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
I suppose I could find a conveyor belt for dirt removal. But what about the
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.
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.
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.
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........
good lighting helps
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
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.
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.