Are Bilco Doors Secure?

Since the 1920s, Bilco has been making waves around the construction industry being one of the key players in utilizing steel; Bilco actually invented the basement bulkhead door. Have you ever wondered if Bilco's doors are secure? We have consulted experts in the construction industry to figure out if Bilco's bulkhead doors are secure. Here is what we learned.

Yes, Bilco doors are secure. From unwanted visitors to weather, their line-up of basement doors includes an internal slide allowing you to lock your basement door from the inside. In addition to that, all Bilco doors are weatherproof. Bilco has placed gaskets around the door flanges and this is what keeps your doors sealed from water leaks, dirt, and even pests from coming into your basement.

Please keep reading to learn more about one of the top brands in the building materials industry for steel basement doors. We'll discuss security features and weatherproofing of these bulkhead doors.

In the grass next to a brick wall house is this iron door to the basement. Are Bilco Doors Secure

How do you secure a cellar door?

You can secure your cellar or basement door in many different ways, from installing an internal slide bolt to installing alarm systems. Installing an internal slide bolt will give you added security from being open from the outside.

Padlocks are also a simple but effective way to increase the security of your cellar door just make sure you don't lose the keys. Keeping the keys in a safe but hidden place would be best.

Do Bilco Doors Lock From the Inside?

If you have a Bilco door, well you are in luck since all Bilco doors feature an internal slide right out of the box. This will save you a lot of time, from finding an internal slide bolt that will fit your door to the time you have to install it. A slide bolt combined with a padlock will ensure your cellar door stays shut.

Check out Bilco's keyed slide lock on Amazon.

Alarmed Security

While adding an alarm or security system will ensure you will be notified if someone attempts to open your cellar door, this could come wireless which is better since there are no wires that could be cut off to disable the alarm.

Cameras can also be used with the alarm system to alert you while you aren't home. Some security systems nowadays have cameras that work both in the daytime and at night and will take a picture if anyone comes close to your cellar door.

What are Bilco doors made of?

Bilco assures that they are using quality materials and components to build your basement door. Bilco has multiple variants of basement doors like the Classic Series, Ultra Series, and PermEntry.

Classic series

The Bilco Classic Series features doors that are built using heavy 12-gauge steel. The steel is then placed on a press brake machine. This process is what forms the sides and the components that surround the opening. All parts of a single door are built before moving on to the next one. The smaller parts of the door are made out of a coil of cold-rolled steel.

Ultra Series

The Ultra Series uses a corrosion-resistant high-density polyethylene construction that will not rust and never needs painting. The hinges and other metal parts of the Ultra Series are made and constructed from the same steel as the Classic Series.


Bilco also offers a PermEntry made out of both concrete and 12-gauge steel. The PermEntry is a precast unit, built as one piece and added to a house while in construction.

What is an outdoor basement entrance for?

An outdoor basement entrance is there for easy access to your basement if you want to put something in from the outside. Most outdoor basement entrances have a wider entryway, giving your much-needed room for moving items in and out with ease. Also, some house designs have a basement door that is not accessible from the inside of the house and is, for the most part, used for storage. 

Placing a bedroom in your basement increases your home's living space, so an outdoor basement entrance can also serve as an alternative exit for a basement bedroom. Providing you the option to exit without going through your home and straight to the outside.

When should you replace bulkhead doors?

Bulkhead doors are built to last for years, but like all things, they too will degrade over time. Replacing your bulkhead doors is essential to your home since having a degrading bulkhead compromises your home's security. 

Here are some of the signs you should look out for to know if you have to replace your bulkhead:

  • Corrosion/Rust - This is a sign that your bulkhead door's life is counting down. Corrosion or rust is a major problem for your door if left unattended. Corrosion and rust could negatively affect the hinges of your door, making it hard to open or break off entirely.
  • Leaks - Water damage could lead to many issues from flooding your basement to rust or even wall damage. Leaks, if left unattended could creep up to unwanted places and potentially damage your home.
  • Bulkhead not sitting flush on its frame - Having space between your bulkhead and your home is alarming since you are leaving space for water, dirt, or even animals from entering your home.
  • Rotten wood - Some bulkhead doors are built with wood and concrete foundations. While it will take some time for the concrete to crumble or crack, wood, on the other hand, rots much faster, resulting in all sorts of problems such as weakening the foundation where the door is seated or the possibility of hosting insects.

The earlier you catch these signs, the less time and money you'll have to put out in fixing your bulkhead. Keep an eye out for water damage around your bulkhead since this can lead to multiple problems such as rotting, rust, and foundational strength. Repainting your bulkhead door also helps avoid rust buildup.

How do you stop a Bilco door from leaking?

Having a leaky basement door will lead to more problems for your home. Not only will the water come through your door but also debris that the wind picked up or even small animals. A leaky door will for sure cause damage to your basement if left unattended.

Bilco provides their very own weatherstrip kit available to purchase online. If you have the Bilco weatherstrip kit, you can follow the steps below. If not, you can easily find the materials needed at your local hardware.

Materials Needed to Fix a Leaking Bilco door:

U-shaped gaskets will be used for the side and header flanges.

Click here to see 1.6mm U-shaped gasket on Amazon.

Bulb trim gaskets will be used for the bottom flanges.

Click here to see bulb trim gasket on Amazon.

While door seals will be placed at the top and bottom part of the door lift cap.

Click here to see 10mm trim gasket on Amazon.

How to Fix a Leaking Bilco Door

If you have all the materials ready, here is the step by step instruction on how to seal your Bilco door:

  1. Make sure that the garage door flange is dry. Doing will help the rubber gasket stays in place.
  2. Starting at the head of the header flange, place your U-shaped gasket from one end to the other. Trim the excess gasket.
  3. Place the gasket on one side of the side panel flange.
  4. Repeat the process on the other side panel flange.
  5. Place the gasket on the left-center flange.
  6. Repeat the process on the right-center flange.
  7. Now use the bulb trim gasket on the bottom flanges on both garage doors.
  8. There are door seals supplied in the weatherstrip kit. Firmly place these seals on the top and bottom of the righthand door lift cap. 

In addition to adding rubber gaskets to your door's flange, you should also check all the sides of your door to make sure it is seated flush on your home. If your basements door is not seated flush onto your home, this could lead to more leaking, which could rust the inside of your door if left unattended. A simple fix is to fill all the gaps and cracks within the concrete with waterproof sealant. 

An easy method to know what part of your Bilco door is leaking is to close the basement door and turn off the lights. If you have a leaky door you would see the light from the outside shine through the parts that are not sealed properly.

a green door leading into a basement or cellar, under the shade of trees. Are Bilco Doors Secure


With over 90 years of experience in the construction business, it is safe to say that Bilco's doors are very secure. From the materials used to the process of how the doors were built, Bilco's doors are made to safeguard your house for years to come.

Remember even if your door will last a long time, it is still advisable to check up on it regularly. Ideally knowing when to replace your bulkhead door is also very important for you and your home's safety. Always keep an eye out for signs of rust, cracks, and water damage.

Here are more posts on how to care for your basement:

Water Leaking Into The Basement After Heavy Rain – What To Do?

How To Bug Bomb A Basement

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