Enclosing entry way with cement block

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Old 03-28-14, 03:12 PM
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Enclosing entry way with cement block

I was going to replace the door below. Its a basement walkout. Its in the concrete foundation of the basement. The opening in the foundation is 39 3/8x 81 3/4


Instead I am thinking about closing off the entry way totally with concrete block. From the pictures below, do you think that would be a hard DIY job? Would I be able to do it without cutting concrete block and could use standard cinder block? Any ideas?

See photos below.

Thanks

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Old 03-28-14, 05:32 PM
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Do you have any other means of egress? You will have to cut block, since block come 8x8x16". Will the block be expsed on the exterior or will you be finishing it?
 
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Old 03-29-14, 08:33 AM
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It sounds like you would be creating a death trap, if you close that door permanently.
 
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Old 03-29-14, 02:29 PM
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It sounds like you would be creating a death trap, if you close that door permanently.

This is in an unfinished basement. Nobody is sleeping down there.

As you see, the door is already sealed with plywood too.
 
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Old 03-29-14, 02:48 PM
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Even though no one is sleeping there, it's still my personal opinion to have the door in working order.
 
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Old 03-29-14, 07:03 PM
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I can think of several reasons for not closing off the entrance permanently. Despite your current line of reasoning, future uses of the basement could change in a heart-beat. An elderly or sick relative comes to mind, needing to stay with you for an extended period of time. Then there's the matter of future resale value--nothing scares potential buyers away faster than "goofy" remodels, a category your plan easily falls into. And your local building department may take issue with your idea as well, so you might want to discuss the matter with them before ordering any block. If the exterior is a concrete stairway with adjacent retaining walls, all of that will have to be removed as well before backfilling. Not doing so will create a permanent saturation pit, with water always trying its best to get into the basement. Despite how well you try to seal the finished surface, once the interior CMU cells become saturated, they will never dry out. Smelly, moldy basements are not fun to live with, and are difficult to remediate.
 
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Old 03-30-14, 04:19 AM
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Any special reason for not just replacing the door? I assume the plywood was just installed because of the dilapidated door ??
 
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Old 03-30-14, 08:15 AM
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New door! Make it a 36 incher. So much easier if you ever need new washer/dryer, water heater, storing furniture, etc.

You'll never get the block to seal properly. Go look in older homes with block walled basements; it's not a pleasant sight.
 
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Old 03-30-14, 02:12 PM
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I had another thread when I thought the best idea was to replace the door. (Your all right, that's the route I need to take).

However, that thread and I came to the conclusion that the door was not a standard size and I would need a special order. So I guess I am back to square one.

Their are no stairs in the entry way, they were rotted away I removed them. The hatch is also in bad shape. So to make this functional I need new stairs, new hatch and new door. $$$$$$$

What would you call that type of hatch? I wished I had a picture, imagine bomb shelter type doors. Where do you get replacement metal ones?
 
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Old 03-30-14, 03:04 PM
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What size door do you need? If the opening can't easily be enlarged to fit a door you may be able to reduce it to fit a standard door. Last resort making a door from scratch is not that hard if appearance isn't critical.
 
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Old 03-30-14, 03:15 PM
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You're talking about Bilco doors. It's all doable. You can probably find pre-cut stringers for the stairs, as well.

Bilco
 
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Old 03-30-14, 04:26 PM
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My rough opening is 39 3/8x81 3/4. Not sure what I will need to do with the 2x buck surrounding the concrete.

The Bilco door is the brand I saw this evening. Probably even whats on there now. They run 600 bucks. New entry door special order maybe 300? Give another 200 for the stairs. I am not liking this.... now if I were to hire someone to do this, how much labor can I expect... probably a few days worth correct?

One of the things turning me off doing the stairs myself was the stringers. I didn't know they had prefab stringers... I need to look into that.

Can one guy, no helper, manipulate the Bilco door (Bulkhead door new term I learned)?

How does one measure for a cellar door?

The retaining wall that would be behind the stairs might need some attentions... its block, tuckpointing looks shot.
 
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Old 03-30-14, 04:48 PM
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My rough opening is 39 3/8x81 3/4.
A 36" door should work.
One of the things turning me off doing the stairs myself was the stringers.
You don't need to cut the stringers in a zigzag pattern for the steps to rest on. Instead just use uncut 2x12s and screw 2x4 cleats for the steps. You angel the cleats so they are level.

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Last edited by ray2047; 03-30-14 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 03-30-14, 04:52 PM
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" My rough opening is 39 3/8 x 81 3/4"

A standard 36" door should work in that space. You would have adjust the frame a little but it should work. What's wrong with the current Bilco door & what's wrong with the current stairs? Can't the stairs be reenforced?
 
