Trap doors on the floor or in the ground provide benefits that range from concealing valuable items to masking shelters or hiding places. The biggest benefit of trap doors is that they are relatively easy to make. The biggest drawback is making them as obscure as possible. Let’s look at a few things to think about before constructing some of your own.
The structural integrity of the door must be sound no matter where it is going to be used. It must be able to support the weight of people who may walk over it as well as the weight of the items that are masking its presence. Doors that sag, creak, slip or fail under pressure can instantly lead to the discovery of your treasure trove in addition to potentially causing injury.
Keep in mind that the person who walks above your stockpile may not have nefarious purposes in mind, and you don’t want them to become an innocent victim. You also don’t want to entice them into taking advantage of the bounty they have just discovered.
A trap door loses its effectiveness as soon as it stands out from its surroundings. It is important that you construct the door to match the area around it. For example, if you are making a secret door on a wood floor, it needs to blend with the surrounding wood in addition to having the same feel as the rest of the floor.
Someone walking on the door may be able to easily detect a difference if the door doesn’t match the rest of the floor. Maybe the wood isn’t as soft or flexible. Perhaps the floor doesn’t squeak or the steps sound differently. No matter the reason, you want to make sure that you build the door to be as masked and indistinguishable as possible.
Padding and Cover
You also need to camouflage the trap door so that it blends in perfectly with its surroundings as well. Follow wood panels or grains. Place them in areas of the floor that does not receive a lot of foot traffic, such as in a corner of the room or underneath a couch. Consider placing the door on flooring that is carpeted or tiled. Detecting a trap door covered in tile or carpeting is far more difficult than wood, and they are also far easier to construct and conceal.
For doors outside, it’s important the the door is covered with natural brush and debris that matches the surrounding area. It also needs to have the same feel as the surrounding ground as well. The best way to do this is to fill the door with earth, sand, gravel, mulch and or compost before adding the upper layers. This will provide a form of cushioning that will closely resemble the surrounding terrain.
You can start to build the top layers of camouflage once this foundation has been established. It’s important to secure the top layers in place so that wind, rain, snow and erosion doesn’t cause the camouflage to disappear. You also want to frequently check the condition of the top of the door in order to re-cover the area when necessary.
Finally, consider how you can make walking over or near the trap door as unattractive to someone as possible. Place it near thorn bushes or thick brush. Place it near large rocks and put smaller ones on top of the door. For inside doors, put it in part of the room that they are least likely to walk on or underneath furniture that is not likely to be moved.
These are just a few things to think about as you consider how to make your trap door harder to detect. Remember that the idea is to keep people away in the first place. However, you also want to make sure that anyone who wanders near or over the door will have no clue as to what lies beneath their feat.