Installing a Walkout Basement Door

Installing a Walkout Basement Door

Are you looking for information on Installing a walkout basement door?

Spring is coming, and in Calgary, we try our best to maximize the time we get outdoors. The weather in Calgary can be all four seasons in one day, and as a resident here, you have to consider this in all of your renovations. Especially your basement renovations.

If you are considering adding an additional entrance or exit to your home, there are a couple of things that you need to consider, and also a few ideas that we at Bedrock Construction would like to pass along. We are experts in this area and have done several basement door installations. If you need help or want to get more personal information about your project please contact us and let us know.

Will a Walkout Door Work for My Home?

The first question you need to figure out is whether or not your home will be approved for an exterior door addition below grade.

As per the City of Calgary website all new basement entries will require a building permit. (Source). These building permits are designed to make sure that safety and structural integrity is maintained throughout the building process. They are also in place to make sure that all land use bylaws and rules are followed.

Here are some of the guidelines.

When adding new exterior doors to your concrete foundation wall, a professional Engineer’s structural review is required when one or more of the following applies:

  • The width of a new opening exceeds 1.2m (4’-0”)
  • The combined width of all new and existing openings in one wall exceeds 25% of the overall length of that wall
  • The width of solid wall which remains between an existing opening and a new opening is less than the width of either of those openings

But my Basement isn’t a Separate Dwelling?

When the city has a look at your proposal they will be looking at whether or not you are trying to make an additional suite in your basement. One of the key areas of interest for the City of Calgary is secondary suites. Typically this is one of the main reasons that people get an additional exterior door installed.

However, with the recent covid pandemic lots and lots of people are doing significant renovations to their homes for their own benefit, or for resale value. It is important that during the development permit process you make this clear to the city planners. Bedrock can help you with this process, but if you apply for the building permits on your own, you will not only need a plan but you will also need this information.

How Much Will a Walkout Basement Door Installation Cost?

How much will a basement walkout exterior door addition cost? The basement walkout door installation will likely cost 2500-60000 dollars in the Calgary area. The wide range is because of the intricate nature of the installation and it is very dependent on your home situation.

If your home is above grade adding an exterior door can be relatively inexpensive. There are simple demolition and installation costs, along with the cost of the actual door. Most basements in Calgary however are not in this category. Most of the basements we add exterior doors to are below grade, some quite significantly.

This means that there is an additional cost, specifically in the excavation of the yard, the engineering of the basement foundation (when we cut a hole for the door) and the concrete steps that are put in after so that people can enter and exit the door.

Let’s look at some examples

You Home’s Basement is Mostly Above Grade

This is the best-case scenario as far as the excavation cost is concerned. If your home is higher up then placing the door in the foundation will be easier. It will also require less excavation and less concrete for the staircase up from the door. If your backyard is level with your foundation you may be able to get a door put in without any excavation at all.

You Home has a large clearance from the Property Line

One of the main issues that city planners look at is how close your home is to the property line. If you want your additional exit/entrance to be on the side of your house, then you will need a certain amount of clearance between your home and the property line. If you have this you will be one step ahead.

Your Home is Below Grade but your Windows are Above Grade.

You likely live in a split level of some kind. With these houses, there is generally less of the basement in the ground, and this means that the excavation cost and the exit stairs cost are a little lower. It sometimes can also mean that the engineering for the structure will be less as well. But that all depends on your home and how it was built.

Your home is a Two-Story and the Basement is in the Ground.

This will be most people that don’t live on a hill. You are on the ground. It’s not a limiting factor, but it generally means that the cost of the installation will be in the higher range. There will be excavation and the post-installation exit stairs will be a full set of stairs, and there may even be a need for an additional retaining wall. Like you see here.

Does a Walkout Basement Add Value to my Home?

You are probably wondering if adding a walkout basement or installing a basement door adds value to your home. The answer is yes, adding a walkout basement door to your home will increase the value of your home. How much it increases the value really depends on your home and the market.

What do I have to do to the Interior of my Basement for the new Door?

The last big part of the equation when it comes to installing a walkout basement door is what will the inside look like. Before you begin down the road of planning you have likely gone into your basement and decided where the best place to put the door will be. It is either on the side or the back of the house.

This is unless you are creating a secondary suite, you have the proper permits and you are placing the door on the front side of the house as a private entrance for your renters.

If not, then it will likely be in the back. Side entrances and front entrances are more for secondary suites.

The inside of the new door installation can be in the rec room, the end of a hallway, or in a bedroom. How this plays out will be up to you and the city planner. We can also plan a role in this if you are undecided. We can help you with your options and make sure that everything turns out great. Because we are a full renovation and construction company we actually take care of the whole process, from planning to excavation to construction and finishing.