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How do I prevent instant death from the loft hatch falling open?

(16 Posts)
StuntNun Sun 13-Jan-13 04:04:16

I was woken up at 12:30 tonight by the loft hatch falling open with a great big crash. Again. It happens on a regular basis, every couple of weeks at least. There is a catch to keep it closed but I suspect it was fitted very poorly by DH who is inadequate when it comes to DIY that the timbers around the hatch move slightly when it's cold and the catch no longer holds, which is why is mostly happens at night.

Can anyone suggest how I can keep it closed? I'm no good at DIY myself so I need a pretty basic solution. The hatch fell open when DS1 was right underneath it one time and he's lucky he was slightly too short for it to hit him on the head. As it was he got an awful shock. It's very loud and there's a hole in the wall where it comes smashing down. This has been going on for years so clearly DH isn't going to do anything about it. Can anyone offer a simple way to keep it securely closed other than nailing it shut tomorrow?

SquidgyMummy Sun 13-Jan-13 04:22:42

can you not attach nail a rope to the door and inside of hatch so it cannot open fully?
Or some kind of webbing strap with a strong plastic catch.
this sort of thing ???

Or screw 2 bits of chain with a catch in the middle

I'm not great at diy either...

StuntNun Sun 13-Jan-13 04:28:46

Oh Squidgy that's a brilliant idea. I should have asked on here two years ago! I was all for nailing the damn thing shut tomorrow!

summerglory Sun 13-Jan-13 04:30:09

We r having the same problem. Dh is going to fit a lock over the door a bit like one you'd find on a bathroom door. Good luck!

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 10:51:54

If neither of you is good at DIY, a small bolt will be fairly easy to fit, and fairly strong. Sometimes they are very cheap in the hardware section of Tesco and Aldi. If you paint it white to match the ceiling it will not catch the eye. Galvanised ones are easier to paint than black ones. A chunky gate bolt will accomodate movement without jamming, a small bathroom bolt has to be very precise

Having a safety-chain on a couple of cup-hooks will prevent it falling far if unsupported.

One of these would be much nicer and can be opened with your hook-on-pole

nocake Sun 13-Jan-13 15:51:13

Why not get a proper catch fitted by someone who knows what they're doing?

StuntNun Sun 13-Jan-13 15:54:32

I have perhaps maligned my DH; the catch that he fitted works and appears to be holding securely but then the hatch falls open in the middle of the night causing me to think I'm having a heart attack. I got the joiner to look at it and he reckoned it was fitted correctly. So I think there is movement between the two parts of the catch when the house cools down at night that is allowing just enough movement for the catch to open under the weight of the hatch.

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 16:06:55

is it a touch latch?

they sometimes open when wind rattles the hatch.

A bolt will not come undone.

StuntNun Sun 13-Jan-13 16:21:51

It's a bit like this one only with a plastic loop instead of a key so it can be opened with the loft pole.

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 16:51:41

nope, can't see the link.

what's it called?

StuntNun Sun 13-Jan-13 17:38:27

Oh sorry, the link was to a mobile site, it's a Cam Lock.

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 17:50:31

oh, one of these?

maybe it needs a longer locking bar (the steel strip that pivots round into the slot in the frame). They are taken off by removing the nut (usually, or sometimes a locking washer) from the end of the spindle. Various lengths are available

you might have to look on ebay for a supplier, it is such a cheap part that lock merchants don't usually sell it, but they sell locks with different lengths. Try the supplier you got the original from.

beware that the sizes on here refer to the depth of the cylinder, not the length of the bar.

Is it possible that the lock was not turned far enough for the bar to fully engage?

RustyBear Sun 13-Jan-13 18:00:49

We have one of those on our loft hatch - and it did exactly the same thing - swung down in the middle of the night and smashed a picture on the wall. So lucky there wasn't anyone walking by at the time! I'm not sure if the was movement or whether someone hadn't turned the catch properly

We now have a bolt which was easy to fit and holds it firmly, we don't use the catch any more. The only downside is that you have to get a stool to reach the bolt to open the hatch.

StuntNun Mon 14-Jan-13 04:54:54

I'm going to give the fanlight catch a try since the current catch isn't holding very well, a belt and braces approach. Thank you very much for all your replies, especially Piglet. Now I can't believe how long we've been putting up with it falling open!

StuntNun Sat 27-Apr-13 10:51:04

I should have put an update on here before now, but thanks to PigletJohn the loft hatch is now secured with a fanlight catch and I am no longer in danger of instant death!

PigletJohn Sat 27-Apr-13 15:06:25

I love a happy ending!

the fanlight catch looks very neat, I think.

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