New cellar doors


My duplex is a little over a hundred years old, and has those old wooden cellar doors in back, leading to the basement. Of course, there is an actual deadbolted normal exterior door in the basement, as well, for better security. I’ve been watching the wooden doors deteriorate over the past couple of years; the wood seems to have started rotting, even though I repainted them just a few years ago. I do wonder a bit if painting them a dark red may have caused more snow to melt on them? Not sure. Either way, they haven’t been looking good, and I had been thinking that I should do something about them this spring.

Until, of course, I noticed a few days ago that I large chunk of wood had fallen off where the two doors meet. Leaving a big gaping hole for snow, mice, general cold air, etc. Guess I’m going to have to take care of it this fall, which is going to be tough, since I need warm-ish air to repaint new doors.

Well, I looked into a couple of options — there are a couple of manufacturers that make a modern equivalent of those old fashioned cellar doors. One, Bilco, is sold at Lowes, Fleet Farm, and my local hardware store. They make a polyurethane version in one size (of course, not the right size for my opening), and some steel, weatherproofed doors that come in a variety of sizes and are fairly customizable. Unfortunately, though, the doors themselves cost about $600, and I would need two “extension plates” that go on the right and left of the doors, which cost $72 each. This is turning into a $750 operation, without taking installation into account.

The other option: rebuilding the wooden doors. We estimated that this would be a lot cheaper, probably only $100-$200 for wood, hardware, foam insulation, etc. They could even last as long as the steel door. My wonderfully handy boyfriend offered to build some new basement doors for me (or install the steel ones), which helps me out a LOT. I think it’s looking like we’ll go with the wooden ones, pretty much based on cost. Of course, as it gets to be later into the fall, there is a third option: repair the doors enough to get through the winter and then redo them in the spring.


2 thoughts on “New cellar doors

  1. The third option is pretty sound so you could go along with that. Having it rebuilt early can be good thing though since it will be a load off your mind.

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