I never really paid much attention in woodwork class at school. I always figured that as and when I needed furniture, cabinets or shelving it would be a lot simpler to buy than to build! 🙂

My old woodwork teacher would therefore have been amazed to see me in the Home Depot lumber aisle the other day picking out wood for a project… make a ‘hatch’ to cover the opening to the roof from our balcony. When it rains hard we get a lot of water on the house wall, window and A/C unit directly under this opening. With the rainy season right around the corner, I decided it was high time to take action.

The opening is approx 9ft x 4ft, so quite a large space to cover. We needed to still be able to get up to the roof from time to time, so I figured some sort of fixed wooden cover with a trapdoor would be best. I originally considered doing a sliding hatch, but abandoned that idea during the design phase as too complicated! 🙂 Instead I settled on a double hinged door design (so it wouldn’t be too big and heavy for my better half to use!).

With the wood bought (and cut to size by the helpful Home Depot guys), I proceeded to prime and paint the various pieces with waterproof paint. Several coats and days later, I fitted the hinges and took the whole assembly up to the roof and fitted the remaining hardware (handles, latches and corner braces).
I used corner braces on the sides of the concrete surround of the opening rather than drilling directly into the top surface because we didn’t want holes in our new waterproof foam. Lastly, I cut strips from a tarp and used some heavy duty (gorilla) tape to make waterproof covers for the hinged sections, so fingers crossed, water won’t drip down through the gaps.

I’m not the fastest worker, so this is a lot quicker to write about than it was to do! 🙂
I try to stick to the “measure twice, cut once” theory that someone once told me… and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my woodwork teacher!

We’ve had some light rain since it has been up there and so far, so good. The real test will come when it get its first torrential downpour. The whole contraption seems very sturdy, so it should easily stand up to the normal wind and rain storms we get during the summer. My guess is it would even withstand a small hurricane, but we don’t plan on finding out! If there is ever a really big storm approaching, we’ll be taking it down and storing it for the duration. Discretion is the better part of valour, as they say.