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cellar bulkhead/ insulation/ frost risks

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by pybyr, Jul 29, 2008.

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  1. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,301
    Loc:
    Adamant, VT 05640
    Hello all--

    I'm the "keeper" of a circa 1830 VT farmhouse

    most of my foundation is the original unmortared fieldstone, which is basically sound, except one area that I had no choice but to have re-done with poured steel reinforced concrete on account of the fact that decades of poor ground-level grading had caused it to be on the verge of collapsing in.

    in that same location that I had re-done with concrete, I had the foundation contractor ( a great, highly-experienced local old-timer ) replace the decrepit former cellar hatch (which was an eroding disaster, allowing large amounts of rain, rodents, and cold air in) with a full-depth bump-out of poured concrete, with footings, and a Bilco hatch.

    So this was a big improvement 10 years ago when I had it done- but the Bilco is still anything but airtight

    for background, I have heavy, poorly drained soils, with an often high water table (water is found in abundance in every direction from my house, some of them not too far away) and when I mentioned to the old-timer contractor that I was thinking of building an interior cellar door where the bulkhead's entryway met the cellar, he told me that he thought I'd be inviting the ruin, through frost-heaving, of the new poured concrete bump-out that the Bilco hatch sits on top of.

    to date, I have followed his advice.

    but again, the Bilco really does let some "breeze" in during the winter, and, like all of us, these days I want and need to tighten up wherever I can- as long as short-term measures don't lead to long-term troubles.

    Anyone in similar circumstances to mine have any experience or insights on whether adding some sort of vertical partition/ door at the bottom of the Bilco and stairs is inviting frost damage to my foundation?

    Any other suggestions on how to "tighten up" this type of cellar entry without getting into unintended consequences?

    Thanks!

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