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Proulx06 02-18-2010 09:07 AM

Replacing bulkhead basement entrancy with conventional door?
I can't so much as find a picture of what I'm talking about, so let me try to explain.

We are looking for a home with an in-law apartment, or at least in-law potential. We found a great home with a finished basement, but it had a bulkhead instead of a walkout. Where we'd like to have a separate entrance for our 'in-law', I'm curious what our options are. I have a friend whose basement entry door is more of a conventional exterior door, with framed walls and a small roof over it. This little setup juts out from the back of his house, and when you open the door, you just walk down the five or six stairs before opening another door into the basement. He bought his house like this, and did not do it himself.

So I'm curious what is involved in doing something like this. I'm aware that these stairs may not be roomy or wide, and that the steps are steep, but our 'in-law' has said he's totally fine with that kind of setup.

So what's involved? Any major risks, so long as the contractor seals it up correctly? What is the cost for something like this? And of course...what is the proper name for this so I can do some more searching?

Scuba_Dave 02-18-2010 09:45 AM

All depends upon the siding & what needs to be done
If there is window above where you need to build the entrance way
And where you are located

Proulx06 02-18-2010 09:48 AM

There is not a window above the bulkhead, and the siding is vinyl. We are still looking at homes, so this info may change if we find another house.

We're about 100 miles north of you in Southern New Hampshire.

Thanks Dave.

Scuba_Dave 02-18-2010 10:00 AM

Without a window above you can get a decent roof line for a slope
With vinyl siding its easier to remove to build & seal the entranceway
Then you can cut the vinyl & put it back up

Local codes may determine if you can do this as a 2nd entrance
The stairs need to be Min 36" wide for code & rise/run have specfic codes too

Proulx06 02-18-2010 10:02 AM

Thanks Dave. I assume you mean the slope of the roof would come off the house and down towards the door? The friend who has this type of setup actually looks like an upside-down V when you're looking straight at the door...that is, the roof peaks above the middle of the door and slopes to either side. Is this just a change in design?

And are we talking $1000 or $5000 or $15,000? Just a ballpark so I know whether or not we should exclude homes without walkups from our search.


Scuba_Dave 02-18-2010 10:13 AM

You can have a straight slope towards the door
The V shape shedding water to either side look better IMO
My neighbor has a V shape entry w/small door to an unfinished "basement"
Old house with huge rocks as foundation, only access to thsi basement is thru this exterior entrance

Costs can vary widely by area & specific work required & materials
I built a 10x10 addition to my pool cabana for only a couple hundred doillars

Proulx06 02-18-2010 10:15 AM

Great info, thanks a ton Dave. Do you know of a specific name for this type of exterior basement door? I still have yet to find an image, even though I think this is somewhat common. Obviously not nearly as common as bulkheads, but I imagine they are common enough to have a name.

Scuba_Dave 02-18-2010 10:30 AM

No, not sure of a specific term you could use to search for

I searched just for basement entry...basement entrance

Proulx06 02-18-2010 10:31 AM

Yep, that's it. Thanks again for the help!

Tom Struble 02-18-2010 11:24 AM


Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave (Post 402042)
No, not sure of a specifc term you could use to search for

I searched just for basement entry...basement entrance


Proulx06 02-18-2010 11:33 AM

OK so yeah, I don't want my house to look like that dump, haha. But the idea of a basement door that juts out from the house...that's about the best picture I've see of what I'm talking about.

Scuba_Dave 02-18-2010 11:34 AM

Yeah...not a real good example as the roof slopes back towards the house
It does shed to the side...but I don't think I'd build one like that :no:

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