Digging out crawl space - Power tools?

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by Bill, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Bill

    Bill Guest

    The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.

    Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    easier?

    I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
    digging part?
     
    Bill, Apr 2, 2008
    #1
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  2. Bill

    RicodJour Guest

    On Apr 2, 7:58 am, "Joseph Meehan" <> wrote:
    > "Bill" <> wrote in message
    >
    > news:...
    >
    > > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.

    >
    > > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make
    > > this easier?

    >
    > > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about
    > > the digging part?

    >
    > My uncle hired the neighborhood boys to do it during the depression. I
    > eventually bought the house and had a basement because of their work. I
    > also had a lot of neighbors who remembered all the good my uncle had done as
    > they or their boyfriends had done much of that work and that is how they
    > came up with a dollar or two during the depression for a date. My uncle had
    > a few dollars as he was retired navy.
    >
    > The way the economy is going, we may be back to that soon.


    You're going to hire neighborhood boys and put in a sub-basement...?
    I think you might be sinking money in that house. ;)

    To the OP: there's not a lot you can get in to a foot high space to
    help out. You don't mention how much work you need to do and how deep
    you are planning on going. In similar situations where people are
    digging out a basement they'll open up a foundation wall and excavate
    a ramp so they can get a Bobcat in.

    R
     
    RicodJour, Apr 2, 2008
    #2
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  3. Bill

    Bill Guest

    I'm digging it out about 2 ft. deep and currently have an opening about 3
    ft. by 3 ft. (for digging out).
     
    Bill, Apr 2, 2008
    #3
  4. Bill

    Jim Elbrecht Guest

    "Bill" <> wrote:

    >The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    >need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    >Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    >easier?
    >
    >I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
    >digging part?


    The only power tool I've used on the enclosed space is a Bosch hammer
    with a spade bit to break up the clay. [had a wall open one summer
    and was able to scoop a lot with a backhoe- and shovel the hoe full
    from under the house for some more]

    I've been plugging away at mine for years- working just in the winter,
    a couple winters off for back & heart problems. But the floor in
    the first 10x20 space [pavers] should go in late this spring.

    I will probably set up a conveyor for the second section. [lowering
    old floor by 2feet] - but this part has been all bucket work. I
    used to do 5 wheelbarrow loads a day- Now I do 3 every other day.

    Beats paying for a gym membership.

    Jim
     
    Jim Elbrecht, Apr 2, 2008
    #4
  5. Bill

    BillGill Guest

    Bill wrote:
    > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    > easier?
    >
    > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
    > digging part?
    >
    >

    A few years ago on HomeTime on PBS they did that. They did it by lying on
    their stomachs and shoveling it into a tub that was pulled out with a
    rope. The tub was a flat oblong with sloping ends, kind of like a sled.
    I think it might have been a mortar tub.

    But basically I think you are talking about a lot of work. Good luck.

    Bill Gill
     
    BillGill, Apr 2, 2008
    #5
  6. Bill

    Guest

    On Apr 2, 8:06�am, BillGill <> wrote:
    > Bill wrote:
    > > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it.I
    > > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.

    >
    > > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    > > easier?

    >
    > > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
    > > digging part?

    >
    > A few years ago on HomeTime on PBS they did that. �They did it by lying on
    > their stomachs and shoveling it into a tub that was pulled out with a
    > rope. �The tub was a flat oblong with sloping ends, kind of like asled.
    > I think it might have been a mortar tub.
    >
    > But basically I think you are talking about a lot of work. �Good luck.
    >
    > Bill Gill


    easier to jack up the home and dig out a proper basement.... with the
    proper ,imi excavators etc........

    dont forget you will need new foundation supports..........

    footers etc
     
    , Apr 2, 2008
    #6
  7. Bill

    Guest

    what does the OP plan on doing down there? probably easier to lift the
    floor........

    digging out may not be the most cost effective approach
     
    , Apr 2, 2008
    #7
  8. Bill

    jloomis Guest

    Hire some willing young diggers..........
    or do it yourself.....
    Using a homeade built box.......4 inch high walls and plywood bottom with
    eye hook and rope.
    One works inside and one pulls box out and empties.....
    cut shovel handle to 12 inches........
    small pick
    dust mask
    coveralls.
    good lighting helps
    knee pads
    gloves.......

    "Bill" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make
    > this easier?
    >
    > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about
    > the digging part?
    >
    >
     
    jloomis, Apr 2, 2008
    #8
  9. Bill

    ransley Guest

    On Apr 2, 6:29 am, "Bill" <> wrote:
    > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    > easier?
    >
    > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
    > digging part?


