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How do I Choose the Best Crawl Space Door?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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The crawl space beneath a home provides access for maintenance and repair of pipes, wiring, and other equipment. A crawl space may also serve as a storage area in homes with no basement. In order to access this area, homeowners must install a crawl space door, which can be located inside the house or out. The right crawl space door not only keeps the space secure and allows for convenient access, but also helps to prevent moisture problems and maximize energy efficiency. Choosing the right door can also minimize pest infiltration and reduce the risk of mildew and mold.

Manufacturers construct crawl space doors from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and composites. Wood offers an attractive finish, but leaves the crawl space susceptible to termites and moisture damage. A metal crawl space door offers increased security and resistance against termites, but may rust or corrode when exposed to moisture. Composite doors made from thermoplastics often provide the highest level of moisture resistance and durability, but may also come with a higher price tag.

Homeowners can choose from doors with a built-in frame, or those that come with trim kits to create a finished look. Some fit right into a hole cut into the crawl space, eliminating the need for a frame. In special applications, it may be more cost-effective to construct a crawl space door at home from wood or metal.

When choosing a crawl space door, look for units that feature sturdy construction and a secure lock. Check that the door is easy to operate, and look for heavy-duty locks and hinges that will hold up over time. Stick to moisture-resistant materials whenever possible, including stainless steel, thermoplastics, or galvanized steel. Review the installation requirements before you buy to ensure the door meets your needs.

Choosing a door with built-in insulation can help keep your home more comfortable and minimize energy loses. Look for foam or batt insulation lining the door surface, and check for seals around the entire perimeter or the door and frame. Quality seals can also keep excess moisture out of the crawl space, reducing the risk of rot or mold.

The right crawl space door will not only function as intended, but will also blend in with the rest of your home's appearance. On the exterior of the home, look for a unit that can be painted to match the surrounding surface, or choose a pre-finished unit that matches or complements your siding. When choosing a crawl space door for inside the home, appearance may be less of a concern if the door will be located in an out-of-the-way area.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By mobilian33 — On Oct 29, 2014

This article makes a good point about the importance of a crawl space door that will help decrease moisture under the house. In a lot of climates this is the first place where mold will start to grow. Termites like damp places, too, so this is another good reason to find a door that will help prevent any moisture issues in the crawl space.

By Drentel — On Oct 28, 2014

@Feryll - You said you have three crawl space doors. Are all three of them necessary? Since you have the two that are working for you, you might want to consider simply closing off the third door, unless it allows you access to a part of the house you can't reach by using the other two doors.

By doing this, you will probably be able to keep out more of the cold air and the critters. You might also want to invest in some crawl space insulation if you haven't already. The insulation I put in my crawl space lowered my heating bills and we feel much warmer in the winter now that we have insulation in the attic and in the crawl space.

By Feryll — On Oct 27, 2014

Our house has three crawl space doors on the outside of the house, and only one of them is in good working order. This one closes tightly and it has a little latch lock on the outside. This is good because the door stays secure and keeps animals from going into the space.

One of the three doors is actually a piece of wood held in place by a brick propped up against it. Actually, this works well enough--just not the most visually pleasing door I have ever seen. The third door looks like it was once a good door, but the hinges have come unfastened from the frame and the door is just hanging there.

In addition to an assortment of animals going under the house, the unsecured door also allows in a lot of cold air during the winter and this means frozen pipes if it gets really cold.

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