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Locking a loft hatch

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j

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Hi,
My brother is going to be working abroad for 2 years, and while he's gone he will be renting his house out.

He's put a few personal possessions in the Loft and now needs to somehow stop the tenants from poking around up there.

I'm trying to come up with an easy way of locking the hatch so that they won't be able to get up there (unless they're determined). Any ideas would be appreciated.

It's just a standard squareish hole with a piece of wood to fit that just drops in. It's a fairly new house, and there should be no need to access the loft as there are no pipes or accessible wires up there.

My first thoughts were to secure a batten above one edge of the hatch, and fitting a hasp and staple at the opposite edge. To lock I'd slide the hatch under the batten, drop it down and lock the other side. The disadvantage of this is that there would be a big padlock hanging down from he hatch which may tempt somebody to try and get in.

Another idea I had was to glue the hatch in place, and then in 2 years time when we need to open it, just force it.

I'm trying to think of some kind of simple mechanism that would lock when we put the hatch in place, but would have nothing visible from below.
I don't mind having to force it open in 2 years time, and any damage could easily be repaired afterwards.

TIA
J
 

9fingers

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Whilst I understand the desire to secure the loft, most houses will have water tanks etc that could need emergency access. It would be worth checking the view that the insurers would take if the owner had put obstacles in the way of reaction to an emergency that then caused an increase in an insurance claim.

Might be better to store the items with a friend?

regards

Bob
 

JFC

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A couple of countersunk screws through the hatch stops and into the hatch then fill the holes with painters mate should to the trick .
 

AndyG

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Most loft hatches sit between the joists. Hinged from one joist, then 'locking' to the other. It may be a bit OTT, but can't you not just use a normal mortise lock that locks into the joist? Or if the door opens parallel to the direction of the joists, locks to a batten perpendicular to the joists.

A bit like this:


All that said, Bob, does have a very good point.
 

j

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Thanks,
I like the lock Idea, I'd have to fit the hinge on the top of the hatch as it's not one that is designed to come down. should be easy enough to fit a couple of hinges and a small lock.

Also, concealed screws sounds good, I'd have to check the thickness of the loft frame, if it's too thin I won't be able to do this. I could also knacker the head of the screw so that it's a pain to get out, that should be REALLY easy, god knows i've done it enough times when not trying :).

There are absolutely no pipes/tanks in the loft, there should be nothing up there that anyone would need access to. All the lighting wires are below the loft boards, so even if the hatch was openable, it wouldn't help get access to anything.

Thanks for the ideas.
 

devonwoody

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How about taking the loft hatch out, replacing with ceiling board and a coat of plaster, repaint the ceiling.

Should do the trick :) , I'm into secret compartments at the moment :wink:
 

SimonA

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I'd have to go with Andy's idea, but then again I would as thats exactly what I have on my loft hatch! I did it this way when I installed a new loft hatch with some fold out stairs, so its rather large. Plus the fact it leaves a nice neat finish.

SimonA
 

AndyG

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devonwoody":1vrtjoqi said:
How about taking the loft hatch out, replacing with ceiling board and a coat of plaster, repaint the ceiling
Not forgetting the detailed map, so two years down the line you know where to start drilling :)
 

pooka

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j":28dgmppg said:
I could also knacker the head of the screw so that it's a pain to get out, that should be REALLY easy, god knows i've done it enough times when not trying :).
You could use security screws. One type that I came across in a local hardware store were like slotted screws, but if you hold the scew with the slot vertical, the top-left and bottom-right quadrants of the screw head were flattened and sloped up to the remaining ridges. As a result, a flat headed screwdriver has something to push against when rotating clockwise and nothing to push against in the other/opening direction. As far as I can remember, they were only a little more expensive than standard screws.

Mind you, I couldn't find any that would fit my task at the time (fitting a bolt to a shed door) so instead I used carriage bolts (domed head, so nothing to grip from the outside), and where I used pozi-head screws I just filled the screw heads with glue when I was done.
 

SketchUp Guru

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Here's another idea you might be able to use. How about some childproofing latches like the one pictured? They use a magnetic key to unlatch them. There is no sign of the latch from the outside.


I know you'd have to work something out with the latch because of the way the it opens.

I use one of them on the forehatch of my sailboat to eliminate any external hardware that might snag lines.

I've got another idea but I need to draw it. Back in a little while.
 

SketchUp Guru

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I was rereading some of the previous posts and had a new idea. Could you make screw the hatch into place around the edges and then cover the screws with new trim to hide them?

I imagine the hatch currently rests on the trim around the opening. Suppose you replaced that with some metal strips with holes drilled for screws. Then screw through the strips into the hatch. Finally put up new trim that is wide enough to cover the metal strips and screws.

All your friend would need to do to access the hatch is pull the trim off to access the screws. Toss the old trim up into the attic before closing up. Then, when he returns, you'll have the old trim to reinstall.
 

frank

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J fit a yale lock then you can get access if needed for repairs ect

frank
 

RogerS

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Mmm..all very good ideas but perhaps taking a step back and having a rethink might be beneficial?

What is the reason for wanting to do this? Presumably to stop the tenants nicking/using/damaging the personal effects. Just how 'personal' are they? Irreplaceable? If so then perhaps find another home for them might be the better option.

If replaceable then are they covered by contents insurance? Does the contents insurance company know that he is renting out the house? Does his policy cover this or is theft excluded? If all covered by insurance etc then why go to all the bother ? Just stick a padlock on it IMHO.

If not covered by insurance couldn't the stuff be put elsewhere anyway? Two years is a long time for the mice/moths/rats to have a feast.

Just my two-pennorth. :)
 

OPJ

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If you are gonna go ahead with it, then you could consider a very simple set of rack bolts.

http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro ... 0&ts=95325

Dead simple to fit, so easy to use and you could use 'em all around the house with one single key. They're cheap for what they are, also.

I remember we had a couple of these in the hinged loft hatch of our last house and it certainly did a good job.
 

devonwoody

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Another method of protecting your privacy, going back to your original thread, would be to rent storeage space at one of those professional storeage situations. Some people regularly use them at their holiday periods and are away from home during that time. I beleive safe deposit type situations are available.
 

j

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There's nothing particularly valuable,
Things I can think of off the top of my head are:
Some textbooks,
Christmas Tree & lights etc
Bikes
Baby Stuff (walker etc)
Toys
CDs
Plates etc
Garden tools
Other tools

He will have full contents insurance for a rented property as he's renting it furnished. He just doesn't want to have to buy absolutely everything again when he comes back. Some of the above stuff may not be in the best condition in 2 years, but most of it should be just as it is now.

He's selling/giving away any electrical goods as they'll probably be completely worthless in 2 years.

Thanks again for all the advice.
 
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