Welcome to the sixth entry in September’s Mega Mod Contest. One Mega Mod will be published in every Email Alert in September. At the end of the month, we’ll hold a reader vote to determine September’s winner. Click here for information about the 2020 Mod Squad Contest, including how to enter.
Barbara Buhler, Dallas, Oregon
Installing A Barn Door In A Camper
2004 Dodge Ram 2500
2002 Alpenlite Cimarron 8.5
First of all, I’m a stout person. Trying to squeeze through the tiny bathroom door was like watching a circus contortionist squeeze through a hoop. It may be entertaining to watch, but it wasn’t much fun when you gotta go.
Above: The original bathroom door
In order to make the entry and exit to the bathroom easier, I decided to widen the doorway entrance by 6-inches. Once I made the decision to make the entrance wider, I measured the width of the current door and then measured the distance from the bathroom wall to the dinette.
I needed to determine how many inches the new door would need to be to fit the area between the bathroom wall and the dinette. After careful measuring, I determined that I could make the entrance wider by 6-inches. Before I made any cuts I removed the trim on the existing bathroom entrance and looked inside the wall to make sure there were no wires or other surprises.
Above: The door space widened by 6-inches
My skill with a Skilsaw is limited, so I had my husband help me mark the line and make the cut. We didn’t cut all the way to the floor. We stopped about 8-inches from the door opening and made a 90-degree cut to the right.
Finding new trim to finish the entrance was challenging, but I found a place that had what I needed. When measuring for the new door, I had to account for the new placement of the hinges. Also, the door needed open and close without interfering with the dinette.
I chose to make a barn door from plywood. The base was 1/4-inch pine plywood. The cross boards were 3/4-inch pine. For the interior, I used a sheet of thin plastic to give the door some extra water protection. When designing the door, I had to leave a space on the bottom of the door so that my Torklift Uprising Revolution Steps would still fit inside the camper.
I used sawhorses to lay down the plywood. Then I added the pine cross pieces that were cut to fit my layout. I used a brad nailer to secure everything. Next, I flipped the door on the sawhorses and secured the plastic sheet to the interior of the door. The plastic sheet was cut to fit the door’s measurements.
To finish the door, I added PVC L-trim to the edge and painted the bare wood with two coats of Zinsser Primer and two coats of white Valspar Cabinet Enamel. When the door was dry, my husband helped me hold the door in place to hang it.
Next came fitting the door’s latch. I tried using the latch from the old door but, because my new door was thicker, I had to buy a new latch. I almost didn’t drill the holes correctly because I failed to read the directions. It took a bit of finagling, but I was able to make the door latch work properly.
The last step I did was to add a heavy-duty handle to the inside of the bathroom to prevent me from accidentally missing the significant step up to the bathroom’s entrance.
Am I glad I cut into the wall of my camper and altered the bathroom entrance? Most definitely. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
Now I can enter and exit my bathroom with ease and stay safe at the same time. Plus, I have to say that I love the look of my white barn door.
It took me approximately seven hours to complete this modification. The plywood was $15, the latch was $5, the pine 3/4-inch boards were $20, the plastic sheet was $10, and the PVC L trim was $15. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is extremely hard.
Disclaimer: The modifications above are submitted by Truck Camper Magazine readers. It is your responsibility to make sure that any do-it-yourself modification project you undertake is safe, effective, and legal for your situation.
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