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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Upstate NY
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    New Holland Powerstar T4.75

    Default Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    As I evaluate my purchase decisions I'm also evaluating implements. At first I had no interest in a backhoe, but now I'm starting to have second thoughts. I've priced renting an excavator to do what work will need to be done at my homesite. It looks like I can get a medium sized excavator for about $1,000 a week delivered. I can get the foundation dug in a day for sure and another couple of days could be used for digging the utility trenches for gas, electric, water and sewer. I could also make sure that I have some nice trenches and maybe a couple extra french drains for the driveway. I'd have to take a week off of work to get it all done in that time but it would be sooo much cheaper than hiring all that work out.

    The thing that I'm starting to think about it this though. It's expensive to get that piece of equipment delivered, so it pays to get everything done at once. The problem is that I'd like to do some of the work a little more piece mail and also I'm starting to think of some other projects. I'm thinking about doing a full foundation for my large shed/ workshop (approx. 16x30). I'm also thinking that I'd rather do the utilities not all at the same time as well. So I figure realistically I'd still be able to do all the work with no more than $2500 to $3000 worth of rental equipment in the extended time frames. What I'm thinking is that if I were to buy a backhoe for whatever CUT I buy (as long as I go with something at least as big as say a Woods BH80X) and then sell it after I got done with all the excavation I probably wouldn't take more than a $2500 loss over what I paid for the backhoe. Plus, I could do all the work on my own time, no rush, no need to take extra time off of work. Not to mention that I may end up coming up with all sorts of other projects to use the backhoe for, and may end up wanting to keep it anyway.

    So, I realize that it would take much much longer, maybe 40 hours or more to dig a foundation for my house with a CUT mounted backhoe vs. an excavator. But is it feasible to dig a foundation with a CUT mounted backhoe? I would want 9 foot basement walls so I figure including floor I'm digging at most 8 feet a the land is very flat. Am I insane to even be thinking about doing things this way? I realize it's more work to have to dig smaller bites with the smaller backhoe and then move the piles around with the FEL, but it would allow me to spread the job out over a whole summer. This would be less stressful for me than having to get everything done at once while the equipment is on site, and would probably save me money in the long run because I'd be running a tractor instead of going out and wasting money on other things. So how many of you have dug foundations with a CUT mounted backhoe before? Just how crazy am I for even thinking about doing it this way? As always thanks in advance for the advice.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Jun 2007
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    Northeastern, Pa.

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    N.Y. is not an area where your going to be digging into loose sandy loom. Your going to have your share of boulders and a cut can have problems with one. If you so choose the cut route you might have to cut into the planned foundation area from the side at an angle to get into the hole to run in and out to pull out rocks with the loader.

    You have to think of what your time is worth, either way you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    I wouldnt try to dig upstate NY with a cat 1 backhoe... The only way id try it is if your not digging deep and you know the ground conditions are all sand.You said your digging 8 ft deep,how will you even remove the material with a small hoe that doesnt spin around like an excavator?The easiest digging in NY I know of is Long Island,outside that,Im not too sure.Where I live you need a strong hoe,lots of bone,some of it large.It would take forever to dig that here,although im sure eventually youd get it,as long as you dont unearth a rock to big to dig out or move,then you need to rent an electric jackhammer,or rent a compressor and pnematic one...
    Cat 246 SS,Homemade 35T log splitter,2004 Ventrac 4231G various attachments...2005 Dixie chopper XXWD5000, 2001 Dixie Chopper XW2500-60

  4. #4
    Silver Member lungdoc's Avatar
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    Niagara & Muskoka ON

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    As someone who just built a cottage in Muskoka ON (similar terrain to upstate NY) I can tell you I wouldn't dream of trying it with a tiny backhoe. My father in law has a fairly large 4WD JCB backhoe/loader and I wouldn't think of doing it with THAT. Somethings to consider:
    1) How skilled a backhoe/excavator operator are you - a good operator can get the floor really level with the sides appropriate. Not as easy as it looks, doesn't need to be perfect but saves work later.
    2) If you do it slowly there's a really good chance rain may turn it into a mess - unlikely to be much drainage and you've just dug yourself a big wet pond
    3) Do you have enough room to use the backhoe from all sides - if not you need an excavator with enough reach.
    4) Be prepared for the possibility of bedrock - my neighbour a few hundred yards away had to blast for his foundation, we had 30' of fill when we drilled the well and hit no bedrock but some BIG nuggets.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Sep 2009
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    547
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    Upstate NY
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    New Holland Powerstar T4.75

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baranx4 View Post
    N.Y. is not an area where your going to be digging into loose sandy loom. Your going to have your share of boulders and a cut can have problems with one. If you so choose the cut route you might have to cut into the planned foundation area from the side at an angle to get into the hole to run in and out to pull out rocks with the loader.

    You have to think of what your time is worth, either way you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.
    Excellent points. In fact one thing that I was thinking would be to fashion the excavation in such a way that the whole tractor had an earthen ramp of some sort to drive down to the bottom of the hole so as to be able to remove larger chunks, etc. I'm sure this would be a month or two long project. I'm still not nearly convinced on tackling this with a CUT mounted backhoe, this was just a passing thought and that's why I reached out to this board to see if this was even feasible. I have a pretty good idea what the soil is like in my area so I can attest to the challenges associated with the actual digging (surprisingly the area where my land is located is mostly clay) but I have no experience with CUT mounted backhoes, only with their larger brethren and also with excavators. From what I'm seeing thus far it looks like this may be more trouble than it's worth but I like exploring all options. My uncle who used to do construction full time and now does it on the side has done lots of foundation and excavation work. He feels that he can do my foundation including equipment rental and materials for $11,000 to $15,000 worst case scenario (gotta love free labor) so I'm probably really splitting hairs on this anyway especially since he probably didn't expect to dig my utility trenches at the same time as the foundation anyway.

