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Local Articles in Cascade
Wet basements, crawlspaces or overly-saturated lawns could require the expertise of an exterior drain pipe installation and excavation expert.
Mold remediation companies offer advice on how to prevent and fight mold in your home.
Don't tell them what the other company said as far as price.
It is almost certain that you will have to modify the foundation to make it deeper too - and that is MAJOR structural work.
You need a civil/geotechnical engineering firm with experience in foundation rehab and putting in basements under existing homes to design the process and prepare and seal the plans and specifications, which you will need before you can get a building permit for this. They will also be able to help you select either a foundation excavation or a house moving and jacking company to do the actual work for you.
The engineer can also help you with a cost estimate - because I think you will be surprised how much this is going to cost. I have designed or managed quite a few such jobs, from highrise buildings to homes, and even the smallest houses of about 600SF footprint ran at least $15,000, and generally house basement excavations run more like $25-40,000 unless the foundation was originally designed for it but for some reason the basement was never put in, which is VERY rare except in very deep frost areas were footings are occasionally deep enough to allow a basement to be dug without deepening them. I worked on a couple back east that ran about $100,000 each because they were old 2-story brick buildings, which are very sensitive to differential movements - probably like yours.
A couple of other factors to consider is that in doing this you are likely to get at least some minor drywall cracking and door and window jamming, and be sure the contractor is insured and bonded to the hilt and for the potential rebuild value of the house, not just the job cost, because a major mistake can turn your house into a teardown. Not common, but the less experienced the contractor the more likely he is to do something dramatically wrong, and at the same time the smaller and less experienced contractors generally have lower coverages so your risks is compounded in two ways. With a row home you have the added risk of damaging adjacent units.
One thing to consider cost wise before you go ahead - I have worked a couple of jobs where it turned out cheaper and far safer to scrap the digging in a basement idea and put in an addition with same footprint instead. However, looking back I see you are in a row home, so that is likely not going to work. However, being in a row home, especially if on the Potomac flats south or east of the capital area, the soil conditions are generally the pits once you get off the Georgetown heights, so putting a basement under a rowhome without disturbing the other ones is VERY difficult and pricey - I would be surprised if you could do it for less than $100,000.One other factor is utilities - one of the first things to do is check depth to any utilities like sewer lines, the Metro, etc - if you are over one of those that could well put your project totally out of the frame of reality.
You asked for a recommendation - one who specializes in this type of work that I would recommend, though your job might well be too small size for them - but they might be able to give you an engineer and contractor recommendation if so. Company name is Schnabel Foundation Company in Sterling Va and Bethesda, MD in your area - website www.schnabel.com. They could handle both the engineering and construction.
Wow - from way general to totally specific - nice job, you have your scope of work almost ready to contact potential bidders about giving a bid - just need to double check each item hads quantities attached to it, plus a plan with depths (or specify tie-in elevations to existing pipe and required drain/pipe slopes - say 1% or more). Search the List (in green banner bar) for Earthwork and Excavation contractors in your area with good reviews and ratings.
here is a very rough idea of costs - obviously you need bids to tie it down, this should just give you a ballpark to compare to - assuming all this work is done at the same time.
1) & 2) - Tree and rock maybe $100 - more like $200 if you want the stump totally rooted out rather than just the stump and root crown taken out.
3) Walk removal and disposal probably about $100-200 - maybe half if these are 3-4 inch individual concrete squares or rectangles that can be skidded to the side, the excavation and ground sloping done, then slid back into place with a backhoe or bobcat or by wood skids and prybar, eliminating the hauling and disposal cost.
4) Excavation and disposal of soil probably about $20-30/CY, because you are talking a small quantity. Cheaper if you have an on-site area it can be spread out onsite for disposal, or stockpiled in yard as a future project dirt pile, if that is suitable.
5) You don't say what the existing drain is - underground drain for downspouts maybe ? For shallow burial, probably about $5/LF or so. Why square - round is cheaper and far stronger for given material thickness.
6) Fence R&R probably about $150-200, depending on depth of posts and whether concreted in or not.
