Digging a Foundation with a Mini Excavator

3 Steps to Digging a Foundation with a Mini Excavator

3 Steps to Digging a Foundation with a Mini Excavator


    – Focus on renting a mini excavator

    – Step 1: Locate and mark the foundation

    – Step 2: Dig the foundation with a mini excavator

    – Step 3: Finalize the foundation

While it is possible to do your foundation with a shovel and pickaxe, for small trenches, you can rent what is called a mini excavator.

Digging a foundation with a mini-excavator requires little effort, and this machine allows you to make an excavation to the correct size and depth quickly. Here is how to do it.

Focus on renting a mini excavator

You will most likely choose to rent a mini excavator to dig your foundations. Here are some points to note to organize this rental at best:

    – First of all, you should know that the rental cost does not include the cost of accessories, consumables, and transportation.

    – If you have never driven a mini-excavator before, you should allow half a day to get used to it. It is, therefore, preferable to rent it for a whole weekend.

    – As for the choice of the model, you should choose it according to the depth to be dug: the deeper you dig, the more powerful and heavy the machine will have to be, but this implies holding a specific license.

    – So that you are not caught unprepared, bring an extra can of diesel of at least 10 liters corresponding to about 4 or 5 hours of work.

1. Locate and lay the foundation

Before you start the structural work, you should proceed as follows:

    – Mark the location of your future foundation with stakes, then draw a line between them.

    – Then, spread chalk over the line and remove it and the stakes.

    – You can now begin work with the mini excavator.

2. Dig the foundation with the mini excavator

Digging a Foundation with a Mini Excavator

Now that you have the mini-excavator in hand, it’s time to dig your foundation:

    – Stand facing the future trench, put the blade down on the ground at the back of the machine, and place the bucket on the ground, ready to dig.

    – Using the power of the arm, push the bucket teeth into the ground as you would a shovel and fold the arm and bucket to “scoop up the dirt”.

    – Fold the bucket completely against the arm. Raise the bucket by operating the turret to position it to deposit the soil.

    – Unfold the arm to bring the bucket to the ground and unfold it to release the soil to the ground in the defined location.

Good to know: it is essential to get the bucket into the ground before pressing the arm of the mini-excavator. This will allow you to recover the maximum amount of soil in one take.

3. Finalize the foundation

    – To complete the excavation, use a shovel and a pickaxe because the bottom must be flat and the sides plumb.

    – Check with the level on a rafter.

    – Finish by tamping the soil.

Below is a list of materials needed to dig a foundation with a mini excavator.

List of materials needed:

Gardener’s line 


Manual tamper 

Spirit level 



Wooden stakes 

Read more:

– 9 Steps for the Earthwork and Foundations of a Wooden House;

– 4 Steps to Make a Wall Foundation;

– Wall Rendering Simplified for You;

– How to Create an Opening in a Non-load-Bearing Wall;

– 4 Steps to Build a Wall.

Hope this post helps you dig a foundation with a mini excavator. Please, remember to leave your comments below.

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