What does it cost to excavate an oil tank, and to excavate a basement for additional headroom?

Asked by Matt Zuberko, 11106 Sun Mar 30, 2008

Hello! My wife and I have narrowed down our house search to two houses. One house is in northern Cranford, the other on the Scotch Plains/Westfield border just south of Route 28. The Cranford house has an ideal location but has two challenging aspects: the basement (partially finished) height is about 4 inches shorter than we'd like it to be, and there's a closed underground oil tank on the property. For peace of mind, we wonder if it makes sense to excavate the oil tank. We're also wondering if it's possible to excavate 4" inches of the basement floor to get some more headroom. Has anyone done either of these projects, what do we have to watch out for, and what's a ballpark cost we'd expect to bear? Thank you!

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lewisremingt…, Home Owner, Rochester, NY
Fri May 8, 2015
I would call an excavation company and ask them. They'll be able to give you their professional opinion and quote you on a price. You might even want to get a few different quotes so that you can compare them and see if you are willing to pay that much.
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Jackson Will…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Tue Mar 24, 2015
Excavating the oil tank should be a relatively easy job. I don't think you'll have too much trouble doing that one at all. Excavating the basement might be a bit of a struggle. If I were you, I would contact some companies that do this kind of thing. When you talk to them, you should be able to get an idea of what they can do to help you, and if these projects are even possible.
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djennifer009, , Salt Lake City, UT
Thu Mar 19, 2015
In both cases you'll have to hire a company. I'd recommend calling around to a few different excavation contractors and see what you're quoted. That can let you know whether or not it's feasible to continue with your plans. And if you do end up excavating, you'll already know who to use. http://www.arcticbackhoeservices.ca/services.html
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Mark Leach, Home Buyer, Pine Bluff, AR
Thu Feb 5, 2015
I have seen a basement excavation before. The structure was essentially put up on stilts while they dug out the old foundation and lowered it. It was heavily involved and very expensive. I am not sure if there are other methods, but it is worth looking into. http://www.coreminibins.com
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Rafi Footerm…, Agent, Edison, NJ
Tue Apr 1, 2008
I highly recommend having the tank removed PRIOR to closing by a qualified, licensed company. It is usually straight forward, but if the soil is contaminated the process can become complex and expensive.

The basement is more involved and you should consult a structural engineer. The slab frequently provides lateral support for the foundation walls and removing it can be very serious.

Feel free to contact me for more information. I don't make money for referrals, just my inspections.

Rafi Footerman
Mid Jersey Inspections
NJ Home Inspector Lic. #076900
0 votes
John Sacktig, Agent, New Jersey, NJ
Sun Mar 30, 2008
The Oil tank has to be done by a licensed removval company. I have seen this range from 5000 - 6000
there are many companies that perform this service. This is actually a very involved process, with soil samples and tests. But, I think it is pretty painless nowadays.

The basment floor should be looked at by a good contractor, preferrably somone with an engineering background. Good luck.
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I am having a similar issue, so I appreciate the feedback. I think I can handle a $5,000-$6,000 bill. I don't need to excavate an oil tank, but I do want to expand my basement. The excavation process is only a small part of the project, and I can't blow my entire budget on it. I think I can work with that price, though.

Flag Thu Dec 4, 2014
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