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Basement Excavation Cost: Your Comprehensive Guide 2024

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Shawn MgGirr

Shawn MgGirr

Shawn started forming, pouring and waterproofing foundations over 30 years ago. Learn More About Shawn MgGirr

Perhaps you’ve been eyeing that unused space beneath your home, wondering if it’s possible to dig out a basement. The good news is, yes, it is possible, But, drawing from our experience, it comes with significant considerations and costs. Here’s what you need to know about basement excavation:

The Cost of Basement Excavation per Square Foot

Converting a crawl space or excavating a new basement under an existing home typically costs between $30 and $75 per square foot. Factors like your home’s age, structure, and unique project requirements may influence this range.

The Cost Of Basement Excavation Per Project

Here are some rough estimates per project, based on information from the websites of companies engaged in basement excavation in Toronto and GTA:

Basement Excavation AspectCost InfluencersRough Cost Estimates
New Basement CreationSoil type, depth, size of space$10,000 - $30,000+
Basement ExpansionUnderpinning, existing structure support, waterproofing

$20,000 - $50,000+
Depth AdjustmentDepth of excavation, shoring requirements$50 - $250 per square foot
Utility and Structural ReroutingMoving pipes, cables, and structural elements$1,000 - $5,000+
Finishing Costs Post-ExcavationInterior finishing, flooring, and insulation$10,000 - $30,000+
Exterior Access ConstructionBuilding egress windows, staircases, or walkouts$2,500 - $10,000+ per egress point
Soil Stabilization and GradingEnsuring stable ground, grading for proper drainage$1,000 - $5,000+

When Is the Ideal Time for Basement Excavation?

If you’re considering basement excavation and wondering about the best time for basement waterproofing services, here are some key considerations based on our firsthand experience,

  1. During Home Site Preparation: The optimal time for basement excavation is when the home site is being prepared for construction. This phase involves digging the land to create a suitable foundation for your home. Excavating at this stage ensures a smooth foundation installation.
  2. Simultaneous Cellar and Foundation Building: Excavating during the home site preparation phase allows for simultaneous construction of the cellar and foundations. This efficient approach streamlines the process, reducing construction time and costs.
  3. Depth for Interior Basement Waterproofing: If you’re planning to implement interior basement waterproofing, the excavation depth will need to be increased to accommodate the basement’s rough layout. This ensures that the necessary waterproofing measures can be properly installed on the interior walls and floor.

Factors Affecting Basement Excavation Costs

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  • Size: The larger the area to be excavated, the higher the cost. Each additional square foot adds to the expenses.
  • Permits: Excavation projects require permits, often pricier than standard ones, ranging from $1,200 to $2,000.
  • Raising or Bracing the House: Lifting your home off its foundation can be done through raising or underpinning. Raising is less expensive but may result in some structural damage, costing between $3,045 and $9,379. Underpinning, a pricier option, can add up to $20,000 due to increased labor time and effort.
  • Excavation: Costs vary based on terrain and equipment required, usually between $75 and $150 per cubic yard of dirt. Adding 1,000 square feet of basement might cost between $22,500 and $45,000.
  • Drainage and Plumbing: Installing plumbing beneath the foundation can cost $1,000 to $3,000, while expanding the drainage system adds $2,000 to $5,500.
  • Foundation: Pouring a new foundation, including floor, footing, and walls, can cost $10,000 to $30,000.
  • Location: Costs can vary depending on your home’s location and accessibility.

Cost by Size of Excavation

For smaller projects, expect starting costs near $10,000, while ambitious expansions for larger areas may exceed $30,000. Aquatech Waterproofing gives you a clear, customized quote, so the size of your plans matches the size of your budget.

Cost of Raising or Bracing the Home

Bracing starts at about $10,000, but if lifting the house is necessary, prices kick off at $30,000 and go up with the project’s complexity. Rely on Aquatech Waterproofing for upfront and precise cost assessments for this crucial step.

Additional Costs to Consider:

  • Finishing the Basement: Budget $10,000 to $30,000 for finishing the basement, based on size and material quality.
  • Insurance: Ensure your homeowner’s insurance covers necessary repairs, typically up to $100,000 to $200,000.
  • Electrical: Allocate $3 to $5 per square foot for electrical work by a licensed electrician.
  • Window and Door Installation: Factor in door installation ($375 to $1,125 per door) and window installation ($50 to $650 per window).
  • Waterproofing: Protect your investment with basement waterproofing, costing between $2,300 and $7,600.

Through our practical knowledge, attempting a DIY basement excavation is strongly discouraged due to its complexity and the need for specialized expertise and equipment. Instead, we recommend hiring a trusted contractor to oversee the project and subcontractors, ensuring a successful and cost-effective basement excavation.

DIY vs. Professional Basement Excavation

Choosing between a DIY approach and hiring professionals for basement excavation involves careful consideration. Here’s a breakdown to help navigate your decision:

DIY Approach:
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  • Potential Savings: Handling the excavation work yourself can significantly reduce initial costs.
  • Skill Level Required: A high degree of skill and understanding of construction is necessary; not advisable for novices.
  • Equipment Access: You’ll need access to specialized equipment which can be expensive to rent and operate.
  • Time Investment: DIY excavation is time-consuming and may stretch over a longer period than a professional job.
  • Safety and Legal Considerations: Personal safety risks and adherence to local building codes and regulations must be managed.
Professional Excavation:
  • Expertise and Efficiency: Seasoned professionals bring expertise, ensuring safe and efficient project completion.
  • Compliance with Codes: A professional team will ensure that all work complies with relevant building codes.
  • Advanced Equipment: Professionals have the right tools for the job, which can handle complex excavation tasks with precision.
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  • Project Management: From initial evaluation to finishing touches, a professional service provides comprehensive project management.
  • Warranty and Accountability: Professional work often comes with a warranty and the assurance of liability coverage.

FAQs About Basement Excavation

Basements should be excavated to a depth that allows for at least 7-8 feet of headroom once the floor is poured and the foundation is completed. Local codes may vary.
A combination of mechanical excavation methods, such as using backhoes and excavators, is employed. The exact method can depend on the soil conditions and project specifics.
Disadvantages include the potential for high costs, disruption to living conditions, structural risks to the existing building, and the lengthy time frame for completion. There is also a risk of water ingress and the need for proper solutions to manage it.

The excavation phase for a basement can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, greatly depending on the project size, complexity, method used, and site accessibility. The entire project from excavation to finishing can take several months.