U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-23-2008, 10:08 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,152 posts, read 20,564,621 times
Reputation: 16133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Freddy View Post
About 60 years ago my father dug a basement for our new house. He used a pick, a shovel, buckets, a wheelbarrow, and a sledge hammer to break up rocks that were too big to remove whole.

The basement is still warm and dry, the house still stands on top of it, and the old man is still alive.
Not saying it cannot be done. It doesn't look like your father was using heavy equipment he wasn't familiar, with and probably doesn't know how to operate either. The OP was asking about using a backhoe to dig the basement, not pick, shovel, buckets, a wheelbarrow, and a sledghammer. If that were the case, my advice would have been to bring lots of water so he didn't overheat and have lots of time dedicated to the project.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-23-2008, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,428 posts, read 27,687,716 times
Reputation: 9518
Quote:
Originally Posted by summers19 View Post
This may be along the same lines...
We are looking for a house to buy. It's been a very difficult process as we just can not find a house that suits us, within a good school district, and one we can afford (in Chicago area). I found a house I really like. But when we went down into the basement, it had five foot ceilings. My husband is 6 feet 2 inches and he requires we purchase a house that either has a finished basement, or one that's big enough for us to want to finish.
Is there a way to dig down a couple of feet to make it habitable? Strange question, I know. Everything else about the house is great. We do need the extra room however, that the basement could give us if it was tall enough.
Of course we would not do this on our own...we'd hire professionals.
What you ask is what I thought the OP was asking but no one answered him the way I was thinking. If some one has to ask about how to dig a basement then they have no idea what gets built on top of it.

When I was much younger I had an Uncle who had a house with no basement. It had a footing and a foundation 3 blocks high cinder block wall so he had a crawl space about 24" high with dirt floor which of course was ground level.

They had 11 kids which of course are my cousins. Every time they were bad their dad made them did under the house. And he was one strick &O*($#). It took I guess about 8 years but they now have a full basement.

Here is how they did it which is by the way to local code. If you know how the footing is placed, back in NJ it was 36" under the ground surface, 15" wide and 15" deep. On top of the footing was about 4 courses of block before the 3 courses above ground.

They started digging 24" in from the outside wall and then down. So the ground the footing and foundation rested on was never disturbed. So in the end you had the foundation and a ledge (kind of like a shelf) 2' wide and then the new wall. So there was a shelf 2' wide all around the perimeter. The finished basement is 6' high. They had the new walls and floor poured in from the new basement access door. It has not leaked in more then 20 years in Lakewood NJ.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-23-2008, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
3,689 posts, read 6,535,984 times
Reputation: 908
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpenor View Post
I am thinking of renting a backhoe and digging my own basement. Has any one done this and do you have any pointers? (it not rocket science or is it)

rob
I would not do it, if you miss the depth called out on the house plans, you will start to increase the price of the foundation (basement). The marks have to be hit exactly. Re engineering on a foundation is not cheap, nor is having to have the stair cases redone, and possably the floorplan changes that would need to be looked at due to a longer staircase. I would leave that part to the professionals. As an addition to the possibilities of problems, depending on the type of foundation, they will have to be dug more for footings on the perimiter, for caissons you need someone to come drill the holes, and metal helicoils need to be drilled into place.

A basement IS a foundation, one thing wrong and the problems will presist all the way through the house up to the roof.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-24-2008, 09:29 PM
 
3,021 posts, read 15,680,574 times
Reputation: 2385
Default Well yeah you can do it.......

Yeah you can do it. What is the big problem everybody is carping so much about? Yes, you do have to know about all the stuff to do and watch out for. Yeah you got to be able to run the equipment.

For me it might come down to the economics. What are you really going to save by doing it yourself? By shopping around, you might find somebody a bit on the hungry side and you get the quote based on the total job, not time or whatever, so you would know the costs beforehand. Maybe get the quote based on both digging and backfill work all as one job as required.

One consideration might be how do you get the equipment on site? The rentals typically do not include transporation to and from the jobsite. Some of them puppies were wanting $500 just to deliver the backhoe if you could not do it yourself. Can you drive it on the street? Distances involved, etc, etc. Practical stuff.

