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Bolstering the Basement Door

3 tips from the experts for improving and streamlining basement door installations

June 04, 2019
remodelers can improve and streamline basement door installations

In addition to properly sealing the basement door to the foundation, inspect and clean gutters above the door semi-annually to ensure your basement and belongings remain safe, clean, and dry.

It’s easy for homeowners to forget about the spaces in their house that they don’t use every day. This includes the basement door. As it is with other exterior products, rain, snow, and sun all take their toll, and debris from landscaping can also hasten the demise of an entryway. If a clients’ door is rusting, leaking, or not functioning as intended, it’s a good idea to provide them with information on a replacement.

Here are three tips from installation experts that will help make the process easier—for both you and the homeowner—and ensure the door is set for the long haul.

1] Square and Seal

It’s critically important that the door is correctly squared and sealed to the foundation. 

“Not sealing the door correctly and causing a leak is one of the most frequent mistakes that’s made during installation,’’ says Dave Sensenig, owner of Better Basement Solutions in Leola, Penn. “Not removing the existing door correctly can also cause damage to the siding or concrete areaway.” 

Caulk should be applied everywhere the door meets the concrete foundation, house, or foundation plates. Caulk also should be added between the doors if an extension is used, and a bead of caulk must be applied in each corner where the side panels connect to the header panel.

A weather-stripping kit can also be used in place of caulk, particularly between the doors. These kits are designed to block leaves, dirt, and pests from entering the basement door area while also ridding homeowners of the loud slam associated with closing large, metal doors.

2] Focus on Foundation

Foundation plates for basement doors can be made from steel or wood. Steel foundation plates improve the area’s appearance, cover rough masonry and small holes, and span voids in brick and concrete block to create a smooth mounting surface for a basement door. 

In an effort to save money, some contractors and homeowners use wood, but this is not ideal. Wood holds moisture, and can cause rusting. In addition, the chemicals added to pressure-treated lumber can also cause mounting hardware to rust and the screws to work their way loose over time.

3] Finish Strong

Sensenig recommends a factory-applied, powder-coat finish. The polyester resin finish provides a durable, weather-resistant coating that is both decorative and protective. Finishes often come in multiple colors, and eliminate the need to paint the door after installation.

“Homeowners should always check around to make sure they are getting the best deal when using a contractor for door installation,’’ Sensenig adds. “That’s the best way to ensure that the door is properly installed and sealed.” 

About the Author

About the Author

Jim Edgeworth is the director of sales and marketing of residential products for The Bilco Company, which has served the building industry since 1926. Bilco is the recognized leader in basement doors.

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