Adding a Precast Concrete Stairway Bulkhead to Your Home

Nowadays it pays to be aware of the choices available in the market in order to make the right decisions when it comes to improvements in the home. And with the skyrocketing price of construction materials and services, it makes sense to know what options are available.

Take for example the installation of precast concrete bulkhead stairway to your home's basement. Whether you can take on the work yourself or coordinate it with a couple of sub-contractors, installing a pre-cast concrete stairway to your basement is actually a fairly straightforward project. Either way, it pays to have a basic knowledge on what a pre-cast bulkhead is.

What Is A Precast Concrete Bulkhead Stairway?

Simply put, a precast concrete bulkhead stairway is a horizontal or sloping structure, made of precast concrete, leading to a cellar or basement stairway. Precast concrete is concrete that has been mixed, formed in precast concrete molds, and vibrated in a very controlled "plant" type environment and then delivered or trucked to its final destination and then installed. There are many other kinds of pre-cast products available in the market such as pre-cast concrete box culverts, pre-cast concrete foundation wall panels, and others.

While some precast concrete products appear to be much thinner than conventional "poured in place" applications, this fact alone does not make the former of any less quality. Surprising as it may sound, precast concrete products are in fact much more durable.

Tips On How To Have A Pre-Cast Concrete Stairway And Bulkhead Installed

Basically, this project would involve digging a hole, cutting a doorway opening into the concrete foundation, and actually installing the pre-cast concrete bulkhead. Hence, getting in touch with a reliable precast concrete product dealer who can offer you the best price, quality, and reliable service would get the project going smoothly.

Your first step is to locate a precast concrete product dealer by going through the list of local precast concrete dealers in your local phone directory or by doing a search on your favorite search engine.

Once you have located a reputable precast concrete dealer you need to visit the pre-cast manufacturer's showroom, which usually consists of a giant grassy field full of stairs, bulkheads and culverts. You'll need to choose the size and style that is right for your project. A standard precast concrete bulkhead will generally cost less than $1000 and this includes the steel bulkhead cover and the installation.

Once you have chosen the right precast concrete product be sure to ask for a worksheet or specification sheet that comes with your particular product. This "spec sheet" will tell you how much digging needs to be done and what size doorway your concrete cutting contractor needs to cut in the foundation.

Next comes the digging of the hole for the bulkhead, which can be done using several methods. You can dig it by hand with a pick and shovel, rent a small excavator from a tool rental outfit, or hire the services of a professional excavation contractor who can do the work for you. The last two options would normally cost you between $300-$500. Considering the difficulty of this particular task, hiring a professional excavator who can complete the task of digging in less than a few hours is recommended. You can ask and shop around for the best price.

One important consideration is ensuring that you notify your area's "DIG SAFE" program and have the excavator come out and locate any hidden underground utilities before excavation work is started. Also, keep in mind that your excavator will have to remove and dispose of about 50% of the dirt that is removed from the hole because the concrete bulkhead to be installed will take up about that much volume of space. If this is not feasible, you may opt to use this dirt somewhere else on your property or give it to one of your neighbors who may have some use for it.

Once the precast concrete bulkhead hole has been successfully dug out and the portion of the concrete foundation that needs to be cut is exposed, you need to clearly layout your cut lines. You can do this with a measuring tape, a bright yellow lumber crayon, a 4' level, and other materials as may be instructed on the spec sheet.

This is the point where your Concrete Cutting contractor comes in. Having an estimate of the cost of services of a professional concrete cutter will be very helpful, considering that those who offer such services require different rates in cutting and dropping the concrete opening and to jack hammer the piece into manageable pieces, or to remove the pieces from your worksite.

A Quick Tip: Simply have your excavation contractor dig a "grave" for the concrete at the bottom of your excavation. This way you can just bury it and save you the time, money and the hassle. All you have to do is explain, and communicate your standard doorway specifications to the concrete cutter. Most precast concrete product manufacturers will do the installation for you at no additional cost or it may be included in the price.

(c) 2006 New Hampshire Concrete Cutting and Core Drilling, All Rights Reserved. Written by: Robert Short. New Hampshire Concrete Cutting and Core Drilling provides concrete cutting and core drilling services to the contractor and homeowner in New Hampshire or NH. Visit our website at for more information on concrete cutting and core drilling.

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