By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A direct entrance to a basement is appealing for several reasons. You'll know what we mean if you replace your furnace or hot water heater and have to manhandle the old monsters up the stairs and through the house to get rid of them. The same is true if you're replacing an old clothes washer and dryer with new ones. A sturdy new basement cellar door provides an easy opening and direct access - not to mention an emergency exit - for a basement, so it's a popular replacement project in many old homes.
Here are the numbers: A contractor will charge $1,448 to install a cellar door which includes the labor and material. You can buy the unit for $790 and install it yourself, saving 47 percent. Budget more money if repair work on the existing stairs and concrete frame around the stairway is needed which can be scheduled when the old door is removed and before the new one is installed.
To find the correct size, you need to measure the width of the area inside the stairway walls. Use Bilco, a manufacturer's site for help sizing a cellar door or take the dimensions to a lumberyard or home center where cellar door units are sold. The installation involves several steps: removing the old doors, assembling the new unit, repairing any concrete (if necessary), and drilling holes and then fastening the new unit in place.
Sound too complicated and time consuming? Here's a link to Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local contractors.
Now you know the average cost to replace a cellar door, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Cost updated 2020