Sealing Bulkhead Doors
To keep water out of the cellar, look for help from above
I've been having a problem with my metal bulkhead door. Water drips down on it from a gutter, seeps through the door, settles in the stairwell, and eventually ends up in the cellar. Is there something I can do about this?
— Edward, Dracut, MA
Tom Silva replies: Absolutely. First, take care of that gutter. Depending on what's causing water to overflow, you may have to clean the gutter, repair it, reposition it, or replace it. Once you do, I bet you'll also notice that things are a lot quieter — water dripping on a metal bulkhead door is like a kid banging on a drum. Eliminating the leaky gutter may also be enough to stop the door leak.
If not, maybe the door's header is rusted out. The header is a length of steel with a lip that directs water around the door. A header should be kept clean and painted so it doesn't rust. But If yours is rusted, you may be able to replace it by getting in touch with the original manufacturer for a replacement.