Wood Floor of the Week: A Hidden Door Installed in Plain Sight

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The flooring in older homes in the Aspen, Colo., area has a bit of a quirk, according to Jasmin Ramos of Aspen Hardwood Floors.

“They have a lot of these access doors that have to be made just specifically for plumbing or sometimes electrical” located under the floors, says Ramos, who runs the Aspen-based wood flooring business with her husband, Melvin Ramos.

Normally, these plumbing access doors are discretely located in closets, but a recent project in Carbondale, Colo., had one right out in the open.

“So [Melvin] went ahead and cut some pieces to make it look like [the lid] wasn’t there,” says Jasmin.

Melvin approached the task by first installing the entire floor as usual, but without gluing or stapling the planks in that corner. He loose-laid them over the ¾-inch-thick plywood lid covering the hole in the floor, leaving a 3/16-inch gap next to the board on the edge of the lid so it can be lifted.

Once the 700 square feet of reclaimed red oak was installed in the rest of the home and given a light buff and a coat of Bona Traffic Natural, Melvin returned to the access door boards and removed them. He then cut the tongues and grooves off the boards on the edges of the door so they could sit on top of the subfloor without locking into place with the surrounding boards.

“I then installed it like a regular install and glued it down and stapled it, making sure I didn’t have any glue on those edges,” he says.

The hidden door took less than four hours to complete and lifts straight up to access the house’s plumbing.

“And you can just walk on there with no problem,” Melvin says.

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