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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
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
The article on this page is Copyright © 2005, Affordable Concrete Cutting Boston , All Rights Reserved
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