, such as your lawn mower, bikes or garden tools.

    Getting large items into and out of a garden shed is often limited by door width. Having double doors that provide twice the width of a single door makes getting wide items into and out of your shed possible.

  • Economy - Double doors are much cheaper than using a roll-up shed door which is great if you are on a tight budget. Roll up shed doors are a good option for wide openings, but their relative complexity makes them much more expensive.

  • Geometry - Using a sliding shed door is another good option for wide door openings. However for sliding doors, you need space to one side of the door opening to accommodate the sliding barn door panel in the 'parked' position. This space isn't available on most garden sheds.

  • Improved ventilation - If the shed is used as a small workshop, both doors can be opened for fresh air and to allow in more natural light.

  • Flexibility - Most of the time only the Primary door will be used. But having the option to open both doors for fresh air or when you need to move a large item is a great option to have.

  • Increased space - It can make the shed seem bigger when both doors are open, since more than one person can be inside the shed without feeling like they are limited on space

When building a shed with double doors think about which wall of the shed you want the doors to be on. The pictures of the apex double door shed below shows both options.

Double door shed This shed has double doors in the side and gable walls

Often having the doors in a long side wall will give easiest all-around access. Having doors in an end wall can mean that some items get left at the back due to the greater distance to the door. Understanding this sort of issue during the design phase of your shed project will pay many benefits later on.

How do shed double doors work?

Double shed doors lock into one another to secure the door opening, in the same way as french doors.

There is in effect a Primary and Secondary door. Deciding which of the two doors will be the Primary door is another shed design issue to resolve early on. It may be that it has to be a certain side due to space restriction, or it could be that it is purely down to personal preference ie if you are right or left handed.

Double door shed Summerhouse with glazed double doors in the closed position

The Primary door is the one that is used most often for going in and out of the shed.

Double door shed Summerhouse with glazed double doors, Primary door open and Secondary door secured

The Secondary door is secured in the closed position by barrel bolts that lock into the door header at the top and the threshold at the bottom. It is important that a framed type door is used for this secondary door so that the Primary door has a strong point to be secured in to.

Double door shed Summerhouse with glazed double doors, both doors open

Like most doors both Primary and Secondary doors close against door stops, that comprise a strip of wood, fixed to the door frame. The door stop acts so that the shed door closes in the same place each time which makes accurate locking possible and also serves to keep out driven rain around the door perimeter.

What size to make a double shed door?

A shed double door frame opening is typically 5 feet wide and 6 feet 2 inches high, but it can vary depending on the size of your shed. The table below shows the other commonly used standard shed door sizes.

Double door shed Table of commonly available timber shed door sizes

I would try to stick to standard door sizes, even though you may be going down the route of a diy shed door this time, you might want to replace them at some point in the future with a shop bought door.

It is important to measure the dimensions of your shed before you start building the doors so that you can make sure that they are the right size. Carefully measure the distance between the vertical door jambs for the width and then the distance between the threshold and the underside of the lintel for the door height. It is also a good idea to check the diagonals, they should both be the same, to check that the door frame is square.

Double door shed Double check the size of the shed door opening when you have built it. And check it for squareness

Double shed door plans

Having a double door plan is the first step in this project. Essentially you will need two shed doors built using the single shed door plans that I use in this article.

Double door shed Plan for one of double doors. Note: other door to have braces sloping in opposite direction

When building double doors, you build both doors identically until the last step. The diagonal braces that keep the frame of the door square will slope in different directions for each door. It is important that the diagonal brace slopes upwards from the hinges so that it is in compression and will have minimum movement.

Now you have your plans and project requirements you can start to pull together the materials required for your project.

Materials required for a double shed door

***This section on the materials required to build your door and the actual door construction are purposefully brief. I have a whole article on How to build a framed ledged and braced shed door here which gives you all the information that you will ever need!***

Keep reading for the overview and I have repeated the link at the end of the page.

