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I'm gearing up for a remodel/addition on the house next year. For better or worse I tend to do a lot of projects myself. In this case I won't be doing the entire project, but I'm thinking about doing the excavating myself and maybe I'll get to keep the backhoe as a bonus. :) The basement is two separate locations and will require 72" of excavation at it's deepest point. Total basement square footage will be about 270. Then there will be excavation for a masonry chimney foundation and for 13 square porch/deck footings.(Unless I can find a square form to use so I can pour the square pilings) Our soil is not clay so it isn't hard and there are not many rocks. I know a 385A or 485 with a 24" bucket attached to a 3720 would technically be able to get the job done, but would it be a painful process? Also in the future is a new garage, barn and in ground pool. Renting is an option too, but that tends to add stress in my life as I need to get it done as quickly as possible to keep the rental costs down. I like the idea of being able to go out and dig when I have time and then maybe having a new toy...I mean tool to have around when I need it. :D Thoughts?
 

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Can it be done? Sure, but I’d worry about the weather and other factors if you can’t get it done quickly. You don’t want to your dig site to fill with water, and footers will need to be dug and poured quickly too, if they fill with water you won’t have an undisturbed solid base for them.

There will be lots of moving the tractor, and that means getting off the hoe and climbing onto the tractor to reposition, then back again, plus having to move the spoils. Renting mini excavator and using the tractors loader seems like it would be a lot more efficient.
 

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I agree with Kenny. Rent yourself a mini or small excavator and don't look back. It's no fun when you aren't in a position to get rid of material with a backhoe. Especially if you are going basement/crawl depth.
 

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Way to crush my dreams of a backhoe. :) Though I'd have to say I'm not surprised. I had thought of the issues mentioned and could work around them, but I can imagine it being a big pain, hence why I asked the question. It just seemed like an opportunity to justify a backhoe which could be handy and fun. The other piece of the puzzle I haven't looked at is how much it would cost to just have it done. I have no idea what it costs for excavation around here, but after I check into that I might find it just isn't worth my time to tackle the project myself.
 

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While the mini excavator would be marginally faster, Id go bigger than that if I were in a hurry to get it done. They are certainly faster than the backhoe, but they are still small and limited by bucket size. A small excavator would get it done MUCH faster. A bobcat, probably faster, assuming you can dig an approach into the basement.
Alternatively, you could just dig a ramp you could drive your tractor down, do the excavating with the big bucket, and be done. You would need the backhoe in that case, or something to get you started.
Id think a guy could dig out the basement using the loader, and while not the easiest, it would work just as well as about anything else. Guys around here do them with Bobcats all the time.

Now, even if you dont use a backhoe to do any of that, you WILL find uses for it.
If you think there is a remote chance you will have lots of use for it in the future, get it when you get the tractor.

If you look at MDrews thread about his pole barn construction, youll see that no matter what you do, the weather can still get in your way in a BIG way. Even with big equipment working fast, you could still have big problems. It just lessens the chances somewhat.
If it were me, and I had the time, Id give it a shot myself, but Im what you might call stubborn...set in my ways...hard headed...etc, more so than anyone Ive known, so maybe my advice should be taken with that in mind, lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
While the mini excavator would be marginally faster, Id go bigger than that if I were in a hurry to get it done. They are certainly faster than the backhoe, but they are still small and limited by bucket size. A small excavator would get it done MUCH faster. A bobcat, probably faster, assuming you can dig an approach into the basement.
Alternatively, you could just dig a ramp you could drive your tractor down, do the excavating with the big bucket, and be done. You would need the backhoe in that case, or something to get you started.
Id think a guy could dig out the basement using the loader, and while not the easiest, it would work just as well as about anything else. Guys around here do them with Bobcats all the time.

Now, even if you dont use a backhoe to do any of that, you WILL find uses for it.
If you think there is a remote chance you will have lots of use for it in the future, get it when you get the tractor.

If you look at MDrews thread about his pole barn construction, youll see that no matter what you do, the weather can still get in your way in a BIG way. Even with big equipment working fast, you could still have big problems. It just lessens the chances somewhat.
If it were me, and I had the time, Id give it a shot myself, but Im what you might call stubborn...set in my ways...hard headed...etc, more so than anyone Ive known, so maybe my advice should be taken with that in mind, lol!
Haha, I've actually thought about using the loader to dig the basement. The approach wouldn't be hard and if I had a backhoe it would be easy to cleanup/finish the hole. I really just don't like paying for what I could do myself. But sometimes there just isn't time for me to do it or the professionals can do it for a cost that just doesn't make sense for me to pass up. Kinda like the guy who ground out 30 big stumps for $500. I'd spend that much on just the rental. So instead I let him grind them all up. In the next couple weeks I'll decide what I'm going to do here.
 

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Way to crush my dreams of a backhoe. :) Though I'd have to say I'm not surprised. I had thought of the issues mentioned and could work around them, but I can imagine it being a big pain, hence why I asked the question. It just seemed like an opportunity to justify a backhoe which could be handy and fun. The other piece of the puzzle I haven't looked at is how much it would cost to just have it done. I have no idea what it costs for excavation around here, but after I check into that I might find it just isn't worth my time to tackle the project myself.
Lol
Hey man, not saying it can't be done.
 
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