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Old 03-30-14, 05:00 PM
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Their specs say most residential Bilco basement entry doors weigh less than 200 lb. It could be a struggle for one person, more because of the bulk instead of just the weight. Biggest challenge for doing it alone would be getting it out of the truck without dropping and ruining it. Lowes has them for less than $500.
 
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Old 03-31-14, 04:37 AM
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It could be a struggle for one person, more because of the bulk instead of just the weight. Biggest challenge for doing it alone would be getting it out of the truck without dropping and ruining it.
They come in pieces I presume. This might be a deal breaker as I don't have anyone to help.

As far as the order to tackle this. The door is not functional and is sealed by the plywood. There are no stairs at all (the old ones were rotted badly and removed, when I got here the entire well was filled with debris and dirt.) And the hatch is screwed and locked down and is a real bear to work with.....

Im thinking the entry door needs to be replaced first, that will give me access from below. Then the stairs and then last, the hatch.

" My rough opening is 39 3/8 x 81 3/4"

A standard 36" door should work in that space. You would have adjust the frame a little but it should work.
This is where I am hesitant. I am not sure if I need to remove the existing, old (rotting?) 2x frame and replace with new 2x buck. That rough opening is the opening in the cement not accounting for the frame. Im assuming a 36" door is actually 36 and 3/8" and I would have to have 3" buck surrounding the foundation opening?

Ive never replaced a door, so hopefully this is doable for a first timer.
 
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Old 03-31-14, 06:39 AM
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Hire a day worker, to help you. Personally, I think that I could do the job alone. Yes, remove all the rotted wood, rent a Hilti Shot gun, to attach the new wood, to the cement frame. There are probably some you tube videos that would explain each part of the job.
 
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Old 03-31-14, 07:42 AM
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Judging by the photos, does it appear the 2x material (where the strikeplates are) is the buck surrounding the door frame or do you think that's part of the door? In other words, can I remove the door and its frame and that 2x will still be in place ?

Not to confuse matters or have two threads on this but a very knowledgable gentlemen suggested the following...iif you have any suggestions or otherwise to add please do....

The opening in the foundation is 39 3/8x 81 3/4.
the rough opening with the 2x's still in place is 35.5x80




A 36" prehung door comes with brickmould on the outside that usually measures 40x83.
This will clearly not fit in your masonry opening. A prehung jamb measures 37 1/2"
wide, and it clearly will not fit between your existing woodbuck, which you say
is 35 1/2". (must be 2" wide stock?) However, if you remove the existing woodbuck,
replace it with pressure treated 1x6, you would have enough room for a 36" prehung.
You would also need to remove the brickmould trim that is usually installed on the
exterior of the door, and remove the top woodbuck completely, and it "might" fit.
It will be really close. After the door is installed, you would then need to trim
the exterior side of the door by piecing in some exterior trim to fit. (it would
be roughly 1 5/8" wide on the sides... and the top would probably be caulked and covered with 1/2", if that.)

If you wanted to downsize to a 32" prehung, you could leave the existing woodbuck,
and you would probably want to pad it out with an additional 1x6 on each side so that
the rough opening is closer to 34". Again, the top woodbuck would need to be completely
removed, because you usually need at least 81 3/4" of height for a prehung jamb to even fit.
(some doors are taller so you would need to verify this when you select your door.)

The best option in your case is to look into a shorter door (32x78 or 36x78), which
are almost always special order and as such, usually cost more. Here is an example of
the door you'd want.

If you are wanting to avoid getting into the concrete at all...
then get a 32x78 so that you can leave the existing woodbuck.
 
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Old 03-31-14, 08:12 AM
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Definitely remove all rotted wood. A prehung exterior usually needs a 37" x 81". I would add nothing to the top since your opening with wood removed is 81" already. If you add a 1x6 to each side you would have approximately 38", Enough to shim to plumb. The space between the horizontal 1x6s and door frame are covered with 1x ripped to width or brick mold, whichever works. Because o the height of the opening if the floor is not dead level you may have to remove the threshold from the door jamb and trim the height of the jamb at the bottom and use a thinner threshold.

Of course this is one of those adjust as needed situations. If it was my house since most exterior door jambs aren't treated I'd probably consider making my own door jamb out of treated 2x6s on the sides and treated 1x6 on the top and using a 32' solid core door slab with " trimmed off the top and bottom. Might even as I said consider making a simple panel door because of the height. Just a 2x4 frame with 3/8" or " plywood panels.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-31-14 at 08:48 AM.
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