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Old 10/04/10, 12:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 8,298
Digging basements under a house

Anybody know how expensive something like this is? We have a crawl space. We'd planned to add onto the house when we moved here but due to my health problems we cannot afford to do so. We have a crawl space and a 1200 sq ft house. Adding more space would really be wonderful.

I know that my grandparents dug a basement under their house. Just wondering if anyone has an idea of how expensive this is. Our house was moved to this site a couple of years ago. Why the dope who moved it here didn't put a basement under it I'll never know.

I know I'm dreaming but....
Moms don't look at things like normal people.
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Old 10/04/10, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 955
I have a 1500 sq ft home with a crawl space and I have a quote of $14,000 to dig a basement under it and pour the walls. this would be a walk out basement open on one side. I don't know if this is high or low, it is the only quote I have gotten. We had a 700 sq ft cabin w/crawl about 15 years ago and I dug the basement with a shovel, and poured the walls and floor. The cabin was on a river bank and impossible to get equipment under it, that and I was 15 years younger.

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Old 10/04/10, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 8,101
Be sure you are not sitting on water logged ground or other 'issues' making a basement difficult. Please please please set in drainage around even if you don't need it. The couple 100 bucks extra now is so very, very much money well spent!

One needs to shore up the house so it doesn't cave in as you dig. Can be expensive to jack up & brace, or can lose space if you dig out less than full dimentions and hope the remaining dirt holds up until you get footer & interior walls set up to keep the original foundation stable....

Then one needs to dig under the house in cramped quarters. Can go fast & expensive with hiring people with the low-height powered equipment; or can go cheap & slow with you doing the work with a shovel & 5 gallon buckets.

Sounds like you may have troubles spending the big bucks, and perhaps not able to do the back-breaking work for cheap.

Codes & safety laws in your location might have something to say about you digging your own out with 5 gallon buckets, or doing the stepped-in type of inner walls....

Just laying out the 2 different options of getting there from here.

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Old 10/04/10, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20,761
--Me and my brother dug out our basement in one summer. Dad helped on weekends. We were either in or just out of grade school. Dad bought a horse named Beauty, and we hooked her to a slip and after awhile, she would go out and stop where she thought we wanted her to, We would flip the slip and walk back to the celler. She would go on further out, make a turn then come back and under the house. Mighta took 2 summers. Dad built the sides out of block. and poured the floor by hand.
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Old 10/04/10, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 14,962
We dug a basement under an oil pumping station by hand on one job I had. We used conveyor belts to lift the gravel from under the building. Seven days a week 10 hours a day.

I wonder if it might be faster and even cheaper to move the house and have the basement built normally then move the house back?
"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin
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Old 10/04/10, 11:06 AM
Karenrbw's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,350
I know a family with numerous children. They sent the kids under the house with 5 gallon buckets and shovels and they dug their own basement. Of course, this was 25 years ago. Probably illegal now.
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Old 10/04/10, 11:23 AM
Brenda Groth
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,817
costs would depend a lot on what is there now and how strong it is, what the soil is like, who is digging and with what, and how the basement would be formed..
Brenda Groth
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Old 10/04/10, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: East TN
Posts: 6,977
The "dope" might have known something you don't. I would do a lot of checking before digging. Sure seems like a lot of work and expense.
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self confidence"
Robert Frost
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Old 10/04/10, 07:24 PM
dragonjaze's Avatar
hating the 'burbs!
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: N. IL, wishing I was in W WA
Posts: 1,044
I had no idea that putting a basement under an existing house was even possible!

Learn summat new every day
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Old 10/04/10, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,339
first of all one had better look in to the construction of the house and see if the support is such that one can do it with reasonable rooms in the basement,

there are two basic ways of doing it, one is to put up temporary supports and put to rebuild the foundation wall with a full basement wall, the second way is to off set the basement wall about 3 foot from the foundation wall, and build up a short retaining wall to support the foundation, built it the depth you want the basement,
and then finish digging out the rest of the dirt, (the draw back of this is the lost space from having to step out the retaining wall to support the foundation wall that is currently existing.

using a bob cat type loader many help, in the dirt removal

many U tubes on people doing it,

some actually find the job (do to the hand labor involved), may be easer/cheaper to move the house a side or put the basement in and move the house over on it,
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Old 10/05/10, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: north Alabama
Posts: 11,256
My brother and I dug out under a 16' x 22' addition one summer. Took us over two weeks of using a mattock and shovel to chop away at blue clay. We had to leave the step backs at the footings for safety, and when the concrete was poured there was a 3' deep bench all the way around. It was OK for storage, but I wasn't overly impressed.

I agree that in doing a whole house, it is likely easier, cheaper, and safer to move the house onto a basement in the back yard than try to build one under the house.
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Old 10/05/10, 04:21 PM
Common Tator's Avatar
Uber Tuber
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Southern Taxifornia
Posts: 6,287
I am watching this thread with great interest. Basements are practically unheard of in California. Most homes that were built in the 60's or later have concrete slabs (like our house in the burbs, and most that were built earlier on a crawl space. Our house at the ranch was dug into a hillside on a crawl space. It sits below the driveway, so that someone standing on the driveway can look into the house and see all through it if bedroom and bathroom doors are open. It has the tiniest closets I have ever seen. It was built as a summer cabin only.

I want to have it raised to sit a little higher than the driveway, and build a basement over it. Maybe we should have the basement built beside it and have it raised and moved onto the basement. I have a contractor friend that is familiar with the place offer an opinion.
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