How to Cut a Basement Walkout Door

Cutting a Basement Walkout Door in Herriman, Utah

Hi. Today I’m at the Herriman basement walkout. I want to show you what we have going on. We marked out the wall and now we’re ready to saw-cut. We’ve excavated this opening for some retaining walls. The basement walkout will finish about two feet below this window and we’ve marked out these lines where we plan to make our cuts, after which this window will become the door. Harold here is our saw cutting contractor, and he’s getting the saws ready right now. We should be in business here today, getting this door open once we’re ready to cut the wall with this huge saw blade. I will take some video to show how we complete this process while protecting the inside finish work.

Clean Up Process to Remove Debris When Cutting the Basement Door

Inside, we masked off the floor with some heavy duty cardboard. While Harold cuts outside, I’m going to be inside vacuuming any debris that tries to get inside, cleaning as we cut. This wall is eight inches thick, so we’ll cut it in two steps. We’ll cut through 7-3/4 inches of the concrete with the water first, and then we’ll complete the last 1/4 inch cut with a dry blade. I’ll vacuum the dust and use a towel to block any water that tries to come inside. This process should keep everything really clean. So that’s the plan and we’re ready to put in this walkout.

Footing Installation and Deadman Wall Setup

To give you some perspective, this wall steps down two feet, which wasn’t part of the original plan, but we’re taking care of it. We’ve had to excavate down to where the original builders put the house at. We want to pour concrete on native soils that are stable for any footings that we install. We’re going to step this footing out two feet from the side of the house and then pour the retaining wall here that comes toward me and along this trench that we’ve dug, all the way to that step-down. We have a dead man wall that will go in right here.

Basically, that deadman wall is a four-foot footing that connects to a foundation wall on top of it, which comes up and ties into this retaining wall. Since the driveway will sit on top of all this earth, any force that pushes this out will be restricted by the deadman wall holding everything underneath. These deadman walls are situated every 10 feet, which totals three altogether, beginning with the retaining wall at the house. This is a little bit of a project here, but we’re doing great and we’re going to get it done.

Engineering the Soils for Footing Installation

I want to point out the difference in soils here. When we started excavating, we noticed these layers of soils. The top layer is the fill dirt that the original builder put in when they developed the neighborhood. You can see the native soil below right here. We cannot build on any of the dirt in this fill area because It’s not stable enough, so we must get down into this other soil. Now the reason we came down so deep is for engineering purposes. The engineering must be low enough to step the footings. So here the footings step up two-feet, and from that point it continues at that level all the way to where the existing house foundation rests.

Final Prep for Cutting Basement Walkout Entrance

Okay, so we have Harold here and he’s installing the brackets for the wall cutting saw. First we must install the anchors, mark everything, and then level these brackets and install them five and a half inches away from the line that we’re going to cut. We’re getting this up and have all our tools ready out here:  the saws, the 480 power, the generator, everything going. This is going to work out great.

Completing the Cuts for a Basement Door in Herriman, Utah

So Harold just completed the cuts on all sides and the concrete is loose in the hole. Now comes the satisfying moment of pushing it out. Okay, and there we go. Everything is cut out and looking good and ready for a new entry door. You can see that by design, we cut this wall lower than the slab so that when we pour the walkout, the concrete will flow right into the slab and match up at that same level with the appropriate thickness. It’ll be perfect.


Have you wondered what it costs to finish a basement in Salt Lake and Utah Counties?  Our basement finishing cost guide will give you everything you need to know.

  • Pricing for 1000 and 1500 square foot basement finishes
  • Pricing to include a bathroom, a kitchen, or open square footage
  • Pricing for Basic, Average, and Luxury Level Finishes
  • Basement walkout entrance pricing
  • Real project costs for basements we have finished
  • How to avoid the most costly mistakes while finishing a basement




Download the basement finishing cost guide

Download our FREE basement finishing cost guide. Inside we go over everything you’ll want to know.

  • Pricing calculation for any sized basement
  • Pricing to include a bathroom, a kitchen, a laundry room, or open square footage
  • Basement walkout entrance pricing
  • How to avoid the most costly mistakes while finishing a basement