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How Much Does BILCO Door Installation Cost?

Last Updated on May 23, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

With their rugged galvanized steel construction, thick insulation, and weather-tight compression seals, high-quality BILCO basement access doors provide secure, code-approved exterior basement entry that stands the test of time.

This guide examines the various cost factors in play, including door types, materials, accessories, customization, labor, delivery, site complexity, finishing, and required building code compliance critical for safety.

How Much Does BILCO Door Installation Cost?

Most standard BILCO door installations for the average residential home fall between $1,500 and $5,000 all-in when factoring the door unit itself, professional labor, delivery fees, excavation costs, required building permits, and necessary finishing work.

For basic installations, homeowners can expect to budget around $2,500 to $4,000 for a professionally installed BILCO steel door with essential hardware, assuming no major unexpected challenges arise.

Higher-end BILCO doors with premium materials and finishes can cost up to $7,500 fully installed. The total installation cost for a new BILCO basement entry door can range considerably based on the door size, material, site conditions, accessories, and complexity of the project.

BILCO Door Unit – Pre-painted steel or aluminum doors $1500-$5000. Insulated polymer doors cost more. Required hardware/components extra.

Delivery and Freight – Specialized freight for oversized doors averages $100-$500 for residential delivery.

Dumpster Rental – $300-$600+ for onsite waste disposal during excavation.

Excavation – Removing old walls/doors and digging trenches costs $800-$3000+ depending on complexity.

Framing and Buildout – Rough framing of the new opening averages $500-$1500 in carpentry work.

Installation and Anchoring – $1000-$4000+ for proper leveling, plumbing, securing doors into framing.

Sealing and Waterproofing – Crucial caulking and sealing around the installed door costs $200-$1000.

Insulation – Insulating cut openings averages $100-$300 in materials plus professional labor.

Interior Finishing – Basement reframing, drywall, trim after install is $500-$1500 more.

Exterior Finishing – Stairs, railing, landings, and grading costs vary widely $1500-$5000

Permits and Inspections – $100-$500 range including permit fees and mandatory inspection costs.

Miscellaneous Supplies – Sealants, fasteners, tools, equipment rentals add $500-$2000 in ancillary costs.

Bob Vila reports that a complete installation of a Bilco or bulkhead door for a basement or cellar can cost from $1,100 to $6,000 or more for materials and installation.

Swain LLC offers Bilco basement door replacements, with their basic package starting at $3,300, including labor and materials. The price may vary depending on the site’s condition, and an optional powder coating service is available for $650.

City-Data Forum discusses the installation cost for Bilco basement doors, with estimates ranging from $200 to $400 for a standard installation, assuming the door fits the current opening correctly.

Factors That Impact Installation Costs

  • Specific BILCO Door Type– Basic standard height basement entry doors generally range from $800-$2500. Larger emergency escape and egress doors meeting code requirements cost $1500-$4000. Insulated doors, fire-rated doors, noise-reducing doors, and other specialty models add even more expense.
  • Door Size– As expected, smaller standard 3-foot-wide x 3-foot-tall doors cost noticeably less in materials and labor than installing larger 4’ x 4’ or custom-sized doors simply due to using more steel, insulation, seals, fasteners, and workforce hours. However, opting for too small risks egress issues.
  • Material Type– BILCO’s original hot-dipped galvanized steel doors remain the most economical option ranging from $1000-$2500. Corrosion-resistant aluminum doors cost $2000-$4000. Ultra-durable fiberglass reinforced polymer doors run $2500-$5000, offering structural strength with minimized maintenance.
  • Professional Installation Labor– Depending on project complexity, necessary excavation, site prep work, access challenges, permit coordination, finishing, and overall BILCO door size, expect professional installation costs spanning $1000-$4000. Multi-day complex projects are costlier.
  • Required Permits, Inspections, and Fees– Meeting local building codes obligates pulling municipal permits averaging $100-$500 depending on the jurisdiction. Mandatory building inspections add $100-$500 in compliance fees. Failing inspections leads to expensive revisions.
  • Site Conditions and Install Location– Difficult basement access like steep exterior stairs, dense landscaping, or narrow side yards requiring substantial vegetation clearing or terrain leveling to operate equipment significantly increases labor hours and necessary machinery expenses.
  • Delivery Logistics– Shipping oversized steel doors requires special freight delivery ranging $50-$500 depending on your distance from a BILCO supplier. Cranes may be necessary, adding delivery complexities and fees.

