Are Excavation And Foundation Digging DIY Tasks?

August 11, 2022


“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.” Gordon B. Hinckley

The contextual interpretation of the quote above may not necessarily relate to the construction industry. Still, the words quite accurately describe the cruciality of a well-built foundation for any structure. Be it a colossal commercial building or a single-story residential dwelling, a stable foundation is essential. Without the latter, the structural integrity of a building remains questionable and highly unreliable. Such buildings are susceptible to underground moisture build-ups, cracks, and other forms of damage that put the whole structure at risk of collapsing.

Thus, the importance of a good foundation for any construction work can not be emphasized enough. However, as professional excavation contractors, we must say that laying a foundation is more than just unearthing the site, setting the footings, and spewing concrete. In order to withstand the building’s immense weight, a precise knowledge of the ideal length, width, depth, thickness, and other technical aspects is required before preparing a foundation.

Similarly, the type of the structure, climatic conditions, geological occurrences, and geographical area determine the best type of foundation to be laid for a particular project. Evidently, preparing a foundation is a physically and intellectually demanding complex job featuring equally intricate subtasks like excavation.


If the discussion above is not enough to convince you that preparing a foundation and excavation are not DIY things, then let us dig a bit deeper into the subject. To keep you from enduring the negative consequences of DIY foundation digging, this blog post shall discuss the primary purpose of a foundation and why an average individual is unsuited for such tasks.

Why Do You Need A Foundation?

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Before we talk about DIY techniques, let us first explore the essentiality of a foundation for a construction project. Why is it important? Many of you will quickly point out that its sole function is to provide a good base for further construction so that the weight of the structure in question is stabilized and equally distributed. You are not wrong, but that is not all. Other important functions of a foundation include:

Protection Against The Subsoil And Earth’s Movements

This point does not relate to quakes and tremors. While you might not feel it, the ground under a building bears a lot of pressure from heavy moving traffic, nearby railway lines, working machinery, or even the simple contraction and expansion of the subsoil due to underground moisture. In the absence of a foundation, your building will never withstand such movements.

Prevents Underground Moisture From Seeping Into A Structure

A well-built foundation keeps the underground moisture from corrupting a building’s floors and walls through seepage.

Lateral Solidity

Besides the vibrations, your building also needs protection against horizontal pressures such as strong winds and tremors. Accordingly, a foundation holds a structure to the ground and prevents it from slipping sideways or capsizing.

Evidently, you can not pay attention to all these aspects no matter how much of an intellectual or a good learner you are. Despite your best efforts, your work is a no-match to professional foundation digging services. If your foundation does not possess the strength to provide these functions, the building will either sink into the ground or crumble onto the ground.

What Can Go Wrong If You Attempt DIY Foundation Digging?

  • Wastage of valuable time and money: DIY foundation building is nothing but a ‘trial and error’ learning method. But the question is, do you have the required time and finances readily available that you can construct, demolish, and reconstruct a foundation?
  • Do you have a hydraulic digger? You didn’t think your garden shovel and wheelbarrow would suffice for this purpose, now did you? If you did, then note that foundation and excavation work require specialized machinery like a bobcat and hydraulic diggers. If you do not have access to these, the quality of the foundation will be compromised.
  • Accidents due to the absence of proper protective gear: Besides the equipment, you also do not have the necessary protective gear. If you work without the latter, you are wronging no one but yourself.
  • Life-threatening collapses: Foundation work is not like digging a hole. When digging underground, you need proper support to retain the soil or the temporary wall on the side. Failure to do so may result in fatal collapses of the sides.
  • Dangers of underground and overhead power lines: Even though such lines are clearly marked, the overwhelming physical work prevents you from seeing them, and you might hit them with your shovel. The result may be a deadly electric shock, water pipeline explosion, or dangerous gas leak.
  • Unintentional legal infringements: Last but not least, construction work involves a lot of technical documentation and legal know-how. Failure to abide by the relevant laws or accidental violations of the regulations may result in penalties.

About Rough Rock Contracting

Our team has been in the industry of excavation, site prep, and more for over 25 years. We are based in Nanoose Bay and are proud to serve our customers by helping them make their buildings better. Learn more about Rough Rock Contracting and our vast line of construction services.

Need a well-built foundation? Contact us now.

If you have any questions

Feel free to contact us!