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Making a weatherproof door/hatch

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  • Making a weatherproof door/hatch

    I will be doing some work later this year where I will be wanting to make a weatherproof door/hatch that works.

    I am looking for examples of doors/hatches that members have built that have worked.

    A combination of wood and metal doors/hatches would be of interest also.

    The details I am especially interested in are the mating edges between the deck and the door/hatch.

    These same requirements would also be ones that a trailer would use so if you have an example of a door/skylight/vent that has proven to be weatherproof I would like to see it.

    FWIW...when one looks for examples that work, you seldom find the details are shown in vendor documentation or the Internet.

    Thanks

    TMT

  • #2
    It's gone now, but at one time I had a back door on my landcruiser that was the rear wall (homemade body) It hinged at the bottom and the seal was up the sides and over the top. What I found was that I couldn't rely on the seal to give enough resistance to the latch to keep the door tight. What I ended up doing is arranging the latches to pull the door tightly to some fixed blocks. Once the door was latched shut, a fairly small but consistent space was left between the door and the opening it fit into. That space was where the seal was put. I found that even the cheap foam tape worked well like that.

    The trick is that the door doesn't need the seal to be able to shut tightly and remain tight. The fixed blocks I made had a locating pin which fit into a mating hole on the door to prevent the door from constantly shifting around on the seal.

    So- my advice is to make whatever hatch it is to have its own fixed points of closure, whereupon a consistent gap is left for the seal to fit into. Be aware that you will have to compress against that seal in order to close the door or hatch, but the seal doesn't define the point where the door is in closed position.

    There was a window seal strip that I used once with good results. It's a hollow, rubber-like extrusion with a peel-off sticky strip. That worked for me except where the surfaces it was applied to were rough. The sticky kind of dried up though-
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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    • #3
      We installed a tubular door seal on an Aztec that had an inflator to pressurize the tube after the door was latched. The inflator was similar to the bulb and valve used on a blood pressure cuff. It was very effective at eliminating noise and drafts in the plane.

      How often do you intend to open/close the hatch? Will it be exposed to driving rain? Is the surface vertical or horizontal? How quickly does it have to be removed/installed or open/closed? How large is the opening?
      Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

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