How to Make Your Own Door
Crawl Space Door and Faux Brick Cover
December 2015 - January 9, 2016
On the west side of our home is a
small door that leads to the crawl space underneath
the house. This crawl space, which could also
be considered a basement of sorts, is only
accessible from this outside door.
The crawl space is
unfinished with dirt on the ground and displays all
of the pipes and the foundation for the home.
It is only about 5" 6" high in some areas.
So my husband and I have to hunch over when
walking around down here.
There is a lot of space for storage which is where
my husband has disposed of a lot of junk over the
Periodically I go in here and haul out
junk to place in the trash or take to the citizen
disposal sites in town. I also clear out cobwebs
with my hair.
side of house showing crawl space door
There are several problems with this crawl space,
besides the obvious grossness of it:
1) It needs to stay sheltered from the cold
because of the water pipes.
2) The door needs to be secure to keep out any
juvenile delinquents, burglars, or vagrants.
3) The door needs to be made invisible so that no one
really notices that it exists. Which will in turn,
avoid potential problems with #2 above.
|The door that is currently on the crawl space is
warped, rotted, and ready to fall off. The
door, when we bought the house, was attached to the
outside of the frame with a padlock closure.
The old door opens to the outside. The rain,
sun, and wind all hit this door. There has
been a brick at the bottom of the door that holds
the bottom in place, to keep it from banging in the
All anyone would need to break in this door
is a screw driver. Take off the
accessible hinges or latch screws and you
are in. A pry bar would also work and
would probably be quicker.
warped door on crawl space
Build A New
Crawl Space Door
Since the crawl space door needs to be replaced,
that will be tackled first. The problem with
this opening is that it is not a standard size. Therefore, no standard door exists. So a custom
door needs to be made.
I could have done the easiest thing. Buy
another piece of plywood and slap it on. But I
wanted a door with some substance to it.
Fortunately, I already had most of the supplies I
would need. When the
Raising the Roof project was completed in
2015, the contractor had some left over materials,
which I kept. (Heck, I paid for it!!)
Tip....watch any contractors you hire and gather
their scraps. Do not let them take away a half
sheet of plywood, etc.
What was left was an almost full sheet of of 1/2"
roof sheathing, some very long (about 20 feet) 2" x
2" wood that had been ripped from some 2" x 8"
lumber. I also had a sheet of siding left over
Project. I would build the door
with these materials.
I wanted the door to open to the inside of the crawl
space. This way I can put hinges on the inside
and install a regular door knob or deadbolt.
The door stops already existed and the wood frame
was in decent shape. Measuring inside the door
frame, the space measured roughly 37" x 52-5/8".
So the new door needed to measure a little bit
smaller to fit in the space. The size of the
door would be 36-1/2" x 52-1/4".
There are no photographs showing the construction of
this door because I was in a hurry to just get it
done and it was cold in the garage where I was
compensate for this, I created some graphics which
are much clearer than my photographs would have
frame for the door was made using the scrap
2" x 2" I first needed to cut the 20 foot
long pieces to a reasonable size so I could
work with them. I cut two 55" pieces
and two 40" pieces. I then ripped them
down to a width about 3/4" wide.
When you combine the thickness of the
sheathing, the siding, and the frame.
The crawl space door came out to a thickness
Standard doors are usually 1-3/4" thick.
Since this door would be stronger overall
than a standard door bought at a hardware
store, I was not worried about being a 1/4"
short of the standard. My 4 screw
hinges would fit on the side of the door
The layout of the frame used for the door is
shown to the right.
layout for crawl space door
I cut the framing wood to
the exact lengths I needed for the outside
of the door frame.
The sheathing and siding were then cut to
I laid the piece of sheathing down, rough
side up and placed the frame on. After
I made sure it fit correctly, I glued the
outer frame on the sheathing with wood glue.
With my squaring triangle, I made sure
everything was square. I then clamped
everything and waited until the next day for
the glue to dry.
After the outer frame glue had dried, I
measured and cut the wood for the rest of
the frame. For the door knob/deadbolt
area, I used a piece of scrap plywood.
I wanted this area to be solid wood.
Outside door frame glued to sheathing
the length of the door I added additional
wood to make the door stronger and to allow
longer hinge screws to be used, if needed
I also added some wood going horizontally
along the door. All of this to make it
glued the rest of the frame pieces onto the
I then used some scrap pieces of styrofoam
that were used for packing as additional
Tip....save large pieces of styrofoam used
as packing materials. I use them when
I paint things and they can be used for
The rest of the frame glued to sheathing
styrofoam did not exactly fit the area.
What is there, will help keep out some of
the cold and heat. It also keeps it
out of the landfill.