7) vegetation removal - not knowing how much, $100-200
8) Garden wall around $10-12/SF assuming excavated material from yard is suitable for the general backfill - remember should go 4-12 inches below grade for stability (4" for this wall, more like 6-12 for higher front wall)
1) Move large boulder - $50-100
2) vegetation removal and relocate 3 shrubs - $150-300 (not knowing how much vegetation orhow big shrubs are)
3) excavation at $20-30/CY again as above
4) sprinkler system relocate/repair - $75-150
5) garden wall around $12-15/SF as above including concrete footer needed for this height wall
6) area drain laterals about $5-10/LF, assuming not over 3 feet deep
7) slab drainage - I don't know where the quick lime idea came from, but this is a no-go - it will remove a small amount of water (maybe 5-20 gallons) from the soil one-time - it has no long term function as it will quickly become saturated. You are actually likely to have 5 wet circles in your concrete slab from this forever, as the lime will act as a soggy sponge, retaining water that would otherwise wick away. If you have or expect a basement slab moisture problem, then you need a sump pump with sump installed, and possibly (depending on how free-draining the base material under your slab is to carry waer to the sump pump) lateral drains cut in below the perimeter of the slab. Can run from $800-1500 range for a pump and pit depending on capacity and wiring situation, plus $500-1000 for an emergency battery-powered backup if desired. $1000-2500 range typically if lateral drains around the perimeter of the slab are necessary. Cheaper but sloppier and moisture-causing solution is small trenches or above-slab channels to carry the water to sump pump. These laterals are commonly held off on till you see if the sump pump can handle the issue itself, ASSUMING you have unfinished basement so a bit of seepage aroundbthe slab does no more damage than needing a mopping up. Personally, unless you have a continual seepage of water into basement or it is finished so leakage is critical, I would leave sump pump and drains for later - to see if your surface drainage changes eliminates the basement dampness problem, which it commonly does unless your water table rises to the basement slab level. Also, having a sump pump implies water issues and tolls against any future buyer finishing an unfinished basement, so it detracts from resale value if you have one.
Note these are off-the-cuff type numbers, NOT any sort of deliberate estimate - but I felt it was better to give you a ballpark than to just say go get estimates. Except for the floor drains, this sounds like a good job for a small 1-3 man excavation and hauling company, but make sure they have experience in putting in drain pipe and block walls and have good references in that area.
Note- if you are inclined to do it yourself work and have the time, most of this is good homeowner home improvement project material. You could have a contractor with a bobcat or small tractor with small backhoe come and pull the fence posts out (you could remove the above-ground apart easily), trench for the pipes, maybe move the rocks and sidewalk (though you could do that yourself with a few scraps of wood as skids and a 5 foot prybar assuming the walk is in piece, not continuously reinforced, and to do the bulk excavation and hauling for you, leaving the vegetation clearing, pipe work, trench backfilling, final slope dressing, block wall building, transplanting, etc to you - could cut your cost about 1/3-1/2. Basement slab drainage I consider a separate issue which would not cost significantly different if done as part of this job, or later if drainage channels or slab french drains are deemed necessary.
For the excavation - remember to get utility locates - I recommend once for bidding so they know where utilities are, then require the bidder to get relocates just before excavation starts. Gas, telephone, cable TV are commonly less than a foot down - water and sewer usually 3 feet or more but don't count on it. Also worry about septic system is you have that, and any power or water lines to/from well if you have a well. Plus of course your sprinkler system if in the way of proposed excavation.
Good Luck with your project
Excavating reviews in Cascade
These guys knew what they were doing and they were there for about an hour. They helped me out and I am happy to leave this review.
The bid was 3200 to 4000, dependent on several things. The 3200 bid was about $1000 lower than the previous bid I had gotten from someone else. And better than a third bid where the bidder was unable to get down into the city's hole to look at the situation because of a bad knee.
I signed a contract with
Their equipment and a portapotty showed up the day before they were due. They were on time first thing in the morning. They put down plywood to protect my grass and the were able to sling a large rhoddie which has survived well. I did
One difficulty that was discovered was that the clean out drain for my house had been dry walled and tiled over so it complicated figuring out what was going on. The hope was that this company would be able to open a hole close to my front porch, find a good part of the 106 year old pipe, and attach a new PVC pipe from there to the street. However, once the hole was dug the pipe was in such bad condition, that they were unable to attach new pipe to it so they ended up having to come into the basement, cut through the concrete floor, dig another hole, and at that point sleeve between old installation out to the street. Since the original bid had been based on the exterior hole, I was dreading getting the final bill.
The job was finished in two days, the hole in the basement and the clean out valve were installed under a cabinet near the wall and the work looked really good. The soil outside was packed back in and the yard looked largely undisturbed. The city came out and refilled their hole, compacting the soil with equipment that made my house shake and the paintings on the wall dance.
Then disaster (well, okay, a
I think I mentioned having two huge 100+ year old trees out front? One is an elm tree and every spring it produces millions of seeds about the size of a penny. That spring because we had had so little rain, the seeds had piled up on the porch roof, unnoticed until they were washed into the gutters and clogged the drains which then could not carry the rain away from the house. The crew cleaned out my front gutter and then left for their regular job. So far, knock on wood, there has been no more water in the basement. The sewer is working great, and I am singing the praises of this company. Their bid--well it still came in under the $4000 top.
By the way, when I mentioned the
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