If you are building a new home, the first step in framing the house will be to excavate a hole down to the depth of your foundation. Follow these guidelines and tips to ensure you unearth your lot correctly so as not to disturb underground utility lines or cause other damage. The hole should be at least two feet wider and four feet longer than your planned foundation size. It is wise to keep at least four feet of dirt from your foundation walls above the hole. This will allow for future expansion and installing a vapor barrier or crawl space. It is also a good idea to consider using landscape fabric over the hole.
1. wood stakes should be placed at the corners of your planned foundation.
This is to show where your foundation’s four corners and side walls will go. You can also use string to mark out the location of your foundation. It helps you to stay on target. After the stakes or string are in place, you can start digging the hole. You should remember that the dirt around your foundation is not just dirt; many types of utilities run below it. If a line is accidentally hit by your shovel while digging, it can cause an injury to a person or damage to property. Additionally, water and sewer lines generally run under the ground surface down to a vertical depth of about 12 inches and are buried at least 6 inches deep.
2. Utility lines are buried at least six inches below ground
This is to avoid damage. Utilities include electric, telephone, gas, water, and sewer. Refrain from digging into your neighbors’ property. Always make sure you’re searching on your own property or on a public right of way. Before exploring the hole for your foundation, check the deed to ensure you’re on your property or a public right of way, such as a street or sidewalk. Having a neighbor or friend keep a careful watch on the property while you dig is a good idea.
3. Make sure that there is enough dirt to excavate the foundation.
Refrain from digging dirt out of your home if you find utility lines deeper than six inches below the surface. You can use a shovel, mattock, trowel, or spade to dig down into the soil. This will help you to know that your excavation is a success. It is also important to dig the hole with a slope so that water from rain or snowmelt does not seep into the hole. You can also use a backhoe for the excavation of foundations.
4. Have heavy-duty clamps ready
You can use these clamps to attach the utility lines temporarily. It will keep them away from the foundation until you are prepared for them to be brought closer or removed completely. It is important to have heavy-duty clamps ready to ensure that buried utilities are secured. Don’t use metal or plastic pipes for trench protection. They can break and cause damage to the lines or get squashed or cut by a backhoe. You can often find a tube in your neighborhood. Contact utility companies and ask them if they have any old lines they would be happy to give you or call a local scrap yard.
It is important and good to excavate a lot for foundations. You can do it by yourself. The information above will help you do that. It would help if you also considered your safety while digging. Refrain from excavating your lots, and don’t go deep into the ground, as grates and gas lines are buried very close (12 inches) to the surface. Be careful of all underground utility lines, including pipes from neighbors’ houses.