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crawlspace dirt removal
Hello all,

I'm just wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to how to remove dirt from my crawlspace. It is currently a dirt floor and I eventually want to pour concrete down there. I first need to remove about a foot of dirt over the entire surface of the floor.

My current plan, and it's not much of a plan, is to use a shovel, cloth bags to put the dirt in, and a heavy duty wagon attached to a rope to haul the bags out. (yes, this does sound mind numbingly time consuming and tedious)

There are only two ways to access the outside from inside the crawlspace. One is through the 18inch space between the floor joists.(I can cut a section out)....or......through a trap door in the floor at one end of the house.

Any helpful ideas? I thought of perhaps a conveyer belt, but they're ususally not small enough to fit into a rim joist/floor joist space.
Posts: 2 | Registered: 24 November 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Such projects are always mind-numbingly time-consuming and tedious. The professional term for it is "labor-intensive". I can't think of any methods which would be materially better than your wagon idea...when I've seen it done, the dirt was carried out in buckets, by hand. Good luck, and don't forget a properly-installed vapor retarder under your concrete.

Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
Posts: 2870 | Location: Tobyhanna, PA | Registered: 24 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Trap door is the way to go. The centers of the floor joists are 16" so the opening between is less. And that hole gets a lot smaller when you try to get through it.

Why would you want to remove so much dirt? At most you need is a 2" cap of cement over a plastic barrier over a few inches of stone.

Sounds like a whole lot of work for an area that cannot be used for much more then a little extra storage.

As Richard said, this is a very labor- intensive job so be prepared as it ain't going to be easy.

Best bet is to hire a few illegals. they seem to dig under walls and buildings pretty good.
Posts: 1933 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Unfortunately we've did these type of jobs. These are the type of jobs where I bid it extremely high in hopes of not getting it and they call and want you to go ahead. Oh well. In any case, we've found that using a very simple plastic kids snow sled works good. Just shovel the dirt right in there and have someone on the outside pull it out with a rope and dump it. I suppose if you can get something with wheels to work, all the better. Good luck - you'll need it.

General Contractor/Home Builder
Posts: 498 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 15 January 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just 2 inches of cap?........How many inches of gravel are necessary? Would sand be ok, or do I need gravel? (the existing soil is clay. I'm in Northern Ontario, Canada). I was also thinking of laying down an inch of Styrofoam insualtion as well.

So, there is no need to go down to the footing level, in order to lay down a cap, is there?
Posts: 2 | Registered: 24 November 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What is it you plan on gaining after all this work?
It's almost never a good idea to lower the grade under a house. Far more chances of water now getting in.
Posts: 106 | Location: Hallieford VA | Registered: 28 November 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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