- You, too, can dig 50 tons of dirt out of your basement—with a particular set of skills.
- Turning an unusable basement into a finished one includes legal requirements.
- The project took $ 10,000 and about 800 total hours of labor.
A YouTuber known only as Poppa has dug out an entire basement with only a jackhammer shovel attachment … and a lot of trips back and forth to the construction dumpster.
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In the beginning, this 100-year-old basement looks more like a crawlspace. It’s barely tall enough for our intrepid homeowner to stand up, and is primarily used for storage. But the floor is finished and carpeted, so the demolition involves cracking through and removing the floor and then digging out what ends up being between 40 and 50 tons of dirt, Poppa says.
The electric shovel makes it easy to dig pretty discrete sections, then he shores up with a wood frame and pours a quick wall out of bagged concrete—300 bags of mix by the end of the project, amounting to 12 tons.
Poppa also has to dig out the egress, meaning the window space with an easy path to get outside in case of an emergency. Finished basements must have this. And while Poppa shares this whole project in a lighthearted and upbeat way, he explains that he’s an experienced house flipper and professional house painter with a lot of DIY construction experience. He’s basically the most polished weekend warrior ever.
The exposed ceiling stays the same, and that makes sense, since any drop to finish it would mean even more digging to make a high enough clearance to live comfortably or swing a golf club.
“All told, we dug out about 350 square feet, anywhere from a little over 8 feet deep to a little over 10 feet deep,” Poppa explains. Once the dig is finished, he adds a layer of gravel and plastic for radon-preventing air circulation and brings in a truck to pour the concrete floor.
Throughout the video, Poppa mentions buying materials and furniture at Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a chain that sells low-cost used furniture and supplies and gives proceeds back to Habitat. The whole project cost about $ 10,000, he says, with over 700 hours of his own labor and 80 from friends and family.
“It’s been well utilized—admittedly mostly by my son playing Fortnite,” he says.
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