How to Detect Secret Doors and Rooms (You may have one in your home!)

detect secret doors


We’ve all seen the movies. The ones where a family moves into a really old house, and at some point, someone stumbles upon the entrance a secret passage. 

Where it leads is different, depending on the plot of the movie.

Maybe you live in an old house and have always wondered if it holds some secrets. And you want to know if it’s possible to detect secret doors in the home. Maybe. But first, a word of warning.

Why Homes Have Secret Doors 

While secret rooms are becoming more popular all the time, they haven’t always been. In fact, if an old house has secret compartments — there are a couple common reasons.

  • The owner was….eccentric: Maybe the owner had some interesting interests that were embarrassing to show company. 
  • Illegal activity: Gambling, alcohol (during prohibition) and other activities were deemed illegal. People still drank and bet. Sometimes they did them in secret rooms in older homes.

Don’t believe us? They find secret rooms all the time.

How to Detect Secret Doors

Note: It’s unlikely that you have a secret room. That said, you can be sure if you do or don’t.

Step One: Sketch Out the Home

Think about how your home is laid out, taking into account dead space. Older homes, while they likely don’t have a secret room, there may be dead space that has been walled in.

For instance, a house was originally heated by a chimney updated to HVAC. Instead of removing the broken chimney, a wall was built around it. Depending on the age and condition of the home, you’ll have some spaces.

But is it a secret space?

Step Two: Take a Look at Dead Spaces

Once you’ve found the dead space, it’s time to take a look (if you want). Warning: This likely involves poking a couple of holes in your wall.

If you’re sure the space isn’t part of the accessible home, drill two holes about half an inch in diameter. Take a powerful flashlight, shine it in one and look through the other. See anything interesting? 

You can either remove the wall (forsaking your search for the door). Or search for the door and find the way in!

Step Three: Check All the Fixtures and Trim

Still looking for the door? Good call. 

The door can be a piece of furniture, like a bookcase. Or it could be the wall itself. Check everything by:

  • Moving any furniture
  • Removing all items from the shelves
  • Pushing trim and spots on the wall

If this doesn’t work and you’re sure the space has something, the wall may need to come down.

Don’t Have a Secret Door to Find? Build One!

Check out all of our great content for building secret rooms, passages and compartments. That way, you can be sure that your home has one!