Creating Access to Stone Foundation Basement

djdoggoneSeptember 17, 2013

Our tiny cottage has a stone foundation and an inside trap door for access to the basement. We are getting too arthritic for climbing a ladder to change well water filters and add salt to the water softener each month so we wondered if it were possible to add a bulkhead for easier access -- plus the furnace maintenance guys would appreciate it.

Is it possible to cut through stone to add a basement door?

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Yes, of course it is possible. The catch is, does the stone support the weight of the house? You'd really want to consult an engineer about this, to see if you would have to add a pillar. This is NOT a Do-It-Yourself project.

My parents have been having a lot of trouble with their basement bulkhead lately. Basement bulkhead doors can leak and cause flooding if not installed correctly. They can also let in pests. Make sure that the door connecting the house to the basement is a good hollow steal external door, make sure the grading of the soil diverts water away from the bulkhead, make sure the rain gutters don't pour water on the bulkhead. I might invest in the new fiberglass insulated bulkhead doors, but I haven't priced them.

Is your house old? When you hire anyone to do work on an old house, be prepared for them to find all sorts of things that aren't up to code. My friend's wheelchair ramp ended up costing $100,000.

Personally, I'd just try to put in a better stairway to the basement. But then, I'm timid when it comes to home improvements.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 11:15

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 11:12AM
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Thanks, Ed. We're leaning toward just improving the stairway because we have been reading about old stone foundations giving way when a backhoe pulls away the earth. Yes, house is old and built by workers on an estate as a summer guest cottage so we aren't talking architectural/engineered foundation here. Budget would not allow for problems like your friend's. But we had looked at the fiberglass (Clamdoor) bulkhead and found it very nice, indeed. Thanks, Deb

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:15PM
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