DIY or Hire a Professional for Installation?

Pros of DIY BILCO Door Installation

  • Avoid high labor costs of $1500-$4000 for professionals
  • Gain satisfaction and pride from installing yourself
  • Allows for customization choices during the project
  • More flexibility in project timeline and phases

You might also like our articles about the cost of accordion-style folding doors, Eze-Breeze windows, or interior doors.

Cons of DIY BILCO Door Installation

  • Requires advanced carpentry, construction, and engineering skills
  • High likelihood of installation issues or failures if inexperienced
  • Process can take 2-3X longer without commercial equipment
  • Serious safety hazards like toxic fumes, cave-ins, electrical and gas lines
  • Voids manufacturer warranties if errors are made
  • No guarantee of passing rigorous permitting inspections on DIY work

Bilco Door ExampleFor most homeowners, paying certified and insured BILCO door installation pros for their project management, specialized tools, safety protocols, permitting, and guaranteed results provides valuable peace of mind and is highly recommended. But DIYers with proven advanced skills can certainly take on the project solo.

Reducing Your Installation Costs

Purchase materials directly – Sourcing BILCO doors and accessories yourself through reputable suppliers can potentially save 20% or more on materials costs rather than leaving it to the contractor.

Size doors efficiently – Avoid needlessly oversizing doors. Standard 3-foot x 3-foot BILCO doors adequately serve egress and access needs for most homes without adding unnecessary material costs.

Buy in off-seasons – Ask contractors about discounts on labor rates up to 20% lower during slower seasons like winter to fill schedules rather than paying peak summer rates.

Combine installations with other renovations – Adding a BILCO door while also refinishing your basement or performing other major upgrades on your property allows bundling multiple project costs.

Get multiple installation bids – It never hurts to compare quotes from at least 3-4 well qualified contractors before selecting your BILCO door installer. Consider experience, safety ratings, reviews, as well as cost.

Inquire about any available discounts – Ask your contractor if any seasonal promotions, new customer discounts, or multiline discounts on purchasing multiple access doors may help lower your total installation price.

Building Codes for Safety and Compliance

  • All egress and exterior doors must meet IRC codes for your local area. BILCO doors are designed to comply.
  • Only licensed contractors can pull the required permits and coordinate inspections by officials.
  • There are strict spacing, sizing, and specifications concerning steps, railings, and landings you must adhere to.
  • Certified BILCO installers are well-versed in all codes and ensure full compliance. DIYers risk violations.

Maintaining Your Investment

  • Inspect seals and lubricate moving parts annually to prevent corrosion.
  • Clear dirt and debris from door per manufacturer instructions to avoid drainage issues.
  • Use touch-up paint as needed on any chips to prevent rust from forming.
  • Have technicians adjust alignment or reinforce seals if any leaks form around aging doors.

Final Words

While upgrading your home through the proper installation of a top quality BILCO basement entry door represents a notable investment, protecting your family with an emergency exit that provides lasting performance, security, and compliance with egress codes makes the expense well worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a BILCO door considered an egress?

Yes, BILCO’s basement exit doors fully comply with IRC building codes concerning emergency egress requirements when properly installed. Their special release hardware ensures easy one-handed operation for quick exit access. Building inspectors will validate a new BILCO door meets all mandated safety standards.

Can you add a BILCO door to a basement?

BILCO does not recommend inexperienced DIYers attempt their own installations, as the risk of cave-ins, vapors, electrical issues, and concrete cutting hazards are high. Their expert installers are specially trained, equipped with steel trench shoring, and take safety very seriously. BILCO always advocates using qualified professionals.

How to measure for a BILCO door?

First measure the height from the basement floor to the entry’s ceiling. Then measure the width across the entire entryway opening. Add 1-3 inches clearance to both height and width measurements when selecting a BILCO door size to ensure a perfect fit within the existing foundation cutout. This allows proper framing and alignment.

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