With the paint fully cured and the electrical done, now came the fun part, installing the metal drip edge, re-installing the hurricane hinge and finishing out the hatch!! With these steps done, the end would finally be in sight.
Our first step was to re-install the trailer side of the hurricane hinge. We first ran a heavy bead of caulk along the bottom of the hinge, then simply centered it on the roof where the previous holes had been drilled and screwed it in. We did this before the metal drip edge so that we could later notch the drip edge around the hinge.
The metal drip edge was purchased from Lil' Bear Tag-Alongs (the same place we ordered the hurricane hinge). We first applied the same silicone putty we used at the vent fan. We were left with up to a ¼” gap between the edge of the roof and the edge of the wall, so we hoped this would help seal this gap.
Then we ran a heavy bead of caulk along the drip edge and carefully lined it up on the bottom corner of the trailer. We decided the best way to bend the trim was to install the screws from the bottom up and bend it into place as we went. It took a little muscle and care, but worked out pretty well. To help with preventing water infiltration, we also added a dab of caulk to each hole before tightening down the screw.
We ordered our drip edge in 4’ lengths for easier shipping, so this would leave us a seam above the door. Before installing the second length of drip edge, we carefully measured out where it would hit the hinge so that we could notch out the trim. The goal was to have the face side of the trim run past the hinge to protect the wood and give us a more finished look.
Next step was to trim out the hatch after re-installing hatch side of the hurricane hinge. Darrell was extremely excited to find this trim from McMaster-Carr. It was a simple c-channel that fit our ¼” plywood perfectly. For this install we simply ran a bead of caulk along the edge of the plywood and carefully bent the trim into place screwing it in as we went. We were also lucky that the screw holes lined up almost perfectly with the spars! Happy coincidence! We also installed a straight length of this same trim along the bottom edge of the door to protect the edge. Since we didn’t have any screws short enough to not poke through the ¼” plywood, we simply used a grinder to cut off the sharp points.
With the trim done, we could finally install the hatch light and re-install the tail lights, and license plate light. One snafu we found though was that the taillights protruded slightly too far to be completely covered by the interior plywood skin. Our solution was to cut out holes at each of the lights to let them poke through and then to find something to cover the holes later. With everything hooked up, we did a test fit of the hatch, to do a capacitance test to make sure everything was wired correctly. With the interior skin on, we wouldn’t be able get to any of the wiring!
We then stuffed all of the hatch cavities with blue jean insulation and installed the plywood skin in the exact same way as described here – only difference being that we had to be a little more careful to not damage the new paint job.
The hardware we described here could now be installed. To act as a catch, we screwed a 12 gauge metal plate to the lower corners of the exterior walls that each had a hole pre-drilled into them. The two metal locking bars would then be able to slide into these holes to secure the hatch closed. In order for the locking bars to reach these plates though, we had to pad out the hardware a bit, but we used some leftover scrap oak to provide a solid anchor.