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Re: [Shop-talk] Making a trap door safe

To: Jim Stone <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Making a trap door safe
From: Ian McFetridge <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 15:26:27 -0500
Cc: shop talk <>
References: <COL002-W1048A23F3C46AD557E1B9A5CC2C0@phx.gbl>
It sounds like you need some sort of interlock, such that someone cannot
use the trap door unless something is blocking people from falling into
it.  One way to do it would be to put a second trap door or metal framed
barrier beneath the trap door such that after opening the trap door toward
the bathroom you have to then lift the send door that blocks the hallway.
I suppose you could connect the door doors with a cable or track system,
but I think that would be more trouble than it is worth.  Padlocking the
trap and covering it with a rug for renters is probably what a lawyer would
recommend -- and what I would probably do when I'm not there.

- Ian

On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM, Jim Stone <> wrote:

> My new vacation/rental property has one feature that makes me very nervous:
> access to the basement is through a trap door in the floor.  It is a small
> house and the trap door sits in a hallway with the two bedrooms on each end
> and the bathroom in the middle.  The door is hinged on the bathroom side,
> so
> that the bathroom is blocked when it is up.  I hope that description is
> clear.
> I can try to do a better job if not.
> Here s the problem: the washer and dryer are in the basement.  Under any
> circumstances, it is easy to imagine someone falling in the hole when the
> door
> is open (I have come somewhat close once already), but here is the scenario
> that most frightens me.  My wife wakes up in the morning and decides to
> throw
> a load into the laundry before everyone wakes up.  I wake up while she is
> down
> there and groggily walk towards the bathroom and straight into the 2  by 4
> hole in the floor.  (Actually, my greater fear is that this happens to a
> renter, who then sues me for every penny I have.)
> It is a very small (780 sq ft) cottage and there is no way to reposition
> the
> steps without adding on to the house and changing the layout.  That is
> actually something we plan on doing in a couple of years, but can t do
> right
> now.  The financial model that allows us to own this place assumes that we
> rent it out for the summer season each year, and we need to get it on the
> market soon.  The only option I have come up with is to padlock the door
> and
> make the renters go outside and enter the basement through the garage door.
> However, I am hoping someone here has a better idea.  I will be there in a
> few
> weeks and would love to find a simple solution to the problem.
> As always, thanks!
> Jim
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