1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Sealing Bilco doors into basement

Post in 'The Green Room' started by laynes69, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,881
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    We have heavy duty steel doors that swing open to a set of stairs. The problem is they leak like air like crazy. I have tried self adhesive rubber foam and no luck. There is a door at the bottom of the stairs into the basement, but it's far from weatherproof also. I'm hoping if anyone has doors like these if there's a way to seal them from air infiltration.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    I built an insulated door for the bottom of the stairs, with weatherstripping around the edges.
    Helps a lot!
    Kenny
  3. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,881
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    That might just be the easier option. It's not a standard door so I will have to custom build. Was yours a standard size?
  4. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    No way. I just used some old foam insulation board sandwiched between
    a couple old sheets of plywood, added a couple of left over gate hinges and
    a big old hand forged hook on the inside. It looks like it's been there
    as long as the rest of this 200 year old house.
    Kenny
  5. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,707
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    I installed a brand new Bilco door a couple years ago. From the get go I could see daylight from some spots. Never leaked water just lots of cold air. I don't have a door at the bottom of the steps. So I have a piece of 2" Tuff-R insulation board cut to the foundation opening. It wedges in pretty good. But of course it's a little harder to get inside. Not a big deal because I don't use that entrance much during the winter. So I don't know what your traffic is like, but maybe putting foam against the door on the step side might work. I have also heard of glueing foam board to the bilco doors and walls themselves. but haven't attempted that yet. I did for a while hang a heavy canvas drop cloth where I now have the foam board.
  6. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,881
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    Sounds like a good idea! I need to make a new frame around the opening of the block. I figure it will be a spring - summer project. I would guess if I can get it sealed up, it will make a decent difference.
  7. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    Just installed an insulated door at the bulkhead this weekend.
    I got a 3'6" x 7' 0" door. The cold air coming through the lock holes before lock install was unbelievable.
    It made a big difference in the basement temp.
    Wonder why they don't make a better bulkhead door.
  8. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,715
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    I tried for a couple of years and ended up ripping it out and replacing it with a "doghouse". Bascially framed in two walls against the house and installed a standard insulated steel door. I also discovered that mice could get in the house via the Bilco. There are insulated doors like Bilco available in industry but the cost is significant.

    The other plus is I installed some welded loops tied into the roof structure of the doghouse so that I could rig things down with a chainfall. Without those I would have had a tough time getting my boiler and a few other heavy objects into the basement
  9. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,514
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    I have a dog house now, too.

    The previous wooden was replaced with a metal Bilco door, both did nothing for the wind.

    Door at the bottom of the stairs and if there is no time for that and you have another way in or don't mind - a tarp over the door helps with the wind - I used sand tubes to hold the tarp down. Shovel fulls of dirt would work, too unless it's a tall boy door. Then you might need rebar or something like that to hold the tarp down.

    Mine leaked where it sat on the cement, too. I mortared mine on the inside.



    The Bilco door(s) is now a ramp for the shed.
  10. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,881
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    The doors are my way of getting wood into the basement. I use them all the time to go outside when working in the basement. They are very heavy and I want to keep them, it's just they are so leaky. Rebuilding the door at the foundation below the bilco will probably be my best bet. If I could seal the bilco doors I was going to insulate them with foam sheets.
  11. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    Some people do that but they'll trap moisture and rot right through the middle.
  12. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,881
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    That's what I figured if the foam wasn't fully seated on the metal. Did the doors stop sweating when you installed the insulated door to the basement? Ours sweat bad due to the airloss.
  13. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    My bilco is also a wooden door but there was always lots of sweat
    on the stone steps and stairwell wall that's gone.
  14. UMainah

    UMainah Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    199
    Loc:
    Bangor, ME
    I was told recently by a home inspector that if you're going to insulate your basement entry you should do it at the top of the steps along the top edge of the concrete and not at the bottom of the steps along the foundation wall. He reasoning was that it will help prevent the foundation from cracking where the entryway meets the foundation wall. If you seal the entryway off from the basement the concrete walls of the entryway will get cold and the foundation walls will be warm leading to cracking.
  15. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    753
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I installed a regular exterior metal door at the bottom of my steps. Frame out a rough opening with 2x4s and install the door. Total cost less than $200. While I assume it makes a huge difference in the winter, the most noticeable improvement is in the summer when the humid exterior air doesn't get into the basement to condense on the walls. Previously I considered my basement to be damp, not after installing the door.

    TE

Share This Page