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Question DetailsAsked on 7/1/2015

Bulkhead door leakage

Just moved into this house and noticed the wet stairs under bulkhead door. Today it is raining hard. I took some pics. Could any expert here give me some suggestions of how to move forward? Thanks.

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5 Answers

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Answered 2 years ago by shiyang100

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Does not look serious.


If this is just from rainwater running down the bulkhead door and leaking under it, once it dries out probably just a bead of long-life (20+ year) silicone or siliconized latex caulk around the mounting flange on the outside will take care of it - comes in several colors. Or use concrete caulk (comes in caulk tube just like other caulk) and is concrete color. Make sure the caulk is pressured in under the flance, so use smallish cut on the tube to when you press the tip tight to it there is pressuring up of the caulk as it comes out, so it will want to penetrate into gaps under the flange.


If leaking due to accumulation or backup of wagter against it and you cannot ditch to drain that away, or if the area is subject to general surface flooding in the future, the "positive" way to solve it is to loosen the bolts on the bulkhead (usually bolted down using stud bolts or expansion bolts embedded in the concrete) and pry it up a bit and putting about a 1/2" wide layer of bitumastic roofing sealant (caulk or strip type), strip tub and shower sealant, or closed-cell foam weatherstripping under there alongthe bolt line roughtly that is thick enough to more than fill the largest gap, then bolt it back down tight, compressing that seal. Make sure it is overlapped at corners so you have continuous coverage under the flange on the bulkhead door. If in areas with carpenter ant, termites and the like - better to use concrete caulk or bitumastic than foam because some insects will eat that - or eat their way through it to get in.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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fthanks LCD. I took another pic. It looks more like water found a way from the lip to under the door. Is that common the installer skipped gasket on the top of the door?

Answered 2 years ago by shiyang100

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Ahhh - good detective work - definitely looks like it is leaking at the top of the doors, so probably is a missing seal. See if you can find a manufacturer plate on the door to figure out make and model - can probably buy a seal direct from manufacturer - some are slip-on, some screw on, some are glue-on.


Other alternative - figure out where water is coming into the frame from the door and put a weatherstrip there. Could be only at the door seal between two door panels, or could be where water is hitting the frame "above" the doors - but you should be able to find a place you can put sticky-back foam weatherstrip at the interface between the leaking components. Should be thick enough to be compressed as the door closes, but not so thick it holds a gap open elsewhere along the door edges.


Or could be tougher - some bulkhead doors are just plain built wrong, so they invite leakage - even saw one brand out there that had consistent leaks along the door edges so they put in a "rain gutter" along each side to catch it, and it drained out through holes at the bottom of each side - yet this door was advertised as "waterproof to 5 feet of submergence", even with two about 1/2" holes drilled at the bottom of the frame - go figure ! Classic reason I have always specified Bilco for bulkhead doors and hatches where they have a product that meets the need, or can build one.


Other alternative - contact local bulkhead door supplier and see what they can do for you - many have field service. Otherwise, a Door installation company.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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Thanks LCD. Happy 4th of July.


I couldn't find the manufacturer of the door. But I will contact the installer to see if I can get some help.



Answered 2 years ago by shiyang100




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