Building a strong foundation is the first and most important step in the process of constructing a new building or addition, but it is not easy. Different kinds of buildings require various types of foundations, and the work that needs to be done to accomplish this can be very dangerous. While it is possible to do this work yourself, relying on an excavation contractor Portland is a better choice not only to ensure your safety, but also to make sure the job is done right.
What Is a Foundation?
A foundation is the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically found below or at ground level. A building not placed on a quality foundation would eventually sink into the ground or simply crumble. As important as this is, there is more to a foundation than just providing support for a building:
Moisture barrier – A solid, concrete foundation protects the wood framework of a home or other building from absorbing moisture which can soften, crack, split, or allow mold and mildew to grow inside the wood.
Insulation – The ground underneath a building remains quite cold, even in warm weather. A foundation acts as a layer of protection from that cold between the structure and the ground.
Stability – Instabilities such as vehicle traffic and running water make the land under a structure shift, shake, and vibrate. A secure foundation helps to keep a structure’s framework from cracking and splitting.
What if Your Foundation is Not Secure?
A foundation should be built to last for decades. A professional excavation company understands the reasons why foundations might fail and can ensure yours will not weaken over time. Here are some of the reasons why foundation may fail:
- Excessive amounts of water found in clay and nonorganic matter can put pressure on foundations which can cause leaks and cracks in the concrete.
- Your contractor should ensure the concrete is as durable as possible before work on the structure begins. Cement should be wrapped in plastic to trap moisture on the surface and then given several days to cure.
- If the gravel base that is used to keep concrete from seeping into the ground is not compacted correctly, the concrete may settle into its nooks and crannies, causing it to shift and crack.
- Concrete begins drying as soon as it’s poured. If the pouring of a foundation is interrupted, a seam can form between the two sections. This could allow moisture to seep in between segments and the foundation could then begin to shift and crack.
- If the footings of the foundation are not exact, a structure’s measurements will be inaccurate which could result in windows that are off-center and other unappealing details.
- Soil conditions must be taken into consideration as moist or overly arid soil may not provide the support needed for a foundation meaning the concrete may need to be thicker and stronger than normal.
Excavation Can Be Dangerous
Leaving excavation work to the professionals is not only ensures accuracy, it is also a much safer option. Below are some risks to consider before deciding if saving some money is worth doing the excavation yourself:
- Unstable trench walls can collapse, burying a person in the dirt. The pressure from that dirt can make breathing impossible and they risk suffocation.
- Dust, mold, even asbestos can be stirred up by excavation activity. Breathing in this debris without the proper protective gear can lead to lung irritations, sinus problems, or irritation to their eyes.
- Having underground power lines marked is important but you can’t forget about the overhead lines. Lifting the bucket of a bobcat and hitting one of those can cause electrical shock.
- The edge of a cavity can collapse under you and cause severe injury if you stand or move equipment too close and it doesn’t have proper bracing.
Safety is not the only reason to hire an excavating contractor for digging foundations. While it may seem less expensive to do it yourself, renting equipment for both clearing the lot and digging can add up. Plus, a professional excavator will have insurance that will cover the cost of damaged property and they are familiar with permits that are necessary to begin the work.
Create a Plan with Your Excavation Contractor
When discussing the plan for your foundation with your excavation contractor, you will want to be sure and include the following items prior to digging:
- You can have topsoil removed from the site and placed out of the way so you can use it later for landscaping.
- Let the machine operator know where you want the spoils (the dirt that comes out of the hole for the foundation) to go. You are paying for the machine and operator in your contract, so you only want the dirt to be moved once.
- Benching the foundation is a safety practice that prevents cave-ins around the perimeter of the hole. A trench will be created between the foundation and the walls of the excavation, so ensure that your excavator plans on benching to make the trench less dangerous.
- The excavating company generally makes the phone call for underground utility locating. Make sure this has been done prior to starting.
Give the contractor a call the week before their scheduled day to confirm.
At Parker Concrete Inc., our experience, hiring practices, and dedication to our customers is what sets us apart and has made us an industry leader in the Northwest. Our staff is hired based on their experience and knowledge which allows us to work faster and maintain our high standards. When you contract with us for your concrete foundation work, we will keep your vision at the forefront of every step we take and utilize every resource at our disposal to see it through. We can take on any size project and ensure that we always get a job done efficiently, precisely, and with care. Call (503) 992 – 0400 to contact Parker Concrete Inc today for your Portland excavation needs.