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The Difference Between Watertight and Floodtight Floor Hatch

There are many different access doors and panels with varying materials and applications that you can use to adapt to a particular environment. Such products need to have the robustness and material flexibility to endure the punishments of the elements. Two such products are the Watertight access doors and floodtight floor hatch.

Since they sound similar, most people assume they do the same thing. They may be alike in some aspects, but their function is different. These are indispensable products for many modern structures for protection against the elements, access to critical areas, and convenience for your personnel during maintenance.

Watertight Access Doors and Panels

These products are watertight or airtight and must undergo testing before their use. They must pass a test for water penetration and air infiltration. This access door is suitable for research labs, washrooms, surgery centers, and other areas that require an airtight/watertight seal.

Floodtight Floor Hatches

The floodtight floor hatch design is typically for inside and outside applications where water may reach above the surface entrance. Naturally, the angle frame design enables concrete anchoring, and the panel door can hold up to 10 feet head of water aside from its added reinforcement as a standard feature. The door panel overlaps the frame, pressing the gasket and ensuring a floodtight seal.

Where They Differ

The only difference between the two, in a fundamental sense, is the location where you utilize them. Watertight access doors and panels are designed primarily for indoor use, in walls or ceilings where a room requires some way to separate one space from another. They function as an isolation mechanism to prevent anything that could compromise the space.

When used in the wastewater sector to describe an access door or panel, the phrase “watertight” refers to a “drainable” frame, such as a channel, trench, or ditch type frame. Water flowing off the cover gets collected in this sort of frame. It then gets diverted to a drain rather than entering the vault area beneath the door.

On the other hand, floodtight floor hatches are for floor areas where there is a possibility of either moisture infiltrating the area or gas escaping to another space. Their design can suppress gas from getting out and prevent water from getting in. Due to its function, it is ideal for retrofit applications and is suitable for use in potable water applications.

The standard hatch frame has a built-in gasket that provides a floodtight / gastight barrier against the hatch cover when closed. The water pressure exerted by 10 or 25 feet of water is no match for this seal (i.e., flood conditions). The seal keeps odors and gases out of the area beneath the door when there is no positive pressure beneath the cover.

What to Consider

Ensure that the product’s material and quality are ideal for where you’ll be installing them. Check or ask the manufacturer if the product underwent any testing to ensure it functions as intended. You may also need to think about your budget, so it’s best to ask for quotations from different vendors.


Having some knowledge about essential products will only make your decisions in your future projects better. Despite arming yourself with the correct information, you will still need the invaluable inputs of experts to help guide you to avoid costly mistakes. Never hesitate to call one if you need their advice.

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