How to Install a Basement Bulkhead Door

basement bulkhead
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-500
What You'll Need
Socket wrenches
Pry bar and crowbar
Nail puller
Power drill
New basement bulkhead door set

A basement bulkhead door is a cabinet-type door for a basement or cellar that faces upwards near the ground level. If your basement bulkhead door is leaking and needs to be replaced, a few moments of your time and a little patience is needed to accomplish the task. Do not leave your basement bulkhead door compromised because your basement may flood if strong rains occur, which could be more costly in the long run.

Step 1 - Remove Old Door

Remove the old basement bulkhead door, starting with the fasteners on the perimeter or frame of the trap door. They may be attached some nuts, bolts, and screws. Use the corresponding tools, such as screwdrivers and wrenches to remove them. They may be a bit rusted, so expect some resistance when removing them. Once you’ve loosened them, remove the entire door and frame.

Step 2 - Remove Wood and Flashing From Foundation

Remove the wood from the foundation Reuse the flashing, which makes the basement bulkhead door watertight. Remove the nails which hold it in place with your hammer or nail puller. Be careful when removing it; do not damage the siding.

Step 3 - Install New Foundation Plate

Test-fit the new foundation plate on the concrete and outline the holes for where the screws will go. Drill the holes where you made the marks using the power drill and masonry bit. Apply sealant to the sides. Put the new foundation in place and line it up with the holes. Use masonry anchors to attach the new foundation to the concrete.

Step 4 - Add Doorframe and Doors

Place the right frame plate on the house and use your power drill to make the necessary holes to attach this piece. Do the same for the left panel. Attach both sides of the panels using masonry anchors.

Place the door frame and attaching the doors to it. Attach the doors first before you tighten them to the plates. Doing so assures you that everything is aligned.

Step 5 - Checking and Finishing Touches

Now that your new trapdoor has been installed, check that it opens correctly. Ensure that the doors open and close freely without hitting the frame or any of the panels. Also make sure that the space between the doors is equal both at the top and on the sides.

Finally, check that the base is flat on the frame and that there is no gap. It is important that all these components are perfect; otherwise, a leak may sprout.