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Mar 11, 2023

11 minutes

How To Install A Crawl Space Door: A Complete Guide

As a homeowner, you’re probably aware of the importance of keeping your home in good condition. Maintaining the integrity of your home’s structure and foundation is crucial to ensuring the safety and security of you and your family.

One often-overlooked aspect of home maintenance is the crawl space. While it may not be the most glamorous or visible part of your home, it is vital in providing access to utilities and supporting your home’s foundation.

However, if left unsealed, crawl spaces can also become a breeding ground for unwanted pests, moisture, and drafts. So, you’ll want to install a crawl space door. Not only does it provide easy access to your crawl space, but it also helps keep your home safe and secure from potential hazards. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on installing a crawl space door to protect your home and ensure its longevity. Let’s get into it.

The Two Types Of Crawl Space Doors: Exterior And Interior

There are two main types of crawl space doors: exterior and interior. While both provide access to your crawl space, they differ in their installation location and the level of safety they offer. Let’s discuss each type in detail.

1. Exterior Crawl Space Door

An exterior door is usually installed outside a house and provides direct access to the crawl space from the exterior. This door type is common in mobile homes or houses with underground storage areas. While it’s a convenient option, it can also pose safety risks. That’s why it’s essential to be cautious when considering installing one.

2. Interior Access Doors

An interior crawl space door is typically located inside your house and gives you direct access to your crawl space. It’s attached to rod brackets and supported by the joist nearest the door, which opens parallel to the beams. This door type makes it easy to get in and out of your crawl space and protects unwanted critters like rats, bugs, spiders, and snakes from entering your home through this ground-level opening.

So, whether you’re looking to optimize your living space or need to access your crawl space, a crawl space door is right for you. Just choose the best suits your needs, and always prioritize safety.

Different Materials Are Used To Make Crawl Space Access Door

Three main materials are used to make crawl space opening doors: wood, metal, and plastic. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right one for access space is essential.

1. Wood Doors

Pressure-treated plywood is a common material used to make crawl space doors out of wood. While wooden doors can be easily trimmed to size, metal or plastic doors are more sturdy. That being said, wooden doors offer the advantage of being tightly sealed. We recommend painting your wooden crawl space door to protect against decay caused by moisture exposure. And if you’re using green wood, make sure to allow enough time for it to dry completely before painting.

2. Metal Doors

Metal doors are more durable than wood and won’t deteriorate as easily or quickly. However, they do rust and are more difficult to cut to size. This can make getting a good seal with a metal home’s crawl space door challenging.

3. Plastic Doors

Of the three materials, plastic is the most resistant to the elements. It won’t decay or rust, making it an excellent option for crawl space doors exposed to rain and snow. However, plastic doors are also the most expensive.

So, when choosing a crawl space door, consider the materials that will work best for your needs. Do you want a tightly sealed door easily trimmed to size? Then a wooden door may be your best bet. Are you looking for durability and resistance to rust? A metal door could be the way to go. And if you want the most resistant material but are not okay with paying a little extra, a plastic door might be the right choice.

UV treated plastic current door from Crawl Space Door Systems

Different Functionalities Of Crawl Space Doors

Let’s dive into the functionality of crawl space doors. There are different types of crawl space doors, each with unique benefits and uses.

1. Swing Out Doors

Swing-out doors come in two styles: double and single. Double swing-out doors swing away from the center, while a single swing-out door opens to either side of your unit. These doors provide easy access to your crawl space outside your house. Plus, they’re convenient for accessing the space from either side of the house.

2. Slide Away Doors

Slide-away doors have only one point of access and can be installed where there needs to be more room for both an entry and exit point outside the crawl space. They’re great for crawl spaces under steps or in homes with low ceilings.

3. Insulated Crawl Space Doors

Insulated crawl space doors are designed to provide easy access to the space beneath your home’s foundation. They can be installed as a “walk-in” trim, allowing you to walk right down onto the dirt floor, or as a one-step drop to standing while accessing the truck compartment.

The insulation used in these doors is long-lasting and resistant to dampness, preventing standing water after a rainstorm from leaking into your home through the door. Additionally, the insulation helps keep the air cool in the summer and warm in the winter, keeps mosquitoes out, and deters rats from using the door as an easy route into your home.

Step-By-Step Guide To Install A Crawl Space Door

Crawl space door installation can be simple with the right tools and materials. Here is a step-by-step guide to installing a crawl space door:

Materials Needed

  • Crawl space door
  • Screws
  • Masonry drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Standard screwdriver lock
  • Circular saw
  • Level
  • Pencil

Step 1: Measure The Opening

The first step to installing your crawl space door is to measure the opening where you will be installing the door. Make sure to grab a measuring tape and take accurate measurements of the width and height of the opening. Please write down the measurements so you can refer back to them later. This step is essential to purchasing a door that fits perfectly into the opening.