One of these days I want to build my own house. I would consider renting the equipment but would probably price it out as a subbed out job first. I have a big trailer and could go and fetch the equipment myself from a rental place. Typically if you rent it, might get a tad smaller piece of equipment than if you sub it out. But you get far better control of exactly what gets done.

In a pinch you can just hand dig that critter. I have done it before with all my brothers. Actually does not take that long. Wheelbarrows still work.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-24-2008, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
3,689 posts, read 6,535,984 times
Reputation: 908
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Yeah you can do it. What is the big problem everybody is carping so much about? Yes, you do have to know about all the stuff to do and watch out for. Yeah you got to be able to run the equipment.

For me it might come down to the economics. What are you really going to save by doing it yourself? By shopping around, you might find somebody a bit on the hungry side and you get the quote based on the total job, not time or whatever, so you would know the costs beforehand. Maybe get the quote based on both digging and backfill work all as one job as required.

One consideration might be how do you get the equipment on site? The rentals typically do not include transporation to and from the jobsite. Some of them puppies were wanting $500 just to deliver the backhoe if you could not do it yourself. Can you drive it on the street? Distances involved, etc, etc. Practical stuff.

One of these days I want to build my own house. I would consider renting the equipment but would probably price it out as a subbed out job first. I have a big trailer and could go and fetch the equipment myself from a rental place. Typically if you rent it, might get a tad smaller piece of equipment than if you sub it out. But you get far better control of exactly what gets done.

In a pinch you can just hand dig that critter. I have done it before with all my brothers. Actually does not take that long. Wheelbarrows still work.
the reason Why I would warn against doing such a thing is based on experience in the industry. The foundation of a home is nothing to mess with unless you know exactly what you are doing. It can mean life and death, and at the very minimal if a problem occurs the structure of the house can be compromised. The foundation of a house is not there for extra storage, or extra living space, it is there to keep the house above standing. All of the weight of the structure comes down on this piece of the house. EVERYTHING rests on the foundation quite literally.

We did a remodel on an old Victorian house, during the excavation for the foundation, the backhoe operator was going about his business doing the work he intended on doing. What he did not know is during the original construction in the 1800's, the workers noticed that there was a little buckling in the foundation on one wall. They packed wet mud up against the wall to shore it up until backfill. When (100 years later) the backhoe worker doing exactly as he should have, removed the mud that was placed up against the house, the foundation wall buckled and the house collapsed!

you can never be 100% sure on what the conditions of the original build are. I would rather leave it up to a company that is insured to do the work than doing it myself and taking the chance that something catastrophic might happen. Remember, everything in your house is tied to the foundation somehow, you mess it up, you might mess everything above it up.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-25-2008, 07:37 AM
 
19,247 posts, read 15,013,536 times
Reputation: 7829
This thought of looking for a low priced contractor that is "hungry" is not ever the thing to do. Just some the from the start what do we know about him? He could be in a hurry, for some reason has no business, and just could be out of business shortly. WHERE IS ANY GUARANTEE?????? The last thing you want is a contractor on your job that does not make enough on the job to come back if necessary!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-25-2008, 11:46 AM
 
3,021 posts, read 15,680,574 times
Reputation: 2385
Default You peeps got to get serious......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Driller1 View Post
This thought of looking for a low priced contractor that is "hungry" is not ever the thing to do. Just some the from the start what do we know about him? He could be in a hurry, for some reason has no business, and just could be out of business shortly. WHERE IS ANY GUARANTEE?????? The last thing you want is a contractor on your job that does not make enough on the job to come back if necessary!
Come on, what kind of GUARANTEE does one get / or expect on a hole in the ground.

After all there are only 70,000 known ways to mess up a hole in the ground. Well worth the risk. Plus it is just going to get filled in again, who will ever know. You can even do final touch up strokes with a shovel.

It is a wonder any hole ever gets dug. The OP just wants to dig the next one hisself. We are not talking rocket science here.

Maybe next we should have a highly technical long winded discussion on predicting the suitable Angle of Repose. Get those 30 soil samples out to the lab quick. Lord forbid a fellow should go out of business after he has put his last hole in the ground. Tho most contractors never make it out of their last hole, even tho they typically are only six feet deep.

