View Full Version : Access Doors

Saint Dave
01-04-2003, 08:27 AM
Looking for ideas...

I am finishing my basement into a large second tv watching / kid's play area. I am struggling with how to frame around the water shut-off valve and the panel box. I also want to leave a box for the cable hookups and where the main telephone line comes in so I can get at them later if I need to. So I need 3 access "doors" - water shut off, panel box, and cable/phone box.

I am looking for ideas as to how to hide these areas. I am thinking about making some raised panel doors to go over these 3 spots - probably make them out of the same wood I will do the trim in. I have seen others simply paint the electric box, but I am not sure that would look so great, plus I want to leave the top open so I could run a wire or 2 into it later on. Someone I work with told me he used a set of shutters to cover his panel box which I thought was a good idea too.

Has anybody done this a different way?

Thanks for your input!

01-04-2003, 09:56 AM
A simple and inexpensive way to make access doors requires only some moulding and plywood. Take some 3.25" colonial base mould and make a frame around the hole in the wall. Cut a piece of 3/4" BC plywood about 1.5" smaller than the frame (leaves 3/4" on each side). Glue and brad a back band moulding around the edges of the door to dress it up a bit.

Paint the door and frame the same color as the wall and mount the door with cabinet hinges and you're done. It will blend in enough to go unoticed at a glance, but will appear to "fit in" when it is noticed.

Tom D
01-04-2003, 10:21 AM
One idea that I have seen that was unusual is to paint the boxes and valves very bright colors. Like the box bright orange and the handle to it bright green. Like I said it wasw unusual but made them into points of interest.

Saint Dave
01-04-2003, 10:26 AM
"...mount the door with cabinet hinges..."

To what do I mount the hinges too exactly? The stud from the framing or the moulding?

I think I'm getting the picture of what you mean in my head. Let me see if I've got this right. If you were looking at the wall, you would see a frame of moulding like a picture frame, with a small door in the middle that has similar matching moulding around the edges. If you were looking down the wall the moulding/door assembly would not be flush with the wall but stick out 1/4 - 3/8 of an inch depending on the width of moulding used. Seems like it would be smart to put these in prior to drywalling. Sound about right?


01-04-2003, 10:42 AM
You're getting the picture right.

What should be done when framing is to frame an access hole over your breaker box, water valve, telephone demarc box, etc. Nail the moulding frame to the framed opening and then mount the door and hinges to the moulding frame. In all, the door and frame will stand out frrm the drywall about 1.25 - 1.5 " depending on the thickness of moulding and plywood that you will use.

01-04-2003, 12:52 PM
If all these utilities are on the same wall or area, why not just frame them in and make yourself a storage/utility closet or small room?


Saint Dave
01-04-2003, 01:32 PM
That would be nice, but they are not all together. I could build a small closet to run along the outside wall and contain everything, but I am not sure I should give up all that floor space. Hmmm, I'll have to go do some measuring...

If I can hinge a 3/4" piece of plywood to a molding I can surely hinge a nice frame and panel door to the same molding. - You can tell I am stuck on that idea, I think I just want to play with my new jointer...


Danford C Jennings
01-04-2003, 01:34 PM
My thoughts exactly....


01-04-2003, 02:18 PM
Needing access to the pump and such on LOML's new deck mounted jacuzzi tub, I cut out the access hole, and mounted two raised panel cab doors that match the bathroom cabinets. On the one wich needs the access, I just used roller catches. It will only be off very occasionally, so it works great. This is the second house I have done this to.

Saint Dave
01-23-2003, 11:03 AM
Just for a quick update...

Stumbling through the big box store the other day and I found small plastic and metal "Access Doors". They fit into the framing/drywall and are paintable. So I may not have to build doors for the water shutoff and the cable/phone access. Guess you just have to ask the right person...

Saint D.