    If its hard pack dirt rent a demolition hammer with a spade bit to get
    everything loose fast.
     
    ransley, Apr 2, 2008
    #9
  10. Bill

    Pete C. Guest

    Bill wrote:
    >
    > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    > easier?
    >
    > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
    > digging part?


    Depends on how much you want to spend on rental vs. how much back
    breaking work you want to do, as well as how much rock there is in the
    mix. You can rent a towable vacuum excavator from places like United
    Rentals that will do the job in a day if you don't have big rocks to
    deal with. These units will suck up ~500 gal worth of dirt at a time
    between dumps.
     
    Pete C., Apr 2, 2008
    #10
  11. Bill

    Jim Elbrecht Guest

    "" <> wrote:

    >
    >
    >what does the OP plan on doing down there? probably easier to lift the
    >floor........
    >
    >digging out may not be the most cost effective approach


    It is absolutely the most *cost* effective. Removal costs are nil.
    Whether it makes sense in the long run is entirely up to the digger
    (and those effected.]

    My basement excavation- like my summetime exterior landscaping by
    shovel- is a combination of hobby/exercise/home improvement. The
    digging is free. The footers and piers cast little. It is still
    cheaper than drinking beer & buying a health club membership.

    Jim
     
    Jim Elbrecht, Apr 2, 2008
    #11
  12. Bill

    RicodJour Guest

    On Apr 2, 11:10 am, Jim Elbrecht <> wrote:
    > "" <> wrote:
    >
    > >what does the OP plan on doing down there? probably easier to lift the
    > >floor........

    >
    > >digging out may not be the most cost effective approach

    >
    > It is absolutely the most *cost* effective. Removal costs are nil.
    > Whether it makes sense in the long run is entirely up to the digger
    > (and those effected.]
    >
    > My basement excavation- like my summetime exterior landscaping by
    > shovel- is a combination of hobby/exercise/home improvement. The
    > digging is free. The footers and piers cast little. It is still
    > cheaper than drinking beer & buying a health club membership.


    You must drink cheap beer. The last three words I don't
    recognize. ;)

    R
     
    RicodJour, Apr 2, 2008
    #12
  13. Bill

    Wilson Guest

    sometime in the recent past posted this:
    > Bill <> wrote:
    >
    >> The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    >> need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >>
    >> Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    >> easier?

    >
    > A friend of mine turned his crawlspace into a basement using dynamite...
    >
    > Nick
    >

    Yeah, basement with a sky view...

    --
    Wilson N45 W67
     
    Wilson, Apr 2, 2008
    #13
  14. Bill

    Guest

    On Apr 2, 7:29 am, "Bill" <> wrote:
    > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    > easier?
    >
    > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
    > digging part?


    check the depth of your footings.
    you don't want to undermine them.

    T
     
    , Apr 2, 2008
    #14
  15. Bill

    Guest

    Bill <> wrote:

    >The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    >need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    >Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    >easier?


    A friend of mine turned his crawlspace into a basement using dynamite...

    Nick
     
    , Apr 2, 2008
    #15
  16. Bill

    Ivan Vegvary Guest

    "Bill" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make
    > this easier?
    >
    > I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about
    > the digging part?
    >
    >


    Bill, I am working on my crawl space. Going for 42" depth so I can move
    around and fix plumbing, insulation, HVAC ducts etc.
    I do have a Bosch demo hammer but have not had to use it much. I dug a deep
    ramp with my Kubota alongside the foundation. I opened up the foundation,
    just like you had. Got some "flexible" conveyors on Craigslist. These
    expand from 7 feet long to 35 feet and can snake around obstacles. Bought
    eight 27 gallon plastic totes.

    Starting out was difficult for the first few feet. Now I simply sit on a
    stool, use a full length spade and one foot to dig horizontally into the
    bank, fill the 8 totes and send them out on the conveyor. My biggest
    problem, due to age, is getting the totes out from under the house and not
    the digging. Of course the conveyor takes care of all that. I simply give
    the string of 8 totes a push and they fly out from under and even empty
    themselves. After each group of 8 totes I do have to get out from under (I
    can walk bent over in 42" space) and collect the empty totes. After about
    10 round trips I remove all the excess dumpings with my Kubota and lose it
    on my 4± acres.

    While my dirt (bottom 2 feet) is quite stiff, I stopped using the Bosch
    hammer. Taking a horizontal slice against a vertical bank (the slice is
    only about 2 inches deep) while sitting down, is very easy. You would be
    surprised how much force you can exert with a sharp spade, push of the foot
    and a little wiggling.

    Write me if you need any more info.

