I have a two story home with a one story garage attached. The garage has a flat roof. I can access the roof through a door in my upstairs bedroom. At one time the garage roof had a fence around the perimeter. It was secured improperly to the roof and caused water damage inside the garage and another room. The fence was removed and the roof repaired. The door access is considered a safety issue (for a mortgage refinance) and must be removed or made inaccessible. I don't have the funds to put up a fence.

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    Get a double cylinder deadbolt and lose the key. – Doresoom Sep 30 '14 at 22:41
  • 2
    I'd suggest asking whoever told you that it must be "made inaccessible" what they would consider adequate. A double-cylinder lock may indeed be all that is required. The goal is probably just to ensure that kids can't get out onto the roof, after all. (I can't imagine what these folks would have thought of my napping on the slanted tin roof outside my bedroom window when I was a kid. Even though I was wearing a more than adequate safety harness.) – keshlam Sep 30 '14 at 23:20
  • half a dozen 16 penny nails – Jimmy Fix-it Oct 1 '14 at 2:09
  • @JimmyFix-it: Works, but something of a maintainability nightmare. If at all possible, I'd rather retain the option of operating the door, for work on the building and in case one ever wanted to restore a roof deck. Assuming whoever-it-is would let me do so. – keshlam Oct 1 '14 at 3:20
  • Thank you for the suggestions. I am waiting on a reply from the Appraiser. I do want to be able to use the door at a later date, as I intend to make improvements. So nailing the door shut is a last resort. – Jeanine Ethridge Oct 1 '14 at 3:43

A common way to handle this, is to build a railing in front of the door. You'll see houses built where a deck was optional, that have a railing built in front of the sliding door.

Something like this...

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The best way to find out what is acceptable, is to contact the people who will be determining if your solution is acceptable.

  • Thanks. I am waiting to hear back from the Appraiser. I need something cheap and quick. Maybe a wood bar nailed in front of the door will do. I appreciate your suggestion!! – Jeanine Ethridge Oct 1 '14 at 3:45
  • For VA or HUD, you will most likely need bars spaced no more than six inches apart with a minimum height of 36 inches. One piece of wood will not do. – Edwin Oct 1 '14 at 4:08
  • I think he meant a bar to block opening of the door. If pickets are used they might require the "4 inch ball test" wherein a 4" diameter ball may not pass between the pickets. 6" on center spacing would work if the bars were big enough, otherwise plan on closer spacing. You might be able to get away with a simple screen door grill attached to the outside. – Jimmy Fix-it Oct 1 '14 at 4:36

A quick and easy way to disable a door is to remove the door handle. Most doors have at least a handle operated latch that requires the handle to be turned before the door can be opened.

If necessary you can make a blanking plate to cover the place where the handle fitted. This could be a piece of wood (or metal or plastic) cut to the right shape, with screw-holes drilled to match any existing screw-holes.

Alternatively, on interior doors in my locale, the latch is operated by a piece of square steel bar that fits between handles, just remove this bar and refit the handle. Same applies to most mortice-deadlocks on external doors.

A couple of minutes work with a screwdriver.


When we moved into this house, the sliding door from our bedroom to the deck-over-flat-roof-with-no-railing was fastened shut with a single very long (4" maybe?) screw. The house inspector said that was so that it was our responsibility if we unscrewed it and started using the door.

If you're not worried about legal liability, just want to stop people using the door until you replace what's on the other side, it seems hard to beat a single long screw. Nobody can accidentally open the door that way. Of course, this prevents using the door for ventilation, but it's quick and simple to do.

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