Basement door

Old 01-07-22, 08:08 PM
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Basement door

I'm getting ready to finish my basement and need some advice on what to do with the door. The door goes right out to a stairwell. It's in a tight corner and I'm not sure how to frame around it.

I do want to replace the door with one with some windows to let some light in there. If possible, I'd like to make the door open out into the stairwell. For what it's worth, we have a drain at the bottom of the stairwell that feeds straight into the sump. The pump is new and has been very effective. We also just had about the worst snow we'll have (Maryland) and had no real build-up at the bottom of the stairs.

So questions:
1) How do I frame in that tight corner to finish that room?
2) Thoughts on a door opening out at the bottom of the stairwell?

Thanks in advance!

Old 01-07-22, 08:40 PM
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I'm not sure it would meet code to have an outswinging door there. Imagine you had 12" of snow there. You wouldn't be able to get out. Plus there usually needs to be a larger landing area when you have an outswinging door, because when you are on the outside, you have to move out of the way to fully open the door. You would have to check into that with your local building department/inspector.

There is no real good way to finish that wall the way it was positioned. About all you could do is remove the stud on the left, add another stud or two on the right, and go with a narrower door, like a 2-6. (30" door, 32" rough opening). Unless that's already what you have. You never said what size it is. Even then you wouldn't have room for a full stud wall behind the door.

If you stick with the same door and want to finish the walls, you could:

Stop your wall on the right 36" away from the door (3x3 area required in front of door) and then just glue 1/2" foam and 1/2" drywall onto the block wall behind the door. (1" thick)

Or furr out that 3 ft section of wall behind the door with 1x2 that is 16" on center and put 3/4"x14 1/2" rips of foam between the furring... then screw the drywall to the furring. (1 1/4" thick)

Or best, 1/2" foam on the wall behind the door. Then add 1/2" plywood furring 16" on center on top of that foam, and put 1/2" x 14 1/2" rips of foam between those strips of furring... then screw the drywall to the furring. (1 1/2" thick)

The furring would have to be anchored to the concrete with tapcons. These suggestions may not meet your local codes for r value on basement walls and it assumes the walls are dampproofed on the exterior.
Old 01-07-22, 10:44 PM
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Another option, you could build a small alcove in front of the door which would solve the insulation question.

Door could be on either wall.

Old 01-18-22, 07:44 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I took some more measurements and pictures.

Between the door frame and the block wall on the right, there is barely more than a 2x4, so at most 2" on that side of the door frame. The roughed opening looks to be 33" wide. A little internet research says I'm at about the skinniest door. And I don't want to make that opening any skinnier anyway. It's already difficult to come down the stairs and make the turn with furniture, etc.

I don't dislike Marq1's idea of making a little alcove on the inside. I like creative solutions like that. I could even turn the door 90 degrees if I wanted, but again... already hard to bring things in. I'm going to spend a little time exploring that. The "room" is plenty big enough, so losing the space isn't a problem.

I think I'll go with Xsleeper's suggestion with foam, furring, more foam, and drywall. It won't be a perfect match with the rest of the wall, but I angled/tapered one to an existing wall in my last house, so I get the concept.

The block wall to the right of the door (looking at it from the inside as in the pictures) is under the garage wall and the garage floor is up and to the right. (So not as much of a leaking situation.) The wall to the left of the door is directly under the chimney. Stepping out the door and looking straight up is just that stairwell wall and chimney continued.

As for the inswing or outswing: Code or not, I don't see a safety hazard in the door opening out. I grew up in NH, so I understand the mass -- er -- NH quantities of snow. Now I live in Maryland, and the odds of a storm with more than 18'' of snow (the amount I've un-scientifically deemed too hard to push the door open) coming on the same day the house catches fire IN the basement stairwell are pretty low. But point taken, I'll look up the code.

Last edited by tollhaus; 01-18-22 at 07:45 PM. Reason: clarity

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