I had my dad kindly cut out a piece of 18mm plywood months and months ago using his jigsaw. (My dad is a bit of a badass with a jigsaw, and I know I'm most certainly not! This was also in the days before my circular saw became a big part of my life). But alas, it sat in the spare bedroom for months, waiting for me to do something with it. The piece of board I used was actually a bit warped, but was the straightest piece in the pile at Wickes so determined as I was, I decided I could make it work. We used the old loft hatch as a template.
I started by trying to make it as flat as possible by attaching two battens across the board. One of the battens (the one at the edge) would be used to help attach the hinges, but the one further in from the edge was just to try and make the board straight. There is no reason why one of the edges of my battens is at 45 degrees. It's just that was a scrap of wood I already had in the garage and I couldn't be bothered to cut it straight!
I pre-drilled through the batten, but not the board. I then had to use screws that would just go into the board without popping through the other side, as the other side would be visible! I managed it though.
The trim was also an important part of the whole thing. I had bought some D-shape pine moulding for the job. I also dug out my mitre box and hand saw, as whilst I LOVE my circular saw, I don't think it was quite up for this job. One of the trim strips was completely on the board (so that the door could actually open and not impinge the hinges!), but the other 3 sides were half on the board and half covering the dodgy bit of plastering.
I secured the trim to the board with some small nails, and used the nail punch to sink them into wood. I then covered the nails with a bit of filler. My 45 degree cuts weren't quite perfect so there was a bit of a gap between the pieces of trim. More filler required!
Once the filler had dried and I had sanded it, I put on the first coat of paint which was the primer. I used the same paint as I would use for the stairs, Johnstones Joncryl Acrylic Primer. It's very quick to dry and the odour is minimal so it was quite nice to work with.
I tested the hatch out to check it all fitted, but came across a small problem with the loft ladder. The batten I installed to keep the wood straight was hitting the bottom of the ladder legs so I needed to move it. (I actually moved it and then realised I moved it the wrong way -doh!)
I've bought some new butt hinges, and the plaster patch up is almost done - so not far off a finished product now. Stay tuned!