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Old 10-02-2012, 08:27 PM   #1
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Removing excess soil below house


We recently purchased a 1920 California Bungalow with a partial basement. At some point (we think 1980s) a previous owner had a portion of the basement expanded to make way for a central HVAC. When that was done, the soil that was dug out was just piled on top of the remaining crawlspace area. Our long-term plan is to install two additional rows of foundation columns and re-level the house. To do that, we need to first get all of the excess soil out from under the house.

Are there any efficient ways to do this? I looked into renting a conveyor system as that's what I'd seen used when contractors dug out or expanded basements, but the cost seems to preclude doing it ourselves after work and on weekends. Our soil is mostly hard clay and I'm anticipating that it's going to be slow progress.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:13 AM   #2
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Removing excess soil below house


Ayuh,.... A pickax, shovel, 'n ole 5 gallon pails will get the job done...

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Old 10-03-2012, 05:20 AM   #3
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Removing excess soil below house


Get a human conveyor belt of teenagers. They are strong, bendy and work for cheap
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:41 AM   #4
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Removing excess soil below house


one item to make sure of is not to undermine your foundation.

typically when you have a crawl space the foundation walls do not go as deep as a full basement foundation does, if it did I'm sure the soil in the crawl space would have been excavated. should you remove the soil below the foundation what will keep it up?????

if you are planning on removing the soil I was recommend contacting a local professional engineer to evaluate the existing home, and determine how to underpin (add foundation below existing foundation) your foundation.

just my thoughts ....

Good luck!
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
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Removing excess soil below house


Joe....I feel your pain.....

Pasadena area by any chance? It helps to put your location in your profile....you don't have to say what city...just general area....

I have the same issue....as part of my 2-story addition we had to dig a footing under the existing house....

You know your local Home Depot? And those guys standing in the parking lot? This is the type of job they like....feed....water...and pay them $10 (or so) an hour....and I bet 3 of them could have most of it done in one day.

Or...make your own conveyor....go get a long melamine shelf (you want a smooth surface)....sew together a few strips of sheet about the width of the shelf...put rollers at each end...find a motor to turn one end....conveyor.....

Oh....don't forget that you will need something like this if you had as much dirt as I did....

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Old 10-03-2012, 11:17 AM   #6
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Removing excess soil below house


Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post

Or...make your own conveyor....go get a long melamine shelf (you want a smooth surface)....sew together a few strips of sheet about the width of the shelf...put rollers at each end...find a motor to turn one end....conveyor.....

.

Have you done this? I figure you need something more then sheets. Like canvass belting and paddles to stop the dirt from coming back down.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:27 AM   #7
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Removing excess soil below house


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Have you done this? I figure you need something more then sheets. Like canvass belting and paddles to stop the dirt from coming back down.
No...but considered it.....

If his crawl space is anything like mine....the angle is so shallow that I think it would work fine.....

Unless he has a big hole....he will have to use one of his crawl space vents....a 5"x14" rectangular hole....
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:34 AM   #8
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Removing excess soil below house


depending on how fast you shovel or dump wheelbarrow loads on that can be a fair bit of weight.

I too am removing some dirt from my basement.
I have been thinking how to do it myself.
Some places you can rent basement conveyors. Here I can not.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:40 PM   #9
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Removing excess soil below house


Are you sure you need to get rid of all the excess dirt? Couldn't you remove just enough to place the columns?

Either way, you can do it, just plan on getting dirty. As was mentioned, use 5 gallon buckets (with tops) and the following:

One of those short shovels from Home Depot or Lowes (they're about two and a half feet long)
A rubber mallet, so you can pound the tops on after you fill the buckets. They are alot easier to roll than drag
Worklight(s) and extension cords
Gloves
Kneepads
Dust mask

Don't forget to cover the ground with plastic after you're done. I wouldn't use that cheap plastic from the big box. I used a tough material called Stego Wrap. You would find it or something similar at a real building supply house.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:27 PM   #10
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Removing excess soil below house


Thank you everyone for the replies!

I had looked for DIY conveyor plans, but came up empty and had some of the same concerns as mae-ling regarding weight and longevity. As ddawg16 correctly assumed, if I went the conveyor route, I'd be looking to discharge the soil through one of the rear crawlspace vents. I'm in Sacramento, BTW, but from the looks of your dumpster, I'm guessing we're talking about similar soil conditions.

In regards to Eric's question, yes, I think the excess soil does need to be removed. It was something that was brought up by both the pest inspector and the contractor we had evaluate the foundation as a point of potential pest-intrusion. We've been in the house about 3 months now, and thus far my experience has been that the previous owner(s) typically took the most expedient route when it came to repairs/renovations as opposed to getting it right the first time. For components that we are making repairs to (such as the foundation), I want to make sure that the work we are doing will be good for the long haul and not something that in a few years we need to address again.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:36 PM   #11
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Removing excess soil below house


i know this doesn't but your post about moving the dirt brought it to mind


http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/fo...ht=new+project
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:25 AM   #12
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Removing excess soil below house


so far my best thought for moving dirt is about 8 or 10 3 gallon pails and 3 people. 3 gallon pails will fit through my wdw, you may need tubs. 1 guy fills pails, one carries to wdw, one dumps in trailer. 4 guys may be needed, 2 carrying.

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