In some older homes, particularly those with exterior basement entries, replacing a basement entry should be a priority. I have found that most areas where basements are common have a reason for that need that goes well beyond additional living space. Basements in many homes are a first line of defense against violent storms and tornadoes in some areas of the country.
Protection from the Elements
Beyond that, many find that the old-fashioned exterior basement doors have fallen victim to time and in many cases neglect. Whether your basement entry is an exterior door that lies on the outside of your home or a stairway from the main level of your home, there are occasions when the replacing a basement entry is simply a wise solution.
When is Replacing a Basement Entry a Good Idea
If you have an exterior basement door (these typically lift or open upwards to allow entrance) and are noticing a water or moisture problem in your basement it is probably well past time to replace the entry. Most basements such as this are used for protection from the storm and it is a good idea of you take precautions whenever possible to make sure that this area is as dry and comfortable as possible.
Another time that replacing a basement entry is the wise course of action is when you are in the process of finishing your basement. Most unfinished basements have not traditionally found things such as entryways to be too terribly important aesthetically. Replacing the entry can make a great first impression on those entering and make that area feel more comfortable than forbidding.
If you are taking the time and trouble to finish you basement the thought would be that you would like this space to be a comfortable area for you and your family. Using your basement regularly will make it less frightening for small children during storms as well.
How to Replace your Basement Entry
Many interior basement entries are different and the methods of replacing it will depend largely on the look you are hoping to achieve. With an exterior basement entry there is more of a systematic method of replacing a basement entry.
The first thing you will need to do check the foundation around the door for potential weaknesses and problems. If everything looks great you can proceed. The next step is to remove the existing door. This will leave your basement completely vulnerable to the elements so you need to choose a day when you can do the entire project if possible and pay close attention to the weather report.
If your foundation was cracked or in bad shape you may find that you need to pour a new foundation upon which to place the new door. The hope is that the foundation will hold and this step will not be necessary. If it becomes necessary it will add at least a day (for drying) to your project and you may want to cover the opening to the best of your ability.
The manufacturer typically gives excellent directions for replacing a basement entry and you should follow those to the letter. Be sure if you are using a metal door to replace your existing entry that you pain it in order to prevent rusting.
Replacing a basement door does not require a degree in rocket science though it does require moderate skills with the use of tools and the ability to follow the instructions. If you are not certain of your abilities it is a good idea to seek the advice of professionals in order to avoid mistakes that may allow less protection than you were hoping to achieve.