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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Upgrade Your Crawlspace Door

I see a lot of homes with a crawlspace door that is either completely disfunctional due to water damage, or just insecure, perhaps held closed by a brick. Sure, it's just a crawlspace, but I'd prefer a door that is secure- so no one can steal all your copper pipes (I've heard horror stories about this) and various animals won't make a home under your house.

I got to work for a few days recently at an incredible home in the old part of Lockeland Springs in East Nashville. The home had been completely remodeled.
At the back of the home was a large plywood crawlspace door that was somewhat adequate, however, the homeowners had been using the space under the house for additional storage and they wanted something more secure.

I was to build a new door.

To begin with, I wanted to use only materials that would handle water fairly well. Crawlspace doors are notorious for getting water damage, so I started with a frame made of pressure treated 2x4's.

To cover the frame I picked up a large 4 x 8 piece of James Hardie exterior sheet siding. It's similar to their popular lap siding, but it comes in these large pieces that are great for siding a shed or making a door. You can get them with a textured wood grain surface or with a smooth surface, which I used for this project.

I hung the door before adding the trim and installed the deadbolt. Once I knew where the hardware would end up, I added some 1x4 cedar boards around the perimeter to dress it up and hide the nails that hold the Hardipanel to the frame.

A door like this can be quite heavy so make sure you use larger hinges and screws so it won't sag on you later. It will get painted later, but in the meantime, a little rain won't hurt...