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    Concrete Cutting - Adding a Pre-Cast Concrete Stairway to Your Basement
    Copyright © 2005, Affordable Concrete Cutting Boston , All Rights Reserved

    Installing a pre-cast concrete stairway to your home's basement 
    is actually quite an easy project for the advanced do-it-
    yourselfer or anyone that can coordinate a couple of sub 
    contractors. Doing so will add a water tight weather proof egress 
    to your basement that, in many cases, is necessary to comply with 
    local building codes during a remodel. Either way, this newly 
    added entrance will add much more function to your home and your 
    First of all it is probably a good idea to explain what pre-cast 
    concrete is. Pre-cast concrete is simply concrete that has been 
    mixed, formed and vibrated in a very controlled "plant" type 
    environment and then delivered or trucked to its final 
    destination and installed. Despite the fact that some pre-cast 
    concrete products are much thinner than conventional "poured in 
    place" applications does not mean that the pre-cast products are 
    any less quality and to the contrary they are usually much more 
    In order to orchestrate this project you are going to need a hole 
    dug, a doorway opening cut into your foundation and the actual 
    pre-cast concrete bulkhead delivered and installed. Your first 
    step is to locate a pre-cast concrete product dealer. A pre-cast 
    concrete dealer can be located in your local phonebook, or better 
    yet, your online yellow pages. Once you have located a reputable 
    dealer you need to visit the pre-cast manufacturers showroom, 
    which usually consists of a giant field full of stairs, bulkheads 
    and culverts.  You need to choose the size and style that is 
    right for your project. A standard pre-cast bulkhead will 
    generally cost less than $1000 and this includes the steel 
    bulkhead cover and installation. 
    Once you have chosen the right 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 cutter needs to 
    cut in the foundation. The digging can be done using several 
    methods. You can dig it by hand with a pick and shovel (not 
    recommended), you can rent a small excavator (cost about $300) 
    from a tool rental outfit and use the machine to dig it out or 
    you can call a professional excavation contractor and have them 
    dig it out for you (cost between $300 and $500). I highly 
    recommend hiring a professional excavator for this part of the 
    project. This process will take a professional less than a few 
    hours and you can shop around for the best price. Please Note: Be 
    sure to notify your areas "DIG SAFE" program and have them come 
    out and locate any hidden underground utilities before you start 
    your excavation. Also, keep in mind that your excavator will have 
    to remove and dispose of about 50% of the dirt that he/she 
    removes from the hole because the bulkhead to be installed will 
    take up about that much volume of space. If this is not feasible, 
    you may be able to use this dirt somewhere else on your property 
    or you may be able to give it to one of your neighbors. Either 
    way, fill dirt is a very needed and sought after commodity. Hence 
    the old saying: Phil Dirt...the most wanted man in America.
    Once the hole for your bulkhead has been successfully dug out and 
    the portion of the foundation that needs to be cut is exposed you 
    need to clearly layout your cut lines with a measuring tape, a 
    bright yellow lumber crayon and a 4' level as instructed on the 
    spec sheet. Now it is time to call a professional concrete cutter 
    and find out what their pricing and availability is (cost is 
    usually $425+/- to cut and drop the piece). They will charge you 
    approximately an additional $100 to jack hammer the piece into 
    manageable pieces and up to $500 to remove the piece from site. 
    In order to avoid the break up an disposal charges, 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 
    yourself some time, money and hassles. Explain to the concrete 
    cutter that you need a standard doorway for a bulkhead. Ask them 
    how much they charge and when they can schedule your job. Ask 
    them for a morning appointment.  You are going to have to 
    coordinate the concrete cutting and the bulkhead installation so 
    that as soon as the concrete cutter is done the bulkhead is 
    immediately installed. So you can now schedule your bulkhead 
    delivery and installation for about 12 noon. Most pre-cast 
    concrete product manufacturers will do the installation for you 
    at no additional cost or it is included in the price.
    I recommend calling each of your sub-contractors a day prior to 
    their arrival just to verify that there are no scheduling 
    conflicts. This will minimize the amount 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 your bulkhead and metal bulkhead cover have been 
    successfully installed you will need to "back fill" or replace 
    the dirt that was removed from the hole. This can be done by hand 
    with a shovel by an experienced "do it yourselfer" or you can 
    make arrangements to have your excavation contractor return once 
    the installation is complete and do the backfilling for you. It 
    is always a good idea to allow this dirt to settle before adding 
    your topsoil or planting any grass or flowers. The ground around 
    the bulkhead should be settled pretty good after several heavy 
    rain showers. 
    Well, good luck and if you choose to tackle this project 
    congratulations. For more information on this subject just do 
    a search for "pre-cast,"  "concrete cutting" or "bulkhead." 
    As always please feel free to check out our website at 

    Writer's Resource Box:
    Affordable Concrete Cutting Boston services the contractor 
    and homeowner in and around Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. 
    We specialize in cutting doorways in concrete foundations. 
    Visit our website at http://www.affordableconcretecutting.com

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