While floor paneling has long been considered a classic look, sometimes an access panel is necessary. A lot of paneling products are installed using tongue and groove flooring, which was a popular style back in the late seventies. These tongue and groove connectors are generally used in hardwood flooring, and since these connectors are easy to install, their popularity has been steadily increasing. Making an access panel in tongue and groove flooring is a simple DIY project, requiring some simple and basic tools.
Step 1 – Inspecting the Floor
It is easy to install access panels in raised floors. These access panels are used to inspect the floors. Check if any such openings have been built in at the time of assembly of the tongue and grove flooring. If there are no inspection openings installed in the floor, proceed to step 2.
Step 2 – Taking the Measurements
Depending on your needs, choose the spot where you want to have the access panel. For a built floor that has already been laid without any access panels, you will need to do some measuring and cutting. You can create a modular grid by using your measuring tape and a pencil. Make the markings sufficiently visible so that you can make the cuts accordingly. Since this is tongue and groove flooring, the floor panels can be taken out easily and may not need to be cut through.
Step 3 – Cutting in the Access Panels
You can use a festo plunge to cut in an opening. Cut out the first board along the measurements you have marked on the floor. Once the first board is taken out, the rest of the flooring will be rather simple to remove. Unfasten the tongues from the grooves, and take out the flooring board by board.
Once you have removed the boards from the floor, you will have the desired dimensions of the access panel. It is important to take the measurements in a way that you remove complete boards so that the rest of the floor is not ruined. Ideally, an access panel measures about 24x24 inches.
Step 4 – Finishing the Floor
While installing an access panel in a raised floor, you may need to add extra pedestals in the interior corners of the boards that you have cut through. This gives the entire structure the stability that it requires.
Once you have inserted the pedestals and glued then on the floor boards, saw off any protruding and unclean edges. Use sandpaper to further clean off the edges. You can use thick sealing tape along the edges of the access panel to give it a clean look.