How to Hide Bilco Doors

When you’re looking to improve the aesthetics of your home’s exterior, it’s easy to focus on large-scale projects like painting a new color or landscaping. But do you ever stop to think about those trivial additions that take away from its curb appeal? Think AC units, gas meters, and recycling bins. 

In the following post, we’ll focus on one such item: a bulkhead or cellar door. Though highly functional, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and can easily distract individuals from your home’s exterior appeal. 

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to hide bilco doors. These include adding privacy screens, fencing, using plants, installing a swing chair, and more. 

Tips to hide bilco doors and bulkhead cover ideas

Fence it in

If your bulkhead doors are really taking away from the look of your home’s exterior, consider installing a fence that completely hides them from plain sight. 

A picket fence that goes all around the basement door is a particularly good idea. And remember to consider the height of the fence. It should be tall enough so that it provides adequate coverage.  

Add privacy screens

A hideous aluminum or steel-made basement door sticking out from the foundation of your house and extending into your backyard only takes away from the aesthetic appeal. 

Unfortunately, you can’t just reposition the door or get rid of it altogether because it serves a purpose. But adding a lattice or bamboo screen to it can definitely give it a more stylish look. 

If you decide to use a screen to conceal your bulkhead doors, be mindful of the material used to make the screen. You should go for something that’s capable of withstanding external elements. In that regard, wooden screens are a better option than those made of fabric or glass materials. 

Another point you should keep in mind entails the stability of the screens. For the best outcome, dig narrow trenches then erect the screens to at least ½ to 1 foot deep. This helps to minimize the risk of the screens being blown away by strong winds. 

If you live in a very windy area, you may want to consider a sturdier approach that will keep the screens in place. For instance, you can reinforce the screens using 4×4 fencing posts at the ends of the screen.

Use garden plants

If you don’t like the idea of adding a screen, using plants is another excellent idea to conceal your basement doors. 

Important to note though is that not every plant will be suitable for this application. You’ll need to look for evergreen plants that grow tall. This way, they’ll provide enough coverage to hide the doors.

Focusing on evergreen varieties is smart because you won’t have to start looking for replacement plants in the middle of the year as they grow 24/7. 

Create an outdoor seating area

If you’re like most homeowners, chances are that you use your backyard as a place for relaxation and entertainment. If this is the case, creating a cozy seating area is one of the best ways to conceal your bulkhead doors.

Leverage the angled space where the cellar door intersects with your home’s wall to set up an outdoor cross-sectional. You can then layer this couch with cushions and pillows designed with weather-resistant fabrics. 

To complete this space, invest in a couple of outdoor chairs made of teak or other suitable material; a fire pit, and lighting fixtures. 

Such a setting pulls double-duty by serving as a relaxation spot and hiding your bulkhead doors. More importantly, it provides quick access to your basement whenever you want to store your outdoor furniture.

Turn it into a staircase

If the basement door is in the front section of your house, then you can build a staircase to conceal it

This works best if the door is completely horizontal as opposed to being angled. This way, you can use the horizontal surface as a landing, and then add a few steps leading away from this bilco door. To the untrained eye, no one will ever notice that the landing is a bulkhead door.

That said, this is not a project where you can employ a DIY approach. You may have to hire a professional, who’s skilled in transforming an outdoor space or building staircases.

Erect a stairway

If the idea of transforming your bulkhead door into a stairway doesn’t work for you, then how about you get a staircase installed over it? 

For the best outcome, you can incorporate other elements into your backyard. This way, an individual’s attention is not drawn directly to the stairway but to the patio, garden, or outdoor pool. 

Go for a clamshell door

Inspired by sailboat technology, a clamshell door will be less noticeable compared to traditional bulkhead doors.

Usually, manufacturers use either steel, aluminum, or wood to build bulkhead doors. But with a clam door, the most common material used in its construction is lightweight fiberglass.

Since clam cellar doors aren’t that popular, it won’t be easy for people to figure out that it’s actually a bulkhead door. In fact, the clam door looks more elegant and it offers better resistance against water and other external elements.

Add a swing chair

If you already have a cellar door in place, the easiest way to conceal it is to have a swing chair installed over it. The best thing about this approach is that it’s one of the easiest DIY projects that you can do over the weekend. You don’t have to enlist any professional help; which saves you time and money.

Just be sure to look for a sizable swing chair that provides ample coverage to hide the basement doors. You’ll also want to think about the material used in its construction.

If your bulkhead door is made of wood, then invest in a swing chair made of similar material so that it blends nicely in the setting. However, it should be premium-quality wood that doesn’t rot easily when exposed to moisture.

Paint it

This strategy doesn’t necessarily hide your bilco doors. Rather, it enables them to blend nicely into their surroundings; hence preventing them from being the center of attention. While the main reason for painting your exterior cellar door will be to conceal it, this will bring you so many more benefits.

One of these is extending its durability. As you’re well aware, these doors are constantly exposed to harsh elements like full sun, snow, and more. Painting adds a protective layer that shields your basement door from these elements; hence, enhancing its longevity. 

And like adding a swing chair, this is another DIY project you can do on your own.

Wrap Up

Don’t want your bilco doors to be the focus of your home’s exterior? Well, there are a few ideas you can try to conceal them. For instance, you can install a swing chair over it, add a privacy screen or fence. 

You can also transform the basement doors into a deck, stairway, or paint them so they blend nicely into the rest of the environment. 

NOTE FROM the author

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