Now You Dig!: Preparing For Your Excavation

Once you have determined that a basement will be a good addition to your home, the excavator can proceed with digging your basement. Of course, the essential first step in this entire process is ensuring that your home will have a solid foundation. Adequate preparation and knowledge regarding your property are key to a successful excavation.

In order to have a good foundation, the bottom of the footer must be at least 3 feet below the adjacent grade. Additionally, the soil encountered must have the proper bearing capacity for the wall you will be placing above. Your builder should know this and if there is any question, a soils engineer should be consulted as you can have a serious foundation failure if the footers and wall are poured on substandard soil.

The design of the footers will also change depending on the soil type. Foundation failures are most often caused by people not preparing properly (IE: not knowing what the soil bearing capacity is and not designing the footer and walls to work with it). Remember, once the footer and walls are poured, it’s too late to go back. The footers need to be dug in dry soil and the ditch needs to be clean prior to placement of steel. This needs to be done with weather in mind, as you don’t want it to rain after the ground has been opened up prior to placing the concrete. If this occurs you may need to remove the steel and clean out all muddy soil.

As you can see, a sound knowledge of your property and construction techniques are essential as you start the excavation process.