    And as for what my time is worth, I completely understand what you're saying. The problem is quantifying that figure for me in terms of what I get paid and opportunity cost, etc. At my job I make $X an hour plus benefits, take home car, etc. However I'm not able to work another job due to the nature of my job and restrictions placed on outside employment. So once work is done, it's not like I can say, "I could be earning $50 an hour doing XYZ or working overtime instead of doing this work around the house." So generally any work I can do myself is a savings since there's no way for me to earn additional money beyond what I earn at work. And please don't take this as me criticizing what I'm paid because I believe I earn a very good salary. I also should add that I'm a workaholic that can't sit still for more than 5 minutes. Except maybe at the computer...

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Feb 2008
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    somewhere usa
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    It would make more sense to dig the foundation with a larger excavator, and the trenches with an appropriate backhoe. Hard to be able to do all of these at one time.


    Steve

  7. #7
    Gold Member
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    Northeastern, Pa.

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lt CHEG View Post
    Excellent points. In fact one thing that I was thinking would be to fashion the excavation in such a way that the whole tractor had an earthen ramp of some sort to drive down to the bottom of the hole so as to be able to remove larger chunks, etc. I'm sure this would be a month or two long project. I'm still not nearly convinced on tackling this with a CUT mounted backhoe, this was just a passing thought and that's why I reached out to this board to see if this was even feasible. I have a pretty good idea what the soil is like in my area so I can attest to the challenges associated with the actual digging (surprisingly the area where my land is located is mostly clay) but I have no experience with CUT mounted backhoes, only with their larger brethren and also with excavators. From what I'm seeing thus far it looks like this may be more trouble than it's worth but I like exploring all options. My uncle who used to do construction full time and now does it on the side has done lots of foundation and excavation work. He feels that he can do my foundation including equipment rental and materials for $11,000 to $15,000 worst case scenario (gotta love free labor) so I'm probably really splitting hairs on this anyway especially since he probably didn't expect to dig my utility trenches at the same time as the foundation anyway.

    And as for what my time is worth, I completely understand what you're saying. The problem is quantifying that figure for me in terms of what I get paid and opportunity cost, etc. At my job I make $X an hour plus benefits, take home car, etc. However I'm not able to work another job due to the nature of my job and restrictions placed on outside employment. So once work is done, it's not like I can say, "I could be earning $50 an hour doing XYZ or working overtime instead of doing this work around the house." So generally any work I can do myself is a savings since there's no way for me to earn additional money beyond what I earn at work. And please don't take this as me criticizing what I'm paid because I believe I earn a very good salary. I also should add that I'm a workaholic that can't sit still for more than 5 minutes. Except maybe at the computer...
    $11,000 for digging a foundation? Is he clearing the site and putting in a driveway,or does that include block work also?

    When I had my house build 2 years ago they wanted somewhere around $4,000-$6,000, to clear my site, very heavy wooded I rented a 4wd backhoe for the job, would have gotten a dozer or track loader but everything is joystick today and I haven't run one in 20 years. I'm used to the old contorshionist dozers where your constantly adjusting. Digging the foundation was $6,000 but they had to jackhammer the foundation out. Took 3 guys with 2 excavators 3 days so I wasn't complaining.

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    Oct 2004
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    limerick pa lycoming county pa
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    kubota bx23

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    Some questions about the foundation
    Basement?
    Pier?
    Crawl space?

    I have a BX23 and it did my piers and all my waterlines at my cabin in NC PA water line is down about 5'

    My septic tank drain field and cistern were done by a guy with a track loader in a day and a half the best $1,500 Ive spent on digging.

    I was going to rent a track hoe to do the job but this guy was working down the road.
    That would have taken me weeks maybe months.

    I like doing stuff my self and at my pace that is why I got a tlb.
    I looked at a lot of them the integral like the 23, 24. 25 and the b21 in my opinion were a better choice than 3pt mounted hoe's.

    tom
    If it ain't broke we will help you brake it
    If it is broke we will help you get it fixed!


    https://www.facebook.com/joseph.t.mussington

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Sep 2009
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    Upstate NY
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    New Holland Powerstar T4.75

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    The price I mentioned above was for a turn key foundation. It includes excavation, putting in the forms, concrete, rebar, the whole shooting match. Basically my uncle is not charging me for his time as long as I help where I can. This would be for a roughly 3,000 square foot two story house plus a 3 car garage. I'm going for 9 foot basement walls, and I figure that the excavation would have to be about 8 feet deep. For the price mentioned, all I'd have to do is put the sill plates on and start framing or I may go modular on top of the foundation as I've found a modular builder that can incorporate a lot of the architectural details and multiple roof lines in his homes and still come in less than traditional stick built with me doing the plumbing and electrical. So I really think his price is good and I may be splitting hairs by even thinking about digging the foundation myself. The price above only includes about $1,000 for renting the equipment to build the foundation. If I worked fast I'd probably be able to do the utility trenches in 1 or 2 days max with a mid sized excavator so if you take out the money saved in renting the excavator for the foundation I'm probably going to take more of a loss selling a subframe backhoe attachment than I would in spending the money to rent a mid sized excavator for what I need. It is fun to discuss the situation academically though.

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    somewhere usa
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Anyone ever use a CUT mounted backhoe to dig a foundation?

    Well that makes a huge difference including the concrete work with the excavating in your uncles price. I think I would go with that and remember to appreciate his help with your house.


    Steve

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