The Cellar Door

I have a redwood deck.

By which I mean I have a deck, made of wood, that someone painted red.

It’s not large. Or very useful. It’s most distinguishing feature is that is makes access to the outside door to the basement a pain.

The basement outside door is just to the east of the back door in the kitchen (and 10 feet down). The stairs run thence east and up to ground level. The deck wraps around the stairwell from the back door east to parallel with the end of the stairwell. Which makes a tight little corner getting anything down those stairs.

The stairwell was covered, when we moved in, with a sloping sheet of plywood. Which was rotting. And was so heavy and at such an awkward angle that it was damn near impossible to swing open, and a hazard when open that it would fall closed again. I removed it.

The next time it rained heavily I saw by the puddle coming in under the basement door that I needed to replace it with something to keep most of the rain out of that stairwell.

So I put a new sheet of plywood over the hole, intending to paint/seal it, and put hinges on, and a pull-rope to get the damn thing open. That was maybe 10 years ago. It’s rotting now and impossible to open.

My new plan is to take a blue plastic tarp and affix a series of slats to it, and run a rope down both edges. To open it I can pull the ropes from standing on the deck at the top end, which will gather the slats up toward me. To close it I can pull the ropes back down to the low end, laying the slats and the tarp back down over the hole.

I’ll let you know how well it works out in real life.


A guy in his early 50s, living more or less alone in a 90-year-old house, trying to keep it all together.

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One comment on “The Cellar Door
  1. Sam Paris says:

    Few things are as permanent as a temporary fix. Good luck!

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