How to Lock a Bulkhead Door

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Installing a lock on a basement bulkhead door is an important step in home security. While a padlock on the inside or outside of the door may suffice for an outbuilding, in an emergency you can't risk being trapped in a locked basement. On the other hand, leaving the bulkhead door unlocked is an open invitation to thieves. Installing a bulkhead or cellar door lock requires a drill, drill bits for use with metal and basic household tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Painter's tape
  • Punch or nail set
  • Hammer
  • Electric drill
  • Drill bits
  • Hole saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket set
  • Measure the door to determine the location of the template; most lock sets come with a template to help you align the pieces properly. Tape the template to the exterior of the bulkhead door.

  • Mark the center point of each hole on the template with a punch or the tip of a nail set and hammer.

  • Drill the indicated holes through the door, following the template. Use an electric drill and drill bits or hole saws in the appropriate sizes.

  • Insert the lock's cylinder through the door, then assemble the lock and handle according to the manufacturer's directions. Screw the handle to the door, using the enclosed bolts and lock nuts.

  • Assemble the mounting bracket and latch for the interior of the door. Install the latch using the enclosed carriage bolts and lock nuts. Tighten with a socket set and wrench.

  • Test the operation of the latch and lock while the bulkhead door is open. Lubricate as directed in the manufacturer's instructions before closing and locking the door.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add a matching handle on the other door. Opening the bulkhead doors from the outside is awkward.
  • When retrofitting older doors, also add a hydraulic lift mechanism to hold the doors up when they're open.
  • Wear gloves and safety glasses when drilling holes in the door.

References

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