Floor Hatch Hinges


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Old 01-12-23, 07:14 PM
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Floor Hatch Hinges

What kind of hinges do I need to build a hidden floor hatch?

In an old house with a small winding staircase down to the basement. Getting a washer/dryer/furnace up or down that way won't work, so there's currently an 24"x36" access panel in the floor. I'm renovating the floor (and everything around it) and would like for it both to disappear as much as possible, as well as be reasonably easy to use.

So I'm thinking about 2 layers of 3/4" ply, followed by the 3/8" bamboo flooring. But standard hinges would require either the end of the hinge to be showing, or a gap, to allow the hatch to open without binding on itself.

I've found a few "trap door hinges", either which appear to be too small (made for a cabinet door), or in the $600-800 range.

Any suggestions for creating a hatch that is almost invisible once complete?
 
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Old 01-12-23, 11:23 PM
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For something that was only going to be used once in a great while I'd forget the hinges and go with a panel that could just be removed/lifted off.

Maybe some type of flush pull or a threaded inset that could be used to lift the panel out of the opening!
 
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Old 01-12-23, 09:06 PM
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Maybe a few Soss #216's. Any door will require a small gap so as not to bind when it operates. Your flooring might require a gap too if it's a floating floor, because the floor may move slightly.

You could also look into toybox hinges / lid stay hinges.
 
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Old 01-13-23, 07:27 AM
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Maybe a few Soss #216's
Those are great! They looks sturdy and easy to install.

​​​​​​​'d forget the hinges and go with a panel that could just be removed/lifted off.
Yeah, that's my other option. Since the panel is probably 40lbs, it's just a pain to use, then get back into place, etc. For a bit of extra work, I'm thinking it's worthwhile to make it easier to open and close. It'll also hopefully align nicely.

​​​​​​​Thank you both!
 
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Old 01-13-23, 07:57 AM
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If you do put hinges on it, that leading edge will need to be beveled if you want the smallest gap possible.
 
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Old 01-13-23, 08:09 AM
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These are hatches built to preserve basement access through a greenhouse built on a deck. There is heating under the floor of the greenhouse so the hatch covers are hollow and insulated to transmit heat from adjacent joist bays.






When closed the hatch is covered by removable commercial grade carpet tiles.
 
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Old 01-14-23, 07:09 AM
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that leading edge will need to be beveled
Good point, as the panel gets thicker the hypotenuse gets longer and the gap gets bigger!

In that picture I'd bet the gap is at least 1/2" but they have it covered with rug.
 
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Old 01-14-23, 08:09 AM
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The latch edges are beveled. The top gap at the floor is about 1/4 inch covered by the carpet tiles. The leading edge at the bottom is about an inch shorter and lands on a carpeted strip (to minimize air infiltration) along the left edge of the opening.

At one time I considering limiting the position of the open hatches to vertical. You can see the major bevel at the corner of the hatch that opens against the wall/door to allow clearance from the next one.
 
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Old 01-19-23, 06:28 PM
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John, that's pretty cool the way they are setup, especially with the airflow.

I spent part of the weekend re-framing the hole into the basement to give a solid frame. As nice as hinges and gas struts would be... I'm probably going to go for a tighter fit and just lift/drop into place. Since it won't be opened too often.

Though after lifting the old 100lb+ panel, I'm re-thinking that plan!
 
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Old 01-19-23, 06:40 PM
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Consider breaking it up into smaller panels. What are you going to cover it with? If just finish floor, possibly make a framed pattern since “making it invisible” is impossible. How big is the room/area? Maybe the floor pattern could be same size blocks and the panels would blend in. Like a giant parquet floor.
 
 

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