I then placed wood glue along the top of the
The siding was then carefully placed on top
of the glued frame.
To weigh everything down to make good
contact with the glue, I placed a couple
bags of cement on the door.
The door was then left alone until the glue
dried over night.
Scrap styrofoam used for insulation
the glue had dried I nailed the door.
I used finishing nails on the side with the
siding. On the sheathing side, I used
regular 1" common nails.
I made sure there were no nails where I
would be inserting hinge or deadbolt screws
The door was then carried to the crawl space
for a fitting.
This door is very heavy. I wanted a
substantial door, I got it. No one will be
able to kick a hole into it.
The door fit fine.
It was now time for some sanding. Only the
edges were sanded to make sure it was smooth
Siding then placed on door frame with glue.
Everything nailed after glue dried
The next step was to make the
hole for the deadbolt and the recesses for the door
latch and hinges.
When I had worked on my
house door project, I
purchased doors with the knob holes already bored.
So now I was stuck with the problem of making the
deadbolt holes in the new door.
To make it easy on
myself, I purchased a door lock hole kit.
Everything needed in one kit. The kit
was a little pricey, but I can use it again.
I put it back in the packaging after using
it. This way the parts stay together
and if I sell it to someone else, the kit is
The kit I used was the Dewalt Bi-Metal Door
Lock Hole Saw Kit
How does it work? Great. With my
variable speed drill, I made the two holes
quickly and easily.
DeWalt Bi-metal Door Lock Hole Saw Kit
It took a whole lot longer to
chisel out the door latch and hinge recesses.
The door will have three hinges. The top and
bottom hinges will be placed 5" from the top and
bottom. The center hinge was placed dead
The door was then ready for
The siding side and edges were painted with two
coats of oil based primer.
The sheathing side did not need to be painted, but I
put a coat of primer on anyways. The siding
side was then painted with the same beige latex
paint I have used on the rest of the house exterior,
after the primer had dried.
The door was left to dry for a couple of days.
The hardware was then installed on the door. I
used a one-sided dead bolt for this door. This
way there is no way someone will be locked inside
the crawl space by accident or maliciously. The deadbolt is
keyed with the same key used on the other doors in
the house, so there will be no extra key needed.
I bought some large grip handles to pull the door
open or closed and installed them on both sides of
New door installed on crawl space
The deadbolt ended up on an area of the siding where
there is a groove. To keep water from getting
inside the lock mechanism, I sealed the top area of
the lock with clear caulk.
On the frame, to accommodate where the hinge
would attached in the middle of the wood
frame, instead of at the edge, extra wood was
chiseled out so the hinge sleeves and
knuckles would operate freely.
I still need to sand the door frame and
stop. I want to paint these areas
I will also be installing some weather
stripping on the new door.
Crawl space door now opens to inside
In the meantime, I have left the
flimsy old door on until I finish all of the
frame painting and weather stripping.
Weeks of cold and wet weather keep me from doing
this for now.
There is also the problem of the now exposed
door stop and wood frame after I remove the
old door. This recessed area in
the brick is now even more recessed with the
new door installed on the inside of the
The new door has solved two of the three
problems I listed above. 1) The door now
provides better insulation to protect the
pipes and 2) is more secure to protect against
Inside crawl space with the crawl space door closed
But what about making the crawl
space appear invisible?
What if I made a cover
for the outside of this opening?
Something that would lift easily out of the
way to provide access to the door.
This cover could then be painted a faux
brick pattern to match the existing brick.
From a distance, it would appear as if there
was no opening on the side of the house.
This cover would also provide protection
from the rain and sun.
I am not sure my idea will work or how long
it will last, but I am going to try it out
Hinge side of door
Build A Cover
to Hide the New
Crawl Space Door and Opening
The opening I need to cover on the outside of the
crawl space measures 40" x 54-5/8". Based on
this, you can see why I actually needed a 4' x 8'
What I did was cut a piece that was 36"
x 54-5/8" and then cut 4" pieces and attached them
to the side with white duct tape.
I made flaps on the long ends that will help
hold the board in place. To make the flaps, I scored the board
only half-way through and then folded it on
Now the width of the board is 40" with flaps
that will help hold the board in place in
Completed crawl space cover with handles
Completed crawl space cover showing side flap on one
the board more rigid, along the bottom and
side, I used some pvc trim board and screwed
them on the sheet.
I bought two cheap plastic handles and
screwed them on through the board and pvc
trim. I only used the pvc in the lower
section because it is all that is really
needed. I also want to keep this piece
The board was fitted in place and with an
utility knife some board was shaved off to
fit around uneven brick areas.
