How to Build a Bulkhead
A bulkhead is used in a concrete footer where there are steps up or down. These bulkheads allow a change in concrete height, and serve as a stop gate for wet concrete. They are generally made from lumber and plywood and can be readily removed after the concrete has dried. You can build a bulkhead in 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and scope of the project.
Measure the width of the footer that will receive the bulkhead. Add an extra 6 inches to the final width. Measure the widest -- rather than the narrowest -- part of the footer at the step down.
- A bulkhead is used in a concrete footer where there are steps up or down.
- These bulkheads allow a change in concrete height, and serve as a stop gate for wet concrete.
Record the measurement on a writing pad if you have more than one bulkhead to build. Sketch a plan view of the footer with the locations of the bulkheads noted. Note each measurement as well.
Lay out the bulkhead measurements on a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood. Bulkhead heights are to be built in 8-inch increments. However, sometimes the steps up along the footer are doubled to 16 inches. Lay out the width and height, and square it onto the plywood.
- Record the measurement on a writing pad if you have more than one bulkhead to build.
Snap chalk lines to connect the measurements. Put on safety goggles, place the plywood on a saw horse, and carefully cut out the bulkhead with a circular saw.
Cut 2-by-4s that correspond with the perimeter measurements of the plywood. For example, if your bulkhead is 24 inches wide and 8 inches tall, then cut two boards 21 inches and two boards 8 inches. Build a frame out of the 2-y-4s, laying them flat on the back side of the bulkhead. Attach the boards with 3-inch screws.
Drive the bulkhead into the soil with a hammer at the footer step-down. Place 2-by-4 stakes on the back side of the bulkhead at an angle and into the side of the footer bank. Attach the bulkhead to the stakes with 3-inch screws.
- Snap chalk lines to connect the measurements.
- Build a frame out of the 2-y-4s, laying them flat on the back side of the bulkhead.
- 3/4-inch plywood
- 2-by-4 lumber
- 3-inch wood screws
- Circular saw
- Chalk line
- Screw gun
- "Foundations and Concrete Work"; Fine Homebuilding; 2003
- "Masonry & Concrete"; Benjamin W. Allen; 1997
- "Building Your Own Home For Dummies"; Kevin Daum, Janice Brewster, Peter Economy; 2005