Common Excavating Mistakes Homeowners Must Avoid

When excavation is needed on your property, such as for a pool, new plumbing pipes, and the like, you might be tempted to tackle this job on your own. Homeowners can certainly rent excavators, trenchers, and other such equipment, but having the right equipment alone isn't enough to ensure a safe dig. Note a few common excavating mistakes that homeowners need to avoid to have a safe, workable excavation on their property.

1. Not planning for weather conditions during a dig

A light rain might not interfere with your dig, but heavy storms can soften the dirt and fill any excavation with water as you're trying to dig, which in turn can allow the pit to collapse or make the job impossible to finish. When planning any type of excavation, be sure you've checked the weather, especially if you live in the tropics or anywhere that is prone to extreme rains, high winds, and the like.

2. Not planning on the amount of excavated dirt

What will you do with the excavated dirt once it's removed? Homeowners often tend to forget about the volume of dirt that is displaced during a dig and how they'll manage it. It's good to have a dump truck standing by or to arrange to have the dirt taken away. Note that even if you need some fill dirt, such as for covering over plumbing pipes, those pipes will still take up quite a bit of space in your excavation, so you'll still have a lot of fill dirt you'll need to manage.

3. Hitting overhead lines, tree branches, and the like

Even if you rent a small excavator with a bucket that only reaches to the top of the equipment, you can still be at risk of hitting overhead tree branches, power lines, and things like a fence, your own house, and so on. It's good to ask for direction on how to use the equipment before you start your excavation on your property, and to always be mindful of your surroundings when you dig, even if you feel comfortable using the excavator or other piece.

4. Not following spec sheets exactly

Digging any type of excavation is not like digging a small trench for a vegetable garden; you need to follow the spec sheets exactly, as these are created to ensure that the dig is safe. Digging the wrong slope for plumbing pipes may interfere with water flow, and digging the wrong depth for a pool may mean that your pool edge is not level with the ground. Always follow spec sheets exactly when handling your own excavation.