i have small an opening in the wall of my garage that goes into an
area of the crawlspace. I would like to close this off and make it
look nice. What I would really like to use is a regular door. However,
the openign is only roughly 32 inches tall and 36 or so inches wide. I
thought about makign my own door and casing, but was not sure how hard
that was to do. Any suggestions?
I've seen a decent looking full size hollow core door that was covered
with an assortment of moldings to make it look like a paneled door. If
you're fairly handy you could do the same thing with some 1/2 ply.
If you have a table saw, casings are a piece of cake. A skil-saw and
some skills, and they are possible.
Is this a door that will be used often?
Does it need to be airtight to keep heat in/out?
Does it need to be locked?
How important is appearance?
Does it *have* to be 32x36?
Will not be used often. Does not have to be air tight
Does not need ot be locked
I would like it to look like it belongs there but doe snot have to be
fancy if that makes sense.
I could fudge the size a little bit. Cant go any higher thought.
On Fri, 06 Aug 2010 08:55:53 -0700, stryped wrote:
It's not going to be that wide or heavy - I think I'd just make a simple
frame (2x2" or maybe 1x3" depending what I had laying around) with a
diagonal brace, then cover it in ply. Probably just use a little hook and
eye catch on it - although with a bit of creativity you could add a
proper door handle mechanism (with a bit of bulking-out of the frame
around that area so strength wasn't compromised).
Of course you could do the above and sand / stain it and add whatever
decorative molding you wanted :-)
If you have an opening from a garage to an occupied space (this
includes attics, basements and crawlspaces above and below), code
requires the opening to have a fire rated door, and it should be
weatherstripped. The idea is to prevent fire and fumes from entering
the occupied space and killing people. You don't have a door there
now, but that doesn't mean that you don't need one nor that it is
exempt from code requirements. It's not a big deal to make it
conform, and it'd be silly not to do so.
A crawlspace is an occupied space?
I agree with you if it is considered occupied-- but I thought that
'occupied' meant it would normally have people in it & didn't include
attics or unfinished basements.
[and I'm not having any luck finding a reference that describes it]
That doesn't address crawlspace or 'occupied space' -- but it is
specific enough in the generalities, that I'd be inclined to go with
Ricodjour in principle. The OP should use a fire-rated door that
closes itself. Sheetrock & a closer would do it.
The added cost and aggravation now is well worth it in the worst
case-- and even if you just get a picky inspector when you go to sell.
Exactly. Not all situations are directly addressed by code
requirements. That's why building inspectors are there to interpret
them. The typical situation has a garage slab one to three steps
below the first floor of the house. Having enough of a height
differential to allow a crawl space is an unusual situation.
The intent of the code with respect to attached garages is to prevent
fire and fumes from entering the occupied space. A building inspector
would not look at the letter of the code and ignore an obvious
shortcoming - an end run around the fire rating and fume requirements,
which is what the OP has on his hands. It is an existing problem, a
potential liability, and the OP's reworking of the opening means he is
responsible for it and should bring it up to the code intent.
There is relatively little additional work involved in making the
crawlspace door opening conform to the code intent. It's akin to
swapping out electrical receptacles from two prong to three when work
is being done in the room. There's no logical reason not to do it,
other than an extra $20 in materials and an hour of time. The
downside is far deeper than the upside is 'up'.
For something that small I'd go buy a pair of 18 or 21 inch kitchen
cabinet doors and just do a full overlay, screwing the cabinet door
hinges directly to the drywall face, two knobs in the middle and
you're done. Cabinet doors are 36 inched high, that will leave 2 inch
overlay top and bottom to hide the hole.
I wouldn't put this on a 'hard to do' list... Buy a piece of plywood,
some of that iron-on edging, a couple of hinges, a couple of magnets
and a handle. Cut the plywood to size, so it overlaps the opening,
edge it with the iron-on stuff (maybe paint it?). Attach the hinges
and handle, then use the magnet to keep it shut (assuming that the
door doesn't open downwards, so that the magnet is not holding too
much stuff). If it needs to be more secure, replace the magnets with
Also, to comment on the comments above, I would rate a circular-saw as
easier to use than a table saw for that kind of thing... As long as
you have one of these (http://wayneofthewoods.com/circular-saw-cutting -
guide.html), then it's way faster and more accurate for this kind of
I just visited a web site touting hidden doors. In general, they disguised
the door as a bookshelf.
If you're going to the trouble of building a custom door, you might consider
incorporating this idea.
Lordy. It's a garage. Two vertical strips of L-shaped rail to drop the
panel in, with a matching top rail attached to the panel to act as a
handle. If this is through a firewall, include a layer of 5/8 fire rock
in the panel, and make it bigger than the hole, so there are no
burn-through spots. Don't make this harder than it needs to be- not like
it will be opened more than a few times a year. You can even buy plastic
channel to edge the drywall panel with, to reduce moisture wicking up
from the slab, and avoid the white dust whenever you open the panel or
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