Powder Coated Bilco Basement Door

By Robert Robillard on Bilco

Classic Series Bilco Basement Door with Powder Coat Finish:

I recently had the opportunity to install a new powder coated Bilco basement door. I first saw this new door finish at a builders trade show in Orlando and when I contacted the company they sent me a unit to install, review and report back to you on.

This review will detail the quality as well as ease of installation for the powder coated Bilco basement door.

What’s the hype with this Bilco door?

Bilco is a well known brand in the building trades.  They have been making bulkhead doors, precast stairs and  window wells that meet egress codes for years.

The new powder coated Bilco door is similar as the classic standard steel doors that Bilco has been making for years with one major difference; it has a factory applied powder coat finish.

Bilco offers four colors in this finish; white, sandstone, light gray and brick.

What is a powder coat finish?

Powder coating is mainly done to metal and is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. This coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a “skin” over the metal.

The result is a superior finish that is more durable and tougher than conventional paint. Powder coated finishes typically are more resistant to chipping, scratching and fading – all things that happen to painted steel basement doors.

Benefits to using a powder coating finish:

By powder coating their doors they are able to offer the user a better quality more environmentally safer product. Such as:

  1. Powder coatings emit zero or near zero volatile organic compounds [VOC] which is the nasty smelly environmentally devastating vapors.
  2. Powder coating produces a thicker more uniform and better-looking coating than conventional liquid paints.
  3. Powder coating over-spray can be recycled to achieve nearly 100% use of the coating.
  4. Capital equipment and operating costs for a powder line are generally less than for conventional liquid lines.
  5. Superior Finish Resists Chipping, Scratching and Fading

Bilco sizes available:

The new powder coated Bilco steel basement doors come in most of the popular sizes that Bilco carries. Available on our most popular steel sided door sizes, Size B, Size C, and extension panels

Bilco colors available:

The powder coated doors are offered in four standard colors; white, sandstone, light gray and brick.

Installing powder coated Bilco basement door:

For my installation situation I needed to order the extension panel for the system to work properly. The new unit was replacing an older 25-year-old unit. The concrete foundation was intact and in great shape.

TIP: If your situation requires concrete repair check out Bilcos website for help and advise. They offer ideas on how to make the repairs needed as well as sell “foundation plates” to help smooth and level the surface area for a better installation. It’s the easiest and fasted way to improve the foundation surface area.

Prior to ordering I had to carefully measure my existing condition to see if they fell within the parameters of the new powder coated Bilco basement door unit.

It is critical that the new door be installed on a surface that is smooth and level. When installed properly the Bilco door unit will open smoothly, close easily and keep out Mother Nature.

TIP: Install gutters or a rain diverter above any basement door unit to protect the door as well as keep water from getting under seams an into the basement.

First Impression:

The Bilco doors and panels are heavy-duty metal panels powder coated with a polyester resin. The resign provides a durable, weather-resistant coating that reeks of quality.

The finish is truly impressive and will no doubt result in a long lasting, durable and chip-resistant coating that will not only weather well but look great in the process.

This powder coat process also eliminates the time and expense required to paint the door. A huge time and money saver!! If only I could buy powder coated cedar clapboard

Note: the Bilco basement door system satisfies IRC 2012 Building code requirements for emergency egress in finished basement areas.

The assembling of the door unit requires six steps:

STEP 1: Assemble the frame:

This step was straight forward and easy to do using round head nuts and bolts.  Bilco provided a detailed instruction manual with pictures to assist in every step. I especially appreciate the color pictures ~ thanks Bilco!

 STEP 2: Anchor the frame to house foundation:

This was the fun part. I moved the door frame unit into place and checked it for fit and leveling it in the process. Once I was happy with the fit I measured the door diagonals to “square the unit” and then used a marker to mark the anchor hole location on the concrete foundation.

The instruction manual calls for a 3/16-in. hole and six ¼-in x 1-3/4-in Tapcon masonry screws, three each side.

I chose to use Wedge Bolts where I was able to fit my impact driver and expansion bolts where I could not. My main reason is that I like to over build and I wanted better up lift protection than the Tapcons offer.

The extension panels screwed right to the wood frame work of the house. Later I will overlap and cover the seams at the house with rubber flashing and then overlap them with cedar clapboard siding and caulk all of the seams.

STEP 3: Door installation:

The doors have hinges that index into hinge receiver brackets and are secured in place with hinge pins – super easy to install!

STEP 4: Gas spring installation:

The doors have a gas spring piston that prevents the doors from slamming and also assists in raising and lowering these doors and allow the operator to lift a normally heavy door with one hand. They’re quite heavy without them.

At this point I could almost smell victory – a few simple nut and bolts attaché the spring bracket which snaps into place onto the bracket.

STEP 5: Painting the Bilco door:

If you purchased a powder-coated door there is no need to paint the door. You’re done!

STEP 6: Rubber bumper installation:

The last step is to install two rubber bumpers in the doors edge to protect the doors from contacting and scraping or chipping the paint finish.

Using the powder coated Bilco basement door:

The doors open, close so smooth it’s amazing.  The gas piston really make these heavy doors close easy – it’s a great feature for small children and the elderly.    The locking slide bolt is easy to use and super secure!

The doors close reasonably tight and have overlapping flanges that keep out the weather and wind driven rain. I will be adding the optional keyed lock to this door soon.

Overall Impression:

The powder coated Bilco basement door was super easy to install. I rate this a moderate level of difficulty for a DIYer.

The powder coat finish really makes these doors “pop” and will no doubt provide a weather tight seal from the elements for years to come. A flanged, overlapping design on the doors and frame as well as an improved header shed water and prevent binding due to snow and ice build up.

The strength and durability built into these doors also provides you with a real sense of home security. The doors latch with a slide bolt and internal mounting flanges which provide nice seal from the weather.   The J-channel header is not only designed to shed water but to also prevent binding due to snow and ice buildup.  A plus in the Northeast!

The Bilco basement doors are ideal for access to a basement and for the ability to allow you to move large storage items, hot water tanks, furnaces, pool tables, furniture, etc into a basement.

I did not like that the bolts provided by Bilco were not stainless steel and feel they dropped the ball on the quality of the fasteners.  Such a small investment for them to improve the quality fasteners to go with such a nicely finished product.

I would recommend purchasing and installing a Bilco basement powder coated door as a basement access or egress without hesitation.  Its safe, secure and durable and the finish is going to last a long time.  Quality, durable and long lasting . . . what more could a homeowner ask for!

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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