It's important to take your time when assembling these items; there are many steps in this process which require precision work. If you don't pay attention to the details or don't use the right hardware, it can result in poorly aligned doors that don't close properly and aren't secure.

When building a double door for your shed, you will need the following timber, hardware and tools:


  • Timber framing material, I prefer 3x2 timber
  • Exterior grade plywood or tongue and groove door facing material


  • Screws for the frame assembly and nails for fixing the door facing
  • 6 galvanised steel shed door hinges
  • 2 barrel bolts
  • shed door handle

Shed door hardware can be a bit confusing to select, but it is important to get the right type of hardware to ensure that your shed doors open, close and lock correctly. Once you have finished reading this article you might want to read more in my section on Shed Door Hardware

On the Shed Door Hardware page you will also find detailed information on choosing the right shed door hinges, barrel bolts, door handles and security fixings for the hinges.


  • Drill with suitable attachments,such as drill bit and driver
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure and pencil

How to assemble double shed doors

Simple step by step instructions to assemble your shed doors.

  1. The first step is to measure and cut the door stiles and rails from the 3x2 treated timber.

  2. The next step is to construct the door frame work together using two lag screws for each connection. Check that the door frame is square once complete.

  3. The third step attach the face of the door to the supporting framework.

  4. The fourth step is to cut and install the diagonal door braces. Mark these in place.

  5. The fifth step is to drill a hole for the door handle on the primary door, install the hinges on both doors (three hinges per door) and the Brenton bolts on the secondary door.

How to install double shed doors

Installing a double shed door is a fairly simple process that I do in the following way:

  • The first step is to measure the opening of the shed to make a final check that you have built or ordered the correct size of shed door.

  • You will have left a 6mm gap all around the door, so place a 6mm pack on the door threshold and a 6mm pack between the door stile and the door jamb. Next lift the secondary door into position. Use two screws to secure the top door hinge to the door jamb.

  • Check the door is still sitting right against the packers and install two screws into the bottom door hinge. Pull the 6mm packers out and the door should swing freely.

  • Now you have got the door swinging on two hinges, add the remaining screws to the two screws you have already used. And install the screws to the central hinge

  • With the door swinging freely install the door stop by nailing it to the frame around the perimeter of the door. The door stop acts as a register so that the door stops in the same place each time and the two doors line up making it possible to install the door lock and barrel bolts.

The next step is to install the barrel bolts and door locks.

How to make your double shed doors secure

I explained earlier how the double doors work together, with a Primary and Secondary door. Now that you have the doors hung in position and aligning, let's put this into practice.

Double door shed Barrel bolt used to secure Secondary door

The first step is to work on the Secondary door. This door will spend the larger part of its life held in a closed position by two barrel bolts. The barrel bolts are installed at the top and bottom of the free edge door stile.

The barrel bolts lock into holes in the door threshold and the door head. These holes should be a couple of mm larger than the diameter of the barrel bolt that you use. The strength of the double door combination is influenced by the type of door bolts that you use and the way that you fix them into the threshold and head.

The Primary door locks into the stile of the Secondary door in the same way that a single shed door would lock into the door frame.

This might take the form of a standard 'T' handle type lock or a barn door handle and long throw lock as I discussed in this article on shed door locks.

Double door shed Sometimes a shed door bar is used to improve the security of double doors


In this blog post, I've given you all of the steps that you need to take in order to build and install your own shed double doors.

Double door shed Double doors viewed from outside

Double door shed Double doors viewed from inside

If you follow the steps in this post and use my process for designing and building your double shed doors it will go smoothly with no hangups or wasted time.

The three articles below give more detailed information on three aspects of this project: Building a shed door, types of shed door lock and hardware for your shed doors.

  1. How to build a framed ledged and braced shed door of the type described above.

  2. Find out about the best ways to keep your shed door locked

  3. A great review of the different types of shed door hardware that you will need for this project

potter shed

Looking for more information on how to get your double shed door working perfectly?

Return from Double Door Shed to the Shed Door Hardware hub page

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