How to Hide a Crawl Space Door

A crawl space door, also known as an access door, is what allows you to enter the crawl space under your home. Typically made of wood, metal or plastic, these doors provide access to plumbing, wiring, and other areas that need servicing in your crawl space.

Why Hide Your Crawl Space Door?

There are a few reasons why you may want to hide your crawl space door:

  • Esthetics. An exposed crawl space door can be an eyesore and detract from your home’s appearance. Hiding it helps your home look more stylish and put together.
  • Security. Concealing your crawl space door makes it less obvious and helps prevent unwanted access. This deters intruders and protects your home.
  • Weather protection. Covering your crawl space door seals and insulates the opening, which helps regulate temperature and humidity in the crawl space. This protects plumbing and the foundation from damage.

1. Prepping the Crawl Space Door Area

The first thing you’ll want to do is clear the area around the crawl space entrance. Move any furniture, decorations, or plants that are in the way. You’ll need about 3 to 4 feet of space on all sides of the door to have enough room to work.

a. Gathering Your Supplies

  • For this project, you’ll need:
    Wood boards: Enough boards to cover the entire crawl space entrance. 3/4-inch thick boards work well for most doors.
  • Primer: A primer will help the paint adhere better to the wood. Get an oil- or latex-based primer depending on what kind of paint you want to use.
  • Paint: Choose a paint color that will blend in with your home’s exterior. You’ll want at least 2 coats of paint for the best coverage.
  • Hinges: Get 2-3 hinges to securely attach the wood boards to the wall. Choose hinges that can support the weight of the wood.
    Screws: 2-inch wood screws are good for attaching the hinges to the wood and wall.
  • Paintbrush: Get a 2-3 inch angled brush to paint the edges and hinges. A roller can be used for large, open areas.
    Paint tray, roller, and extension handle: Only needed if using a roller to paint the wood boards.
    Drop cloths, paint tape, and caulk: To protect the area from drips and ensure clean lines.

Once you have all your supplies ready, you’re ready to install the wood boards over your crawl space door! The key is to take your time and be meticulous. With some patience, you’ll have a hidden crawl space entrance in no time.

2. DIY Methods for Concealing Your Crawl Space Entrance

DIY methods for hiding your crawl space entrance range from simple camouflage techniques to building custom doors or access panels. The method you choose depends on your needs, budget, and DIY skills.

a. Camouflage

  • The simplest approach is to camouflage the entrance to blend in with the surrounding area. You can:
  • Paint the door and trim the same color as the wall. This works best if the door is recessed into the wall.
  • Cover the door with faux brick, stone, or wood boards to match your home’s exterior. Secure the boards to the door with construction adhesive and nails.
  • Plant bushes, shrubs, or vines in front of the entrance. Choose varieties that will fully conceal the door as they grow. Be sure not to block access to the crawl space.

b. Access Panel

  • If you need frequent access to your crawl space, an access panel may be a good option. You can:
  • Buy a premade access panel kit and install it in an opening you cut in the wall or floor over the crawl space entrance.
  • Construct your own access panel door and frame to fit the existing entrance. Use weather-resistant wood, like cedar or redwood, and install weather-stripping around the edges to seal it.
    Add a lock to the access panel for security.

b. Custom Door

  • For a permanent solution, you can install a custom door to completely replace the existing crawl space entrance.
  • Use the same type of door as your home’s other exterior doors, like a steel or fiberglass door. Install it in a frame and weatherize it well.
  • Consider a “hidden” door that has the same appearance as your siding or flooring. These open via a concealed mechanism.
  • Add extra security features like a deadbolt lock, door sweep, and/or alarm.
  • Any of these methods can effectively conceal your crawl space entrance while still allowing access when needed. With some DIY skills and the right tools and materials, you can complete most of these projects yourself and save the cost of hiring a professional.

3. Hiring a Professional to Hide the Crawl Space Access

Hiring a professional to hide your crawl space access door is often the best approach for an attractive finished look. Professionals have the proper tools, skills and experience to handle this job efficiently. They can also spot any potential issues early on and address them.

a. Experience

  • Contractors who specialize in crawl space encapsulation and repair have worked with these spaces countless times before. They are familiar with building codes regarding crawl space access and know the proper techniques for sealing and insulating the area. DIY attempts could lead to problems down the road if not done properly. Let the pros handle it!

b. Tools and Materials

  • Professionals will have the necessary equipment for the job like moisture-resistant drywall, weather-stripping, insulation, and a vapor barrier. They can also bring in equipment like power saws, sanders, and lifts if needed to access and work in your crawl space. The typical homeowner does not have these materials and tools readily available.

c. Efficiency

A skilled contractor can complete the job much faster than a DIY attempt. They have streamlined the necessary steps through experience and practice. Professionals also work in teams, with each person focused on their area of expertise. This division of labor, combined with the proper tools and techniques, allows them to finish the work in a fraction of the time.

d. Problem Solving

An experienced professional knows what to look for in terms of any damage, leaks, mold or structural issues in a crawl space. They can identify problems early and determine the best solutions. A DIY approach may fail to spot these issues, leading to bigger problems down the road. It is best to have a professional evaluate the space first before attempting any work yourself.

Conclusion

Hiring a contractor to enclose and hide your crawl space access is worth the investment. They have the experience, tools, skills, and problem-solving ability to handle the job thoroughly and efficiently. Your crawl space will be safely encapsulated, sealed and ready to store items or be used as extra living space.

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