Concrete cutting: adding a precast concrete bulkhead to your home

Installing a precast concrete staircase in your home basement is actually quite an easy project for the advanced DIYer or anyone who can coordinate a couple of subcontractors. Doing so will add a waterproof watertight outlet to your basement which, in many cases, is necessary to meet local building codes during a remodel. Either way, this newly added entry will add a lot more function to your home and basement.

First of all, it is probably a good idea to explain what precast concrete is. Precast concrete is simply concrete that has been mixed, formed and vibrated in a highly controlled “plant” type environment and then delivered or trucked to its final destination and installed. Although some precast concrete products are much thinner than conventional “pour-in-place” applications, it does not mean that precast products are of lower quality and are, on the contrary, often much more durable.

To orchestrate this project, you will need to dig a hole, cut an entrance opening in your foundation, and deliver and install the actual precast concrete bulkhead. Your first step is to locate a precast concrete product distributor. You can find a precast concrete dealer in your local phone book, or better yet, in your online yellow pages. Once you have located a reputable dealer, you should visit the precast manufacturers showroom, which usually consists of a giant field filled with stairs, bulkheads, and culverts. You need to choose the right size and style for your project. A standard precast bulkhead will generally cost less than $ 1000 and this includes the deck and installation of the steel bulkhead.

Once you’ve chosen the correct product, be sure to request a worksheet or spec sheet that comes with your particular product. This “spec sheet” will tell you how much digging needs to be done and what size gate your concrete cutter should cut into the foundation. Excavation can be done by various methods. You can dig it out by hand with a pick and shovel (not recommended), you can rent a small excavator (it costs about $ 300) from a tool rental kit and use the machine to dig it out or you can call in a professional digging contractor and have them look it up for you (it costs between $ 300 and $ 500). I highly recommend hiring a professional excavator for this part of the project. This process will take you to a professional in less than a few hours and you can shop around for the best price. Please Note: Be sure to notify your area’s “DIG SAFE” program and have them go out and locate hidden underground utilities before beginning your excavation. Also, keep in mind that your excavator will have to remove and remove approximately 50% of the dirt it removes from the hole because the bulkhead to be installed will take up approximately that volume of space. If this is not feasible, you can use this land elsewhere on your property or you can give it to one of your neighbors. Either way, landfill is a much-needed and sought-after commodity. Hence the old saying: Phil Dirt … America’s Most Wanted Man.

Once the hole for your bulkhead has been successfully dug and the part of the base to be cut is exposed, you should clearly trace the cut lines with a tape measure, a bright yellow wooden crayon, and a level of 4 ‘as indicated on the specification sheet. Now is the time to call in a professional concrete cutter and find out what their price and availability is (the cost is usually $ 425 +/- to cut and drop the piece). They will charge you approximately $ 100 additional to hammer the part into manageable pieces and up to $ 500 to remove the part from the site. In order to avoid disintegration and removal charges, simply have your excavation contractor dig a “grave” for the concrete at the bottom of your excavation. This way, you can bury it and save yourself time, money, and hassle. Explain to the concrete cutter that you need a standard entry for a bulkhead. Ask them how much they charge and when they can schedule their work. Ask them for an appointment in the morning. You will need to coordinate the concrete cutting and bulkhead installation so that as soon as the concrete cutter is finished, the bulkhead is installed immediately. Therefore, you can now schedule the bulkhead delivery and installation for approximately 12 noon. Most precast concrete product manufacturers will install for you at no additional cost or included in the price.

I recommend calling each of your subcontractors one day before your arrival just to check for scheduling conflicts. This will minimize the number of problems that will occur and give you plenty of time to reschedule each subcontractor if one of them runs into a problem.

As soon as the bulkhead and metal bulkhead cover have been properly installed, you will need to “fill in” or replace the dirt that was removed from the hole. This can be done by hand with a shovel by an experienced “do it yourself” or you can arrange for your excavation contractor to return once the installation is complete and do the backfill for you. It is always a good idea to allow this soil to settle before adding topsoil or planting grass or flowers. The ground around the bulkhead should settle fairly well after several heavy rains.

Well good luck and if you choose to tackle this project congratulations. For more information on this topic, do a search for “precast,” “concrete cut,” or “bulkhead.” As always, feel free to visit our website below.

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