    And yes, as many of the replies stated, I have quit going to the gym.

    Ivan Vegvary
     
    Ivan Vegvary, Apr 3, 2008
    #16
  17. Bill

    Jim Elbrecht Guest

    "Ivan Vegvary" <> wrote:

    -snip-
    >eight 27 gallon plastic totes.


    -snip-
    > My biggest
    >problem, due to age, is getting the totes out from under the house and not
    >the digging.


    What? You can't throw 27 gallons of dirt around? <BG> I hope you
    meant 27 quarts- or I'm feeling even whimpier than when I started
    going for 3 gallons instead of 5. [though I'm carrying mine up a
    flight of stairs- of course that's 3 gallons in each hand.<g>]

    -snip-
    > After about
    >10 round trips I remove all the excess dumpings with my Kubota and lose it
    >on my 4± acres.


    Those little machines are handy. I had my brother-in-law's Kubota for
    a few weeks a couple years ago. Sure speeds up the process.

    >While my dirt (bottom 2 feet) is quite stiff, I stopped using the Bosch
    >hammer. Taking a horizontal slice against a vertical bank (the slice is
    >only about 2 inches deep) while sitting down, is very easy. You would be
    >surprised how much force you can exert with a sharp spade, push of the foot
    >and a little wiggling.


    *Sharp* spade is a good point. I've got a great little short handled
    landscaping spade that is serrated, even. Though it doesn't help
    much in my clay. You can peel about 1/4 inch off- but any more and it
    is spade bit time. [till I get to the wet spots- but that's a whole
    nother headache.]

    Jim
     
    Jim Elbrecht, Apr 3, 2008
    #17
  18. Bill

    Pete C. Guest

    Jim Elbrecht wrote:
    >
    > "Ivan Vegvary" <> wrote:
    >
    > -snip-
    > >eight 27 gallon plastic totes.

    >
    > -snip-
    > > My biggest
    > >problem, due to age, is getting the totes out from under the house and not
    > >the digging.

    >
    > What? You can't throw 27 gallons of dirt around? <BG> I hope you
    > meant 27 quarts- or I'm feeling even whimpier than when I started
    > going for 3 gallons instead of 5. [though I'm carrying mine up a
    > flight of stairs- of course that's 3 gallons in each hand.<g>]
    >
    > -snip-
    > > After about
    > >10 round trips I remove all the excess dumpings with my Kubota and lose it
    > >on my 4± acres.

    >
    > Those little machines are handy. I had my brother-in-law's Kubota for
    > a few weeks a couple years ago. Sure speeds up the process.
    >
    > >While my dirt (bottom 2 feet) is quite stiff, I stopped using the Bosch
    > >hammer. Taking a horizontal slice against a vertical bank (the slice is
    > >only about 2 inches deep) while sitting down, is very easy. You would be
    > >surprised how much force you can exert with a sharp spade, push of the foot
    > >and a little wiggling.

    >
    > *Sharp* spade is a good point. I've got a great little short handled
    > landscaping spade that is serrated, even. Though it doesn't help
    > much in my clay. You can peel about 1/4 inch off- but any more and it
    > is spade bit time. [till I get to the wet spots- but that's a whole
    > nother headache.]
    >
    > Jim


    The vacuum excavators I noted in my other post would make the process
    much faster and easier. Just put the suction hose where you want to dig
    and start jabbing that area with the air lance. After sucking out some
    500 gal of dirt, take a break to dump the vacuum container and then go
    at it again.
     
    Pete C., Apr 3, 2008
    #18
  19. Bill

    Bill Guest

    "willshak" wrote in message
    >
    > What work are you going to do in there? With only 3 feet of headroom
    > there's no standing and barely enough room for sitting.
    >


    For now I am doing some plumbing (moving bathtub and toilet, insulating hot
    water lines), adding support under a heavy woodstove, and adding a beam and
    support to fix a sloping floor.

    For the future it would be nice to be able to get under there to run wires
    or whatever.

    The vacuum idea sounds great! Even a shop vac with two people working would
    probably be an easier way to get the dirt out. Also dust is created when
    disturbing the old top layer of dirt, so the vac could also remove any dust
    clouds. Thanks for the idea.
     
    Bill, Apr 3, 2008
    #19
  20. Bill

    dpb Guest

    Bill wrote:
    > The crawl space in my 80 year old house has about a foot of space in it. I
    > need to dig it out so I can get in there and do some work.
    >
    > Are there any power tools or equipment which I can rent which will make this
    > easier?

    ....

    Find a badger and pen him up down there a while... :)

    --
     
    dpb, Apr 3, 2008
    #20
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