Basement Bulkheads and Cellar Doors – Getting in and out of a basement the old fashioned way

Jun 12, 2014

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Does your home have a basement?  Does your basement have a bulkhead cellar door?  Looking for ways to improve your basement bulkhead door?

When people who are not from the Northeast move into the region, many of them are surprised to find a strange set of doors on the ground outside of the homes they are looking at.  Bulkheads are most commonly found in older homes throughout the Northeast but can also be found in other states where the home has a deep basement.   The basement bulkhead was an important part of the home because more often than not, the bulkhead was the only entrance to the basement.  Yes, it’s true, many older homes have basement access only via an outside bulkhead door.  Homeowners “back in the day” did not want to have a door in their living room (or other room) that lead into a dirt basement.

The term “basement” when used in regards to an older home is definitely not what we typically envision when someone speaks about their basement.  Today, most basements are finished.  In today’s homes, basements are built out and used as additional living space.  In the past, dating back from the 1950’s for example, a basement was anything from a dirt floor space where the oil tank was kept to a small, dark dirt-floored  “root cellar” type of space.  These basement spaces were definitely not places that you would like to hang around in.

For basements that have a bulkhead, there is an indoor stairwell that usually leads down  to a proper door and doorway.  The bulkhead provides a form of (legal) egress should you wish to add a bedroom in the basement and, it is also an additional way to get into the basement (should you wish to create an income suite in your basement).

If you are looking to have your bulkhead and/or bulkhead stairwell replaced, schedule your free estimate.

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