The first step to building any structure or addition is digging foundations, and a foundation or footing is probably the most critical part of that construction overall. Without a strong and stable foundation, your new house, commercial building, or addition will soon show cracks, water leaks, and other such damage.
Digging Foundations is not as simple as setting the footings and then pouring concrete. Different kinds of buildings, basements, and crawlspaces require various types of foundations, and some foundations may need to be thicker than usual to resist moisture buildup and maintain the weight of an overly heavy structure.
Excavation work of any size and type is not only more precise than you might realize, but it's also downright dangerous. Before you decide that you can manage foundation excavation or digging for footings on your own, or manage any excavation or trenching work yourself, note a few reasons why you might rely on excavation professionals for this job instead.
What Is the Purpose of a Foundation?
You might assume that the only purpose of a foundation is to maintain the weight of a structure. Without a quality foundation, a commercial building, home, or even a large shed would merely sink into the ground or otherwise crumble. However, a foundation does more than provide support and a solid base for a building:
What Makes a Good Foundation?
Foundations need to fit the structure or construction project, much like a suit should be tailored to the person wearing it. Footings need to be precise or else a structure's measurements will be inaccurate. This inaccuracy might result in windows that are off-center and other unsightly details of a structure's final appearance.
A solid foundation excavation also needs to account for the soil conditions, as well as the water tables of the surrounding area. Very moist or overly arid soil might not provide much support for a foundation, so the concrete may need to be thicker and stronger in these cases. Heavy structures, including homes that will feature stone floors and countertops, might also require stronger foundations.
Why Foundations Fail
A foundation should last for decades, if not even forever! However, not all foundations are that strong and sturdy, and some might eventually develop severe cracks and chips. Note a few common reasons why foundations might fail, so you ensure you avoid these mistakes when digging foundations and having new footings poured for your structure:
Mistakes to Avoid When Digging Foundations
A professional excavator should be called to dig the trenches needed for a foundation of any structure. However, if you're a homeowner and decide to dig trenches required for a foundation on your own, you might note some mistakes to avoid during this process. Knowing what to avoid can ensure this job gets done right, or it might convince you of the importance of leaving this work to a professional excavator no matter their cost of digging foundations.
Why Excavation Is So Dangerous
If you've done all the homework needed to secure your permits and know what equipment you'll be using to dig the trenches required for a foundation, you might assume you're ready to start this work on your own. However, excavation of any sort is very dangerous, for a variety of reasons. Note a few dangers of this work so you avoid these risks, or can decide if leaving such digging to a professional is the better option no matter the cost of excavation for foundation:
Apart from safety, there are many other reasons to hire professionals for digging foundations. Their cost of digging foundations might be cheaper than trying to rent equipment needed to clear a lot and for the digging itself, and to have someone haul away displaced soil. Professional excavators will also have insurance that will cover the cost of damaged property, and can also ensure that all needed permits are in place before the work begins. You'll then have a properly dug trench or pit for your new foundation and will ensure the job gets done quickly and safely.