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"Swift, VERY professional, and amazing to watch - like a wave of a wand and from bare lawn to installed in under the three hours we were told to expect. Quality work!

-Rick F.

came out on a Saturday and pumped the standing water out of our septic tank, and checked the pump for problems" initially. He diagnosed it as the float not doing it's job. He repositioned it and said that we needed to wait to see if it was going to be work and recommended that we hard wire the pump to the electrical source we had available instead of having an exposed cord. This would be done once the ground around the pump tank had time to dry out. After a few days we noticed that the tank was filling up again, and called
. He sent one of his crew out to reposition the float. The young man let us know he was there and went straight to work. He knocked on the door after he had finished and let me know he would be back to check on it ( but he wouldn't bother us, just go to the pump tank and check) and make sure it was working and that they would hard wire it once it was dry. For several days we had rain, and of course the ground could not dry out, but we didn't notice any water building up in the tank. I spoke with
a few days later and he told me that his crewman had been out three times to check the pump and was certain the problem had been fixed. He then set up a time to have someone come out to hard wire the pump. The young man who came out was the same one who had been checking on the pump. He was polite, quick and efficient. I can't say enough good things about this company! They are excellent and saved us a ton of money! Thank you,
and crew!

-Deborah G.

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Local Articles in Durham

Backhoe digging up dirt.

Hiring an Excavator

There are a number of reasons why homeowners need a professional to excavate their yard, concrete or around their foundation. In this guide to hiring an excavator, we'll dig into what situations require someone to do excavation work, what to look for when hiring an excavator, what you should do before you dig, alternatives to excavation, costs to excavate on your property and scams to avoid.

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Contractors say homeowners with this trait are the most satisfied with home improvement projects.

If connecting to city sewers requires special equipment, like the sewage pump shown here, costs can quickly increase (Photo by Brandon Smith)
Excavating, Drain Pipe Installation - Exterior

Wet basements, crawlspaces or overly-saturated lawns could require the expertise of an exterior drain pipe installation and excavation expert.

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Angie's Answers

Well the fact is he is going to have to pull permits which means it has to be inspected before he is done, you also have to consider the equiptment that he has to bring out to the jobsite to do the job and the man power plus materials, it's costly, but I am not from your area so if you are unsure call another company out and see what they say.
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.

If the windows are being put in by a general contractor, he can easily handle the window wells too. If you were looking for a window installer to do the windows, they might or might not do the window wells as well - some do, some do not. A small one-man excavation company can do this excavation, as can a handyman as it just takes about 1/2-1 hour shovel work per window in normal soil conditions, because the soil around the foundation is already pretty loose from foundation constructiuon (as a rule). Just be sure they pour concrete in the bottom to keep water from coming under the well, and that it is firmly fastened to the foundation and liberally asphalt sealed at the interface with the concrete - not just caulked at the edge, but mastic-coated on cleaned concrete BEFORE the window well in installed and concrete poured in the bottom. (Note - the concrete depends on soil conditions and water level - if your soil is pretty free draining and groundwater level never comes up to bottom of window well, then a gravel bed in the bottom is best so it stays dry - but if groundwater rises that high or you are in real impermeable soil like clay, then concrete works best. If concrete bottom is used, you probably want to have the clear acrylic window well cover put on too to keep water and frogs and such out. Of course, if this is an emergency egress window, you cannot put the plastic covers over it legally.

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)

Front/side yard:

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 Durham


It went really well. The company responded and set up an estimate the same day. I thought I was going to need some work done on my foundation because of something I noticed in the cinder blocks around the slab.
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
looked over what I saw and said it wasn't an issue and was quite standard with my type of home (that it wasn't actually a foundation issue). He told me how to fix it with some basic supplies from Home Depot. He recommended possibly installing weep holes in the future and consulting an HVAC company (to reroute ductwork from the slab to the attic). He was extremely helpful and informative. I really appreciated his honesty in this situation and not trying to
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
me into unnecessary work. Because of that, if I ever really have a foundation issue, I will call these guys.
- Angelica G.

They did a beautiful job!
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
and crew were easy to work with. As in any project, there were a couple of issues along the way but they were quickly addressed.
- Jeffrey H.

The consultants arrived on time
exposed and cut open the tank
cleaned and removed any sludge
worked in a friendly and professional manner.
- Vincent A.

Everything went very smooth. I made the appointment with Billings and they showed up, pumped out the septic system and left the bill on my door. No surprises or last minute price adjustments. The quote on the phone is what I paid them. I will certainly use them again in the future.
- Sarah S.

I called L & J to pump both the main and overflow cesspool. After searching for both cesspools
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
gave up and just pumped our overflow, making the comment, 'if i continue to look for the main you'll be spending thousands of dollars'. He proceeded to pump the overflow then aerated and treated it. I took him at his word and he sealed the cesspool and sold us some 'proprietary bacteria' for an additional $95.00.
Fast forward one month and our 2000
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
overflow was already full? There was just no way for two people to fill that pool up so quickly. So we called another company and they came out and pumped the cesspool in its entirety.
I strongly believe we got ripped off by
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
and L&J. I will never use them again and I would suggest you look at another companies.
- James V.

Our 86 year-old sewer line was collapsing, so we first got some quotes to pipe-burst the old line. These ran in the $6k to $7k range. However, this also would have required obtaining easements from neighbors.
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
came back to us with a plan that allowed a full re-ailignment of the sewer so that it passed entirely within our property for less than the cost of pipe-bursting. He worked with us on the yard preparation phase of the project, showed up on time, and was in and out in two days.
We would emphatically recommend
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
Backoe for major sewer work.

- Danielle M.

Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
, the owner, assisted with the project. He shared details of what was causing the problems and the progress. All workers were professional and courteous. The job was completed in 2.5 days with no disruption to the household. I received a receipt and guarantee for the work. He plans to return and till the ground and place seed down so the grass will return. I would recommend this company to anyone.
- Earlie H.

I dealt with
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
Jr. and have nothing but good things to say about him and his firm. From first contact he was helpful and clear in his communication. Pricing was very competitive and the work was done cleanly and efficiently. We're very happy with the service performed and have no reservation in recommending
Durham Excavators Provider Name Locked
should you have the need for their services.
- Matthew S.

All Excavators in Durham, NC

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

5 Star General Services & Maintenance

3518 Mayfair Street

A+ Tree and Crane Services Inc

PO Box 10486

A-1,Grading Inc

1201 martin pond rd




2321 N MAIN ST
Fuquay Varina

Advanced Structural Repair LLC

63 Tall Oak Ct


1000 Old Lystra Road
Chapel Hill

ARS / Rescue Rooter Raleigh

517 Pylon Dr

Aus Plumbing Inc.

45 Blazing Star Ln





Bullock's Home Enhancement

3500 US Hwy 64 W

BW Watts Construction LLC

6470 Rogers Rd



Cahaba Scapes

2130 11th avenue north

Capital City Enterprises, LLc.

4501 New Bern Ave.

Capstone Building Company, LLC.

PO Box 1309

Carolina Excavations Inc

PO Box 346
Wake Forest

Carolina Grading & Gravel

4805 Buttonbush Dr



Cary Plumbing Co

226 E Cedar St

Century One Builders Inc.

3105 South Evans Street

Clayton Grading, Inc.

Jack Road

Clean Septic Tank Service

2604 Indian Trail

Coble and Associates

8805 Ashdown Ct

Colpitts Grading Inc.

248 Poythress Rd.
Chapel Hill

Concrete Designs Inc

3101 Willow Creek dr
Wake Forest

Constructive Design Group

4613 Forestdale Rd.

Crawlspace Doctor

6162 Loch Laural Ln

CS Tree Services Inc

8617 Cavatina Ct

CSD Surveying, Inc.

1104 Lake Ridge Dr

Delta Mechanical Inc

2486 Lawrenceville Hwy



Drain Designs

65 Lake Farm Road




5112 NEAL RD

Eco-Sense Land Solutions LLC

103 Tracy Lane

Falcone Crawl Space & Structural Repair

1883 Scott Futrell Dr

First Impressions Lawn & Garden

2361 Farrington Point Rd
Chapel Hill


2224 PAGE RD

Fred Contractors, LLC

4441 Six Forks Rd Suite 106-27

Gaddy's Grading

319 Cansler Dr

Gardens of the Carolinas

12008 Six Forks Rd


8138 Kingsland Dr

Green Level Landscapes

206 Luther Rd

Grounds Scapes Inc

7528 Kerr Chapel Rd

H B Inc.

2625 Hunters Meadow Lan.


PO Box 634

Harvell Landscaping

1686 Indian Camp Rd

HF Services LLC Grading & Paving

40 trillium pl
Chapel Hill



HomeGrown Landscapes

804 Lancaster st.

Inside Out Home Designs

2308 Brookfield Dr

International Concrete

5448 Apex Peakway #193

J & D Tree Pros Inc

1775 W Williams St





Jones Construction

5507 Spring Rd

JP Landscaping & Lawncare

3925 Old Weaver Trail

Krichco Construction Inc

PO Box 9400
Chapel Hill

ld williams concrete

3113 e garner rd

Lindsley Waterproofing

607 Ellis Rd

log homes and more

2853 greenbrook dr

Max Tractor Service, Inc.

3707 Brockwell Road


6801 Mt. Hermon Church Rd

Mclean Lawncare and debris removal

1204 Ridge Haven Dr

Montalto Home Improvements And Repair

4502 Stonewall Dr



N Site Construction

635 Hocutt Farm Dr

No Shame Construction

124 Thomas Arnold Rd

Norris Landscaping Services Inc

2882 Matthews Rd


8804 Gulf Courtt Ste I

Outdoor Makeover

1403 North Druid Hills Road


2914 PAGE RD

Patio Pavers Plus

250 Wyndfall Ln

Perry Contracting

3755 Benson Dr

Piedmont Civil Consultants

11010 Lake Grove Blvd (PMB 294)


PO Box 26
New Hill

Plumbing Plus

2021 South 1100 East

Quality Landscapes

1597 Quality Dr

Raleigh Waterproofing Inc

2610 Rowland Rd


315 S Bloodworth St

Richard Miano Contracting Inc.

9817 Porto Fino Ave.
Wake Forest

RJS Grading

312 Lynwood Ln

Romero Construction INC

910 E. Ellerbee st.

Roseman Enterprises, Inc (dba FASTHELP

135 Victoria Hills Drive
Fuquay Varina


301 Sharp St

Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Services

1700 Orr Industrial Ct

Rural Plumbing & Heating Inc

701 E Six Forks Rd

Schwartz Plumbing Company

1129 Corporation Parkway

Scotts Customs, LLC

2695 Government Road

Sealing Agents Waterproofing

PO Box 2370
Indian Trail

Shamrock Waterproofing

6021 Glenthorne Dr



The Bobcat Man

1000 Geer St

Tidwell's Tree Service

2709 Old Milburnie Road



Triangle Landscaping & Concrete

5415 Thornton Rd

Uzzell Masonry Stone Service

PO Box 1314

Vortex Drainage Systems

506 Bridewell Ct

Woodwright Builders

1203 Bayview Ct

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