Step 2: Purchase The Door

Now that you have the opening measurements, it’s time to purchase the perfect crawl space door. Head to your local hardware store or check online for a door that fits the sizes you took. You want to ensure that the door you purchase is made of high-quality materials and is built to last.

Step 3: Position The Door

Now it’s time to position the door in place. Hold the door up to the opening and ensure it is level. You can use a level to check if it’s straight or not. If it’s not level, adjust the door until it is even on all sides, with an equal gap between the door and the opening.

Step 4: Mark The Holes

Using a pencil, mark the location of the holes where you will attach the door. Make sure that the marks are aligned and uniformly distributed. This will ensure that the door is correctly connected to the opening and will be level.

Step 5: Drill The Holes

Using a drill, make holes in the marks you made in step 4. Make sure to use the right size drill bit, so the holes are big enough for the screws to fit through.

Step 6: Install The Door

Line up the holes in the door with the holes you made in step 5. Insert screws through the holes and tighten them with a drill. Use the right size screws to fit snugly into the holes.

Step 7: Test The Door

Finally, test the crawl space door systems to ensure they are properly installed. Open and close the door a few times to ensure it moves freely and is level. If there are any issues, make necessary adjustments to ensure the door is properly installed and secure.

Final position of new door in place of crawl space opening

Benefits Of Installing Crawl Space Door

1. Keeps Out Pests

  • Prevents unwanted critters from entering and causing damage to your home.
  • Provides a barrier against insects, rodents, and other pests.

2. Protects From Weather

  • Regulate the temperature in your crawl space.
  • Helps keep your home comfortable and reduces your energy bills.
  • Protects your home from extreme temperatures.

3. Stops Rain From Entering Crawl Space

  • Keeps your crawl space dry and prevents moisture buildup.
  • Helps prevent mold growth and other moisture-related issues.

4. Saves You Money

  • Assists in controlling the temperature within your household, leading to lower energy costs.
  • Provides long-term cost savings through energy efficiency.

5. Allows Necessary Access

  • Provides easy access to your crawl space for maintenance, repairs, and other tasks.
  • Saves time and hassle compared to accessing a crawl space without a door.

6. Helps Stabilize Crawl Space Environment

  • Prevents moisture buildup and mold growth.
  • Helps maintain a stable, healthy environment in your crawl space.

Overall, a new crawl space encapsulation and door offer a range of benefits, from keeping out pests and weather to saving you money and providing necessary access to your crawl space. If you’re considering a new crawl space door, it’s worth the investment to protect the health and comfort of your home.

Common Challenges People Face While Installing Crawl Space Door

Here are some common challenges people may face while installing a crawl space door, along with step-by-step instructions:

1. Choosing The Right Size And Type Of Door

Measure the opening of your crawl space carefully, as doors come in various sizes and shapes.

Determine what type of door material, such as wood, metal, or plastic, will work best for your needs.

2. Preparing The Installation Area

  • Clear the area around the crawl space entrance and remove any obstructions.
  • Level the ground where the door will be installed.
  • Ensure that the space is tidy and clear of any rubbish or clutter.

3. Installing The Door Frame

  • Position the door frame in the opening and secure it with screws or nails.
  • Use a level tool to make sure your frame is hanging perfectly straight and level.
  • Check that the door frame is square by measuring the diagonals and adjusting if needed.

4. Attaching The Door

  • Install hinges on the door frame and attach the door to the hinges.
  • Ensure that the door moves smoothly when opening and closing.
  • Adjust the hinges as needed to ensure the door is level and secure.

5. Sealing The Door

  • Use weatherstripping or caulking around the edges of the door frame to seal any gaps and prevent air and moisture from entering.
  • Ensure that the door latch or key lock is functioning properly.
  • Test the door to ensure it is secure and has no gaps or leaks.

Addressing Additional Challenges

  • Consider installing a vent to prevent moisture buildup if the crawl space is humid.
  • If the crawl space is prone to flooding, consider installing a flood vent or a sump pump to prevent water damage.
  • If the crawl space is difficult to access, you may need to hire a professional to install the door or modify the space.

By following these steps and addressing any additional challenges, you can successfully install a crawl space door and enjoy better access to your crawl space while protecting your home from air, moisture, and other environmental factors.

Final Thoughts

Installing a crawl space door is essential to home maintenance that can help protect your home and ensure its longevity. Choosing the right type of door and materials can make all the difference in providing easy access to your crawl space while keeping unwanted pests, moisture, and drafts out.

Following the step-by-step guide, homeowners can install a crawl space door with the right tools and materials. Always prioritize safety and choose the door that best suits your needs to maintain the integrity of your home’s structure and foundation, ensuring the safety and security of you and your family.

Crawl Space Insider
Looking for excellent instructional materials on how to repair your crawl space and enhance the indoor air quality of your home? You’ve come to the right place! We cover everything from crawl space encapsulations, waterproofing, mold, insulation and more.