How to Build a Cover for a Crawl Space

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Building a hinged cover for a crawl space is an easy job.
Building a hinged cover for a crawl space is an easy job. (Image: hinge image by musk from Fotolia.com)

Crawl spaces offer access under your home for for workmen. Similar nooks and crannies exist in older homes and typically are used for additional storage space. However, if you have young children in the house a crawl space can be a hazard. A hinged cover can be built to prevent access to the space. A hinge and latch setup will keep the space covered but allow access for stowing goods. The materials needed to build a cover might even be found in your garage or purchased at a home improvement store.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 1 sheet of 1-1/2 thick piece of plywood (wide and tall enough to cover crawl space opening)
  • Coarse- and medium-grit sandpaper
  • Saw (hand or electric)
  • Electric drill
  • Phillips head bit
  • 1 box of 2-1/2-inch wood screws
  • 1 box of 1-inch wood screws
  • 2 hinges
  • Bolt-style gate latch
  • Oil lubricant

Measure the width and height of the crawl space using a measuring tape. Add 1-1/2 inches to these measurements. The values represent the dimensions of your crawl space cover.

Cut the plywood to the measurements using a hand or electric saw. Sand the edges with coarse-grit sandpaper, followed by a medium-grit sandpaper. Continue until the corners and edges are smooth.

Attach the hinge plates to an edge of the crawl space wall using an electric drill, a Phillips bit and 2-1/2-inch wood screws. Space the hinges a few inches from the corners of where the cover will open to the crawl space.

Secure the hinge plates to the plywood using 1-inch wood screws. Open the cover to make sure it swings out. Close the cover.

Attach the slotted part of the latch to the opposite side of the crawl space opening using 2-1/2-inch wood screws.

Screw the bolting part of the latch to the adjacent edge of the cover with 1-inch wood screws. Make sure that the two parts of the latch line up correctly and that the bolt fits into the slot before tightening the screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lubricate the hinges and latch mechanism for smoother opening and closing.
  • If you wish to paint and/or finish the cover of the crawl space, do so after Step 2.

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