FAQ: What is the purpose of a bulkhead?

Posted by Ben Thompson on 08.1.21

A bulkhead is a section of ceiling that has been dropped and boxed-in or enclosed. It’s not uncommon to have bulkheads in your kitchen, bathroom or basement. Clients frequently ask us about bulkheads and want to understand their purpose and here’s our answer.

Bulkheads are typically used to conceal something. It could be plumbing pipes, electrical wires, duct work, or exhaust fans. When we create a new design for your home, we may want to remove these to make way for higher ceilings or to extend cabinet height. There are also times when we will add bulkheads to a room. They can be especially useful in basements when creating media rooms and work great for special lighting features or built-in speaker systems.


Bulkheads shown lining the edge of the ceiling in the existing kitchen.


Bulkheads removed
Kitchen after remodel with bulkheads removed.


Be careful if you are completing any DIY projects in your home that involve bulkheads. Before you remove one, make sure you know what’s inside. Cut a hole large enough to allow you to insert a flashlight to look around. If there’s nothing inside, you can begin the process of removing it. If you do find something, you should call a professional to get advice on how to relocate the items your bulkhead is concealing. Don’t take a chance with electrical and plumbing work as you could make an error or potentially hurt yourself.

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Topics: Kitchens, FAQ, Featured, remodeling grand rapids mi, basement remodel, bulkhead, Thompson Remodeling, thompson remodeling grand rapids mi