​Maximize Your Storage Space by Adding a Crawlspace Door

​Maximize Your Storage Space by Adding a Crawlspace Door

Access Doors and Panels on 20th Jul 2022

​Maximize Your Storage Space by Adding a Crawlspace Door

Any commercial building can put extra storage space to good use. And it's not always necessary to build an addition or construct a storage shed or garage. Many structures have space hidden from view behind short walls - often referred to as 'knee walls' - found in attics, under staircases, and closets. By adding a crawlspace door, why not maximize the storage area sitting empty under the roof rafters or close to the foundation of your commercial building?

We have a great selection of crawl space doors designed for your specific needs, including fire-rated, insulated, and thermo-insulated! Best of all, we are here to explain the installation process in nine easy steps!

Step #1: Locate Your Crawl Space

Step #1 Locate Your Crawl Space

If you know where you want to install the crawl space door, proceed to Step #2. Otherwise, find the crawlspace typically located under the rafters on either side of the attic or closer to the foundation (often vented to the outdoors). In older buildings, the area may be closed behind a knee wall door.

Once you've located the space, inspect it – some crawlspaces allow you to stand up, while others are limited in height. You want to make sure the area is adequate to meet your needs.

Step #2: Remove the Existing Hatch

Step #2 Remove the Existing Hatch

A crawl space door may already be in place if your building is older. If so, you need to remove it with a crowbar or by removing the structure by unscrewing it. Your previous access panel will quickly come off after unscrewing the bolts but do be careful of wear and tear and rusted metal that may cause injuries when removing the old door.

If there is no hatch, you can move to the next step.

Step #3: Take Measurements

Step #3 Take Measurements

According to the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) - Section R408.4, an access door must be a minimum of 18 x 24 inches. So, keep this in mind, regardless of the current size of any existing opening. To ensure you get the right size of crawl space door, take careful measurements and doublecheck for accuracy.

Step #4 Select Your Access Door

Step #4 Select Your Access Door

A crawlspace access door typically includes a frame, latch, hinges, and a key lock for safety. Carefully check the specifications, especially related to fire-rating and insulation to ensure the door you select adheres to code requirements and suits the application. If you plan to install the door on the exterior of your building, then insulation is a must!

(Our crawl space door listings include fitting instructions to make installation more manageable!)

Step #5: Cut the Wall

Step #5 Cut the Wall

Cut an opening in the wall or remove masonry.

On drywall, cut along the top line and down the two sides with a saw and then score the bottom line with a utility knife to remove it. Score deeply and then push in on the drywall to snap it along the scored line. Cut through the remaining paper on the backside of the square to free the drywall cut-out and let it fall. You can leave it inside the wall or pull it out after it's free.

To cut out wood-lath plaster, drill holes inside all four corners of the square and use a reciprocating saw to cut between them along all four lines. Be careful to keep the saw pressed firmly against the plaster while cutting to avoid causing cracks and other damage from excessive vibration.

Step #6: Assemble the Frame

Step #6 Assemble the Frame

If you purchased a crawl space door from Access Doors and Panels, use the framing pieces provided and assemble the bottom of the frame. Make sure to use a level to keep everything straight!

As you did for the bottom, put the top of the frame in place. Then fit the side jamb pieces on either side of the opening.

If you are installing it on the exterior of your building, use a masonry drill to drill holes into the foundation and secure the frame with masonry screws.

If installing in drywall, you can use a regular drill and screwdriver.

Step #7: Install the Latch and Hinges

Step #7 Install the Latch and Hinges

Ensure you place the hinges on each door end, facing outwards, allowing the door to open and close. Attach and center the latch on the other side of the door.

Step #8 Install the Lock

Step #8 Install the Lock

Our crawl space doors come with your choice of a padlock or standard screwdriver lock. If your door doesn't come with a lock, consider installing one, especially if your crawl space has exterior access.

Step #9 Fit the Door to the Frame

Step #9 Fit the Door to the Frame

Now it's time to fit the door to the frame!

Mark the edge with a chalk or pencil where you installed the latch and hinges. Use a screwdriver to drill the guide holes. Carefully align the door with the guide holes and screw it tightly.

Once the door is secure, your crawl space is ready for use!

If you're still unsure how to install your crawlspace door, this video may help!

Use your creativity to maximize storage by using all the available space in your commercial building. If you have questions about choosing the right crawl space door or need more guidance on installation, call our product experts to walk you through the process!

Access Doors and Panels has served the commercial construction industry for over 15 years. With 30,000 loyal customers, we pride ourselves on offering the highest quality products from brands you can trust.

If you are looking for customized sizes, our world-class customer service team will be delighted to help you find the perfect access door for your commercial building. 

our world-class customer service team

20th Jul 2022 Access Doors and Panels