How Much Does Basement Excavation Cost?

Feeling the necessity to add another living space in your home? One of your options to do just that is by digging a basement.

That said, you can’t just rely on your DIY skills to complete such a large-scale project. A basement excavation must be performed by licensed contractors. Else, your house will most likely suffer some damage.

Of course, hiring several experts to do the job means you have to pay for their services. With that as a consideration, just how much does basement excavation cost?


Average Cost Of Digging A Basement

It is quite hard to set average excavation prices due to a lot of variables. For instance, a majority of US companies that offer basement digging services will only tell you the project cost after they inspected the site.

Still, websites like Home Advisor uses data from their member homeowners to determine average costs. Although the figures do not necessarily represent the whole United States, they can provide you with an idea about the prices.

According to Home Advisor, the average excavation prices range from $1,291 to $4,404. There are cases, however, when the cost can go as low as $500. Complex projects, on the other hand, may run as high as $9,000.


According to CostOwl, on the other hand, says that the excavation price will likely be between $80 and $200 per square yard. The exact cost will depend on several factors.

Cost Factors

What are the factors that affect the cost of digging a basement? These are some from Home Advisor:

Total area size of the site

  • It’s obvious that you will pay a higher price the larger the excavation area is. After all, your contractors will have to cover a larger space and that means more work for them.


Terrain and soil

  • Excavation deals with clearing the area of tree roots and other elements that may impede construction. If such elements are almost non-existent, then it will become a simpler task for the contractors.
  • However, excavating a clay-like soil and removing rocks and roots will be a challenge even for professionals. That fact will, of course, contribute to the price of the project being higher.


  • Contractors may need to use more than one equipment for tough excavation projects.


The season

  • Home Advisor sites that prices are higher during summer and spring. That is due to more building projects done by contractors in the said seasons.

Additional costs (such as permits)

  • You will have to secure several permits before you start the excavation project. Obtaining such documents also translate to certain fees.



You’ve learned earlier that contractors need to see the site first before they can give you a price. That said, there are two ways used by companies to determine the cost of the project.

One way is by giving a fixed a price after the excavation company assessed the area’s size and terrain. Another method is by measuring the yards of dirt that the company will excavate, which means you’d have to pay based on a per-yard rate.

Note that more companies prefer charging by the yard. That is especially true if the project is a large one.

Cost Calculator

Another way of knowing just how much does basement excavation cost is by calculating the estimates yourself. Fortunately, there are online calculators like the one from which can aid you. The said website computes the price based on the location and the cubic yards.


To give you an idea, here are sample computations:

Pennsylvania (computing for 15 cubic yards)

  • Labor: $347.69 to $1,639.86
  • Equipment: $161.25 to $228.75
  • TOTAL: $508.94 to $1,868.61
  • With debris disposal: $987.35 to $2,412.83


  • Labor: $314.31 to $1,482.43
  • Equipment: $158.93 to $225.46
  • TOTAL: $473.24 to 1,707.89
  • With debris disposal: $944.76 to $2,244.27


New York

  • Labor: $509.37 to $2,402.40
  • Equipment: $172.50 to $244.71
  • TOTAL: $681.86 to $2,647.10
  • With debris disposal: $1,193.64 to $3,229.28


  • Labor: $402.62 to $1,898.96
  • Equipment: $165.07 to $234.17
  • TOTAL: $567.60 to $2,133.13
  • With debris disposal: $1,507.44 to $2,690.25

You might be wondering why the prices were based on cubic yards. Well, the said measurement is necessary to determine how much concrete you need after the excavation. Filling the excavated area is an initial step in completing your basement.


Costs Beyond The Excavation

The excavation price is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course, your contractors will have to construct the basement. That includes, but is not limited to, underpinning, installing the waterproofing system, plumbing, and finishing. As for the total expenses, completing a livable space underground can cost as much as $150,000.

Despite the high costs, families (especially those who are affluent) prefer building a basement to add space. One of the reasons is that basements can add square footage to a property without violating size regulations. You’re digging directly below your house, after all.

Another reason is simply that having an underground room is an acknowledged trend. In fact, real estate buyers in Southern California will assume that a property up for sale includes a basement.


Other Tips

Going back to the topic of excavation, you have to remember some points before you settle for an excavating company. Of course, narrow down your selection among companies that will visit your house and inspect your property first before giving an estimate.

That said, do not depend on one estimate. Instead, you should contact several excavating companies and ask for their prices. After getting the figures, compare them and choose what you think will be most cost-effective.

Note also that you should always clarify with the contractor what is covered by the cost. This is important as some companies may separately bill certain jobs like disposing of debris and erosion control services.

You should also know that not all properties can withstand a basement construction. A licensed soil engineer should check your area first and send a report for review. This will cost you several thousands of dollars. Basically, you’ll be spending money even before knowing if you can build a basement or not.

If you still want a basement despite all the odds, then make sure you have enough budget. And make sure you’ll be paying a fair price!


A renowned home improvement expert with almost 20 years of experience in building and repairing beautiful homes in the USA. He's a civil engineer by profession.

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