Completed crawl space cover with pvc trim
screwed on bottom and side
the board was fit into the crawl space
opening and all the edges were tweaked to
fit around the bricks of the opening, I made
the markings for the faux brick and mortar.
The goal is to make the
board blend into the existing surrounding
bricks. This means I have to paint on
the exact location of where the mortar and
bricks end on the real surface.
Marked the board where the faux brick and
mortar will be painted on.
The top is uneven showing areas that were
shaved away to fit around the
bricks around crawl space opening
taping out the brick pattern, I gave the
board a light sanding to roughen up the
smooth surface so the spackling and paint I
will be using will stick on better.
I then taped the brick pattern on.
I used 1/2" masking tape. This tape
width is very difficult to find in hardware
or car part stores. I ordered the tape
online from Amazon for my cement faux brick
(See these here)
The one thing the bricks do not have at this
point, is any texture. So I picked up
some lightweight spackling and primer patch.
Brick pattern masked out onto board
of spackling should do, to add texture.
This is just what I found on-hand at Sherwin
Williams when I was buying the brick paint.
If your bricks have only a slightly rough
surface, you can probably just use a spray
texture and then paint.
3M Patch Plus Primer
For this board, I used the entire
32 oz container of spackling.
Before the spackling dried, I removed most of the
masking tape. If you wait until the spackling
is hard, the tape will be harder to remove and some
chunks of spackling will be pulled off with the
The product says you can paint in an hour.
In a 62 degree room, where this board was drying,
there were still some areas that were not dry a few
hours later. I would suggest waiting overnight
for the spackling to harden completely before
texture being added to board
texture after tape removed
The bricks on this house are
unusual. It looks like the lighter color is
paint on top of the terra cotta colored bricks.
It is not. The lighter color was added on top
of the brick when it was made. It is a very rough
and random finish.
When purchasing the paint, I took a brick with me to
the paint store to match it. I purchased a
quart of the lighter color and a quart of the darker
color. I will mix the two to get the
The lighter color is the dominant color when you
look at a large section of the brick. I will
start with painting all the bricks the darker color
and apply the lighter colors on top.
The other color needed is a gray for the mortar.
This color I already had on-hand.
on the house
painted the dark brick color onto the
textured bricks on the board.
This step was nothing more than the task of
just getting all of the bricks covered in
The next step with the paint is the artistic
part. Painting the light color on to
mimic the pattern on the existing bricks.
To do this, I just looked at a particular
brick from the photograph above and copied
it. For the next brick, I looked at
the brick next to it. I also painted
some of the grey mortar.
When I finished painting three bricks, I
took the board outside to see how it blended
First coat of dark brick paint
bricks at the top right painted to match brick
of the three painted faux bricks (bottom row)
The photos of the painted bricks
above were taken when it was overcast. My
paint job mimicking the brick pattern was dead-on.
However, the colors are a little off. The dark
color needs a little more red and the light color
needs to be a little more yellow. It was
difficult at the paint store matching the colors to
the brick I had with me. So I am not surprised
I did not match the colors exactly.
My grey mortar color is a little light. I will
be mixing some black in to darken it.
What I am going for is a crawl space cover that is
almost invisible. When the cover is painted
and put in place over the crawl space hole, no one
from the street level will notice the color
variation. Close-up, perhaps.
I also have to take into
account that the sun will fade this paint. How
much and to what color it will fade to, is not
I will continue painting the bricks with my existing
colors. When the board is put in place over
the crawl space hole, I will see if the colors are too
noticeable. If they are, I will pick up some
red and yellow paint and do a light brush wash on
After I finished painting the faux bricks on the
board it was time to put the faux brick cover in
I removed the old warped outer door.
outer door removed. Ready to put faux brick
door cover in hole
brick door cover put in-place covering crawl space
cover fits tightly in place. The flaps along
the sides help hold it in place. The
corrugated plastic has to be worked in along
The cover is flush with the edge but could
be pushed in about an inch more.
To remove the cover, you just grab the
handles and gently pull it out. Yes, the
handles were painted also.
I think it came out pretty decent looking,
even though the colors are a little off.
From a distance, it is hard to tell that
there is an opening.
Close-up of faux brick panel in place over
crawl space door
Goal #3 has been accomplished,
the door is now almost invisible from the street
level. In fact, most people would not notice
anything at all, unless it was pointed out to them.
Although not water tight, the cover will keep a lot
the rain, wind, and rain from hitting the new crawl
As for the crawl space opening, it will be sanded
down, cracks sealed, and given a fresh coat of
paint. This way the door frame will be weather
ready in case my faux brick door cover fails.
I will update this web page if I run into any
problems with the faux brick door cover. If
you come across this page, sometime in the future,
and don't see an update here, you can assume it is
still holding up fine.