So now you're thinking about a new door, but aren't really sure what you need. Something as simple as a door can have more choices than you originally thought. Do I need plates? What about paint vs powder coating? Will a cap help? Which manufacturer should I choose?
Whats different with door manufacturers?
In most cases, the door we will recommend will be a Bilco or Gordon. Both doors are made with the same gauge steel, and are high quality doors. Bilco doors come in standard sizes and come primed, ready for paint. With Bilco however, you have the option of a powder coat finish in four different colors (white, sandstone, light grey, and brick). Bilco explains " Bilco Classic Series steel basement doors are now available with a factory-applied polyester powder coat finish. The polyester resin provides a durable, weather-resistant coating. Cured at higher temperatures than most wet coatings, the result is a tougher and chip-resistant coating, providing both a decorative and protective finish." Gordon doors also come primed, though powder coating isn't really an option. We can have the door powder coated for you by a local company, but in our experience the cost is typically prohibitive. The better choice is a professionally applied finish using Sherwin Williams metal paint.
Bilco doors use a piston system (excluding flat doors) to prop the door open, and to assist in lifting and closing. Gordon uses a mechanical latch system. Both work as designed, and each have their own strengths and weakness. Your individual set up will determine what is best for you.
What are plates?
Foundation plates sit above the foundation and provide a seat for the door. We typically recommend them where the condition of the underlying foundation is either ascetically displeasing, or where the foundation itself is in poor repair. In many cases, the customer will choose to add foundation plates simply based on preferred appearance.
What is a cap?
Many times we see a foundation that is too low, allowing water to pour in. The builder may have made an error calculating the finished ground level, ground settling may have occurred, or an addition of paving stones around the foundation has raised the ground level. Either way, water can pour a concrete cap on the foundation to raise it a minimum of 3 inches. Any cap thinner than that will be prone to cracking.
Will my new door be airtight?
No. All steel doors are designed to allow air to freely flow. The cooler foundation concrete can cause condensation. Without a way out, the air will become stale. Mold and mildew will quickly follow, and the metal door will deteriorate rapidly. The seal between the door and foundation is water tight, however you may find an occasional drip of water due to wind driven rain. The doors are designed to wick water away, but not to be water proof. When looking from the inside of your door facing out, you will see light from the seems of the door panel (you should NOT see light from under any mounting surface).
How long will my install take?
Typically we can install a door in one day. If your having concrete work performed, it will usually take an extra day.