Sounds like more inspectors, permits, lawyers, bankers and experts need to get involved with this one. Things like the sky, trees, grass, airplanes and small birds / animals could fall into the hole as it is being dug. One should always select a contractor who will spray stuff to make the hole smell nice. Vanilla or baking bread is always a winner.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-25-2008, 12:20 PM
 
19,247 posts, read 15,013,536 times
Reputation: 7829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Come on, what kind of GUARANTEE does one get / or expect on a hole in the ground.

After all there are only 70,000 known ways to mess up a hole in the ground. Well worth the risk. Plus it is just going to get filled in again, who will ever know. You can even do final touch up strokes with a shovel.

It is a wonder any hole ever gets dug. The OP just wants to dig the next one hisself. We are not talking rocket science here.

Maybe next we should have a highly technical long winded discussion on predicting the suitable Angle of Repose. Get those 30 soil samples out to the lab quick. Lord forbid a fellow should go out of business after he has put his last hole in the ground. Tho most contractors never make it out of their last hole, even tho they typically are only six feet deep.

Sounds like more inspectors, permits, lawyers, bankers and experts need to get involved with this one. Things like the sky, trees, grass, airplanes and small birds / animals could fall into the hole as it is being dug. One should always select a contractor who will spray stuff to make the hole smell nice. Vanilla or baking bread is always a winner.
Yep, just a hole in the ground! I have made a lot of money from people thinking that!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-25-2008, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
3,689 posts, read 6,535,984 times
Reputation: 908
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Come on, what kind of GUARANTEE does one get / or expect on a hole in the ground.

After all there are only 70,000 known ways to mess up a hole in the ground. Well worth the risk. Plus it is just going to get filled in again, who will ever know. You can even do final touch up strokes with a shovel.

It is a wonder any hole ever gets dug. The OP just wants to dig the next one hisself. We are not talking rocket science here.

Maybe next we should have a highly technical long winded discussion on predicting the suitable Angle of Repose. Get those 30 soil samples out to the lab quick. Lord forbid a fellow should go out of business after he has put his last hole in the ground. Tho most contractors never make it out of their last hole, even tho they typically are only six feet deep.

Sounds like more inspectors, permits, lawyers, bankers and experts need to get involved with this one. Things like the sky, trees, grass, airplanes and small birds / animals could fall into the hole as it is being dug. One should always select a contractor who will spray stuff to make the hole smell nice. Vanilla or baking bread is always a winner.
this is not a small hole though, this is a hole under the foundation of the house!!! There is alot more at stake than digging a hole under the stars, one slip up and you can quite literaly have a house sitting in what is left of your lap.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-25-2008, 10:22 PM
 
3,021 posts, read 15,680,574 times
Reputation: 2385
Default Duh, just let the dude dig his own hole........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noahma View Post
this is not a small hole though, this is a hole under the foundation of the house!!! There is alot more at stake than digging a hole under the stars, one slip up and you can quite literaly have a house sitting in what is left of your lap.
Ok, the OP dude just wanted to dig a hole. Didn't say anything about forming the foundation pour hisself. Didn't say anything about nothing except digging your basic hole. He doesn't say a house is already there, ain't trying to dig under anything. Your basic field without a hole in it. Rain and the sky may fall in the future.

Answer to the question. Yup could do it. Probably more a question of economics than anything else. Maybe a lil personal satisfaction. Can see where you have been at the end of the day. Yeah, you do have to get the hole sort of level and in the right place. Could be a bit of fun.

So how do all these kind folks suddenly start to find the Big Bad Boogyman under the bed????? Wild expectations for rare problem sets that may occur once is 16 billion chances. Houses that do not yet exist falling into his hole. And it is all sure to be Ok with the proper licensed contractor who will just over charge and explain the soil mechanics after a 10 hour discussion on holeology then work will only proceed after 16 detailed drawing are approved in triplicate.

If it is cheaper just let the dude dig his own hole, figure out what to do at the bottom.

I suspose at this rate of progress dogs, groundhogs, bears and the Easter Bunny will be banned from digging holes because they suddenly will be found to be "Unqualified". Wars will have to be delayed until approved foxholes are installed. With a lil more time it will be discovered only the Government, banks and credit card companies really knows how to get folks down in a deep hole.

Rabbits may still be approved to dig holes. After all many holes are still in huge demand to be able to pound sand down them.

Just tell the dude the best way to dig his own hole.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top