Digging a Basement

Digging a basement is more difficult than digging a trench for pipelines. When you start planning for your basement excavation or foundation excavation, consider the following:

  • Have a licensed quality excavation contractor lay out the basement for you and get a complete price for the entire job. Don’t do a “per-hour” contract because, even though a price for your complete project may cost more, you will avoid running into possible overcharges if you were to do the “per-hour” deal.
  • Be sure your contract includes:
    • Clearing the land where the basement or foundation excavation will done
    • The excavation work itself
    • Any construction like grading a temporary entry point for the excavation equipment
    • Hauling debris from the construction away. (Don’t bury tree stumps if the only location available is near your basement or foundation wall – they can cause soil depression when they rot or settle.)
  • Make sure plans are clear what elevation to dig at and they factor in the height of the wall plus the footing height in the calculations. A survey transit needs to be used to determine the depth of the basement excavation and how level it is while digging.
  • Make sure the foundation contractors check with the concrete guy to determine the garage split.
  • When digging a basement, unless it’s a deep one, the excavator needs to over dig the foundation by about 3 feet for setting the concrete foundation forms.
  • Check with the site planner that they are managing the spoil piles and separating the topsoil if there is any. The key is to minimize having to re-handle the spoil piles. Sometimes that material will be used for such things as building ramps for the mixers. The material should be in a convenient place for backfill later.
  • Be sure that your foundation contractor takes frost exposure into account. If the basement has a walkout, the footings need to be below the frost level.
  • If you’re planning a septic system or a well, be sure your contractor has this designed in the plot plan before the digging starts.

The cost to dig a basement will vary quite a bit due to several factors including:

  • The depth of the basement being dug
  • The design of the basement and size
  • The soil conditions and terrain where the basement or foundation plot is located
  • Whether you’re digging out a basement that will be full, partial, have a walkout, or simply be a crawl space.

If you’re looking for someone who is very reliable in digging a basement or doing foundation excavation, we recommend the professional but affordable services of Lenz Excavating, who serves the greater Worthington area. They can be reached at (507) 556-4665.