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Old 01-13-2012, 12:39 PM   #1
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best door solution for basement under ductwork


I'm currently framing my basement (14 year old townhome), and I'm trying to decide the best way to tackle an entracne that leads to the front basement (all mechanicals/applicance located there). The back of the basement is under my kitchen, dining room and family room. very straight forward framing job back there.

I have a lam-beam and hvac trunk line running right down the middle of the basement. The hvac line turns into the opening into the front basement, where the heater is. There is only one entry to this area.

Now I planned on building a soffit to enclose the beam and duct. However, the bottom of the duct is about 73" above the floor. with 2x2 framing and 1/2" sheetrock, and 1/2" wiggle room, I only have 70" of headroom.

I can't use a prehung door to open into the mechanical area because if it opens to the right, it will hit interference from my sewer line (attached to the cinderblock wall on the right. I can't use one to open in to the left, because it will block the light switch and there is no other lighting back there, and I can't tell my wife to go in, close the door in darkness, and try to find the switch.

I've also considered a pocket door, but I can't seem to find one that would meet my height requirement.

Any ideas??? I've also thought about a bifolding door, but again height seems to be my biggest issue.

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Old 01-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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best door solution for basement under ductwork


Why is cutting any of these types of doors down to a shorter height not an option? Sounds like it is that, or hit and obstruction or obscure the switch.

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Old 01-13-2012, 12:56 PM   #3
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I'd move the light switch. Never liked the hobbit door look.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:57 PM   #4
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guess I was just over thinking it. I'm maybe 5'8", my wife is under 5', so I guess height wouldn't be an issue if the door is cut down to fit. no language in building code regarding the minimum height for interior doors?

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Old 01-13-2012, 01:22 PM   #5
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well, I was pidgeon hole-ing myself it would seem into the pocket door. I really didn't want to buy a kit (say johnson harware) then hack it the split studs up to meet the height requirement. specifically, the metal parts of the split studs.

I never even considered this:

http://www.jhusa.net/2610f.aspx

Its not the first option I would have considered, but it would let me use a plenty wide enough door in the event that the heater/appliances need to be replaced...
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:04 PM   #6
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I'd move the light switch. Never liked the hobbit door look.
If that is all that stops you on that side then move the switch.
Also doors do not have to open more than 90degrees.

Could you post some pics and drawings? It might help us in giving you the best advice.
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:17 PM   #7
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best door solution for basement under ductwork


how often will you use this door, may 3-4 times a year? unless something happens to mechanicals

keep framing as high as you can, get a prehung door pre drilled for lock set. buy cheap kwikset closet knob no lock. get door to open out not in, cut door down to size needed, cut top of door off! or get on knees to turn knob.

tear 1 3/4 door style out of cut off top, clean it up, tear cardboard out of new top and replace style with gluing it in staple if you can? 2 1/2" finish nails through outside into style. buy one of those adaptors for lights with a pull chain, remove light bulb, leave switch on screw in adaptor, run string through eye hooks to beside door, so can pull string as needed?

you'll lose top door hinge, mortise and replace if you like? 2 hinges will hold for few years no more than will be used!
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:45 PM   #8
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how often will you use this door, may 3-4 times a year? unless something happens to mechanicals

keep framing as high as you can, get a prehung door pre drilled for lock set. buy cheap kwikset closet knob no lock. get door to open out not in, cut door down to size needed, cut top of door off! or get on knees to turn knob.

tear 1 3/4 door style out of cut off top, clean it up, tear cardboard out of new top and replace style with gluing it in staple if you can? 2 1/2" finish nails through outside into style. buy one of those adaptors for lights with a pull chain, remove light bulb, leave switch on screw in adaptor, run string through eye hooks to beside door, so can pull string as needed?

you'll lose top door hinge, mortise and replace if you like? 2 hinges will hold for few years no more than will be used!
actually, the door would be used multiple times a day. this area of the basement also houses our clothes washer & dryer.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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best door solution for basement under ductwork


also, as it turns out, I must've been drunk or something last time I measured. the bottom of the Lam Beam is 80.5" above the concrete floor. so even with 2x2 framing for the soffit, and 1/2-5/8" sheetrock, plus some wiggle room, I'd still have over 77", so I was definitely thinking it was worse than it is.

thanks for all the replies.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:54 PM   #10
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best door solution for basement under ductwork


I would never use 2X to frame in that duct work. It's going to split when screwed or nailed together, may sag once the rocks attached over time.
Use 2 X 4's laying flat.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:15 PM   #11
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best door solution for basement under ductwork


JOem01 Could you post some pictures and/or drawings it really would help us to give the best advice, sort of helps us to be there and see it.

For under the ductwork how far is it? I go up to 3feet with 1x4 on the flat.
If you used drop ceiling tiles under there and it is less than 4feet (tiles are 2' by 4') or if over that and you can get a wire up between the duct and beam or on the bottom of the beam to support the drop ceiling track it is a total of 1inch.

Sometimes for looks you can put the door just in front of the beam/ductwork and use a full size door and swing it outward. When you open the door then you see the beam hanging down behind it.

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