In this project, replacing a worn-out basement door with a
new custom bulkhead gave us an opportunity to leave the
customer with a nice-looking — and durable —
entryway (1). We started by pouring a new curb, sized to match
the new steel door. After squaring and leveling the forms, we
drilled holes in the existing slab for rebar pins to tie in the
new concrete (2), then poured and screeded the concrete. The
raised curb (3) will keep water from the adjoining slab out of
the entry well.
We capped the sidewalls with Koma PVC trim (4) and put
multilayered flashings — both metal and rubber — at
the top (5) to make sure any rainwater that blows in drains out
onto the surface. We also installed the PVC trimboard across
the top with a gap (6) so water can drain.
Given these water-management details, the bulkhead should hold
up for many years to come.
Emanuel Silva owns Silva Lightning Builders, a
remodeling company in North Andover, Mass.
Matching Asbestos Siding
If you've ever worked on an old asbestos-sided house, you
know how scary it is to install new windows or do anything that
requires removing the siding. Not because asbestos siding is so
dangerous that touching it will kill you, but because it's
extremely brittle and if you break it there's nowhere to get
Roberto Ramirez, a contractor in Moraga, Calif., encountered
this problem while replacing windows on an asbestos-sided
house. Partway into the job, he discovered an extensive area of
rotted framing that had to be replaced. Some of the siding on
the wall had already been damaged, and by the time he replaced
the framing and was ready for trim, he was many pieces short of
the material needed to complete the job.
So Ramirez bought some 4x8 sheets of HardiePanel 5/16-inch
fiber cement and made them look like asbestos siding. He ripped
the sheets to width, then used a jigsaw to scallop the lower
edges (1). The old pieces of siding were about 16 inches long,
but rather than cut up his 8-foot fiber-cement strips, he
kerfed them every 16 inches to make them look as if they had
The new siding is slightly thicker than the old material but
blends in pretty well, even before painting (3). —