What are basement bulkheads meant for?

zolcatMay 31, 2009

I see a lot of houses with Bulkheads here in Connecticut,especialy in the older houses. What are they meant for?

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Probably has plumbing or ductwork in them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 6:47PM
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Do you mean the bulkhead to the basement? If so, it's for access to the basement.

When we first moved to New England we'd never seen a bulkhead. In CO, homes are not built with outside access to the basement. It's a useful thing.

/tricia (who now lives in Mystic)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 8:22PM
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There are a lot of thme in NYC and NJ as well. They are the early version of a "walk out" basement.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:28AM
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You need at least one large entrance to the basement that is not through the house. What has our bulkhead been used for? To get the furnace, hotwater heater, etc., into the basement, to get lawn furniture into the basement for winter storage, provides access to anyone servicing the "systems". We use it constantly.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 4:22PM
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As the above have mentioned--ease of getting bulky/dirty things into and out of the basement without going through the formal first floor areas of the house, and as an additonal means of egress/an additional way out of a house in a basement that would otherwise have been totally underground and landlocked.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:29PM
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Maybe under current code you need a second entrance to the basement everywhere but it definately wasn't a historical requirement.

Far as I know, only if its living space does there need to be a second form of egress.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:56PM
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To bring all your large junk when you move in, never to be seen again. :) You need two forms of egress if you ever want to have a finished basement. When we built our home we put access to the basement via the garage to avoid needing a bulkhead on the outside of our house.

My grandmother's house had a dirt "root cellar" under the house accessed via a bulk head. A dark, dank, scary, spidery place filled with canning jars.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 1:06PM
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chrisk327: "Far as I know, only if its living space does there need to be a second form of egress."

Correct. Most homes that I have seen with basements, including ours built in '99 (old and new and in between) do not have a form of egress other then into the main house.

This is why so many basement "bedrooms" are illegal, as there is no form of egress directly to the outside, unless the windows have been enlarged enough for escape in case of fire.

Such access is definetly a plus, but not required by code unless the basement will be converted to living space inclusive of a bedroom.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 12:38AM
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