Dig Out Your Crawl Space/ Basement for Under $100

Introduction: Dig Out Your Crawl Space/ Basement for Under $100

About: Instagram: withered_perception

Instagram: withered_perception

Just purchased a new home.

Sadly builders in the 70's thought crawl space's where awesome!

Now days I have a 400 sqft useless half room thing that I just thrown junk into to get it out of the way.

I'm thinking an extra 400 sqft and a movie theater in this room would increase the homes value by just a hair (sarcasm).

Now every basement or crawlspace is different so before you start this call somebody who knows what their doing!

I happen to work for a company that deals with repairing concrete and supporting foundations.

This mean I know what the hell I'm doing!

If you screw this up expect to weaken the structure of your home which may make it unsafe or even uninhabitable.

You may also damage the foundation!

If this happens call me!

I'd be happy to take your money to fix your mistake!

Also Yes! I know you need a permit! I already have one, but this is not what this instructable is about.

Also your soil composition and moisture content may also be different from ours so this wont work for everyone!

Step 1: The Tool

Putting together the tool for success comes first.

Now, as I have said in the past. "I'm lazy"!

I like to work smarter and save money while doing it.

So this is the cheapest and simplest option I could come up with.

Considering the other options are expensive and/or labor intensive.

Step 2: Get Help

Have the boss help you gather supplies.

Step 3: Stuff-N-Things

Grab an Oneida Air Systems dust collector on Amazon for about $50.

An easy off bucket lid for $1.50 (A trash can will also work here. keep in mind a 30 gal trash can filled with dirt is very heavy!)

Stainless Steel bolts, washers and nylon lock nuts about $8

20' Vacuum foot hose $25

Step 4: Lazy Measuring

I know I could do this a million different ways.

I don't really care.

I had a blade in my pocket so thats what got used.

Yes, I have a hole saw. Yes, I have a rotary tool. Yes, I have a measuring tape. Yes, I have all the crap nessisary to do this the right way.

But again It's a damn piece of plastic.

You didn't think of it, so I don't really care how you would cut it. Nor do I care how it looks.

Leave angry comments below...

Step 5: Attaching

Drop the dust collector on top of the hole.

Center it and mark the holes.

Step 6: Drill

Stop here!

You shouldn't be doing any of this if you can't already figure this step out.

Step 7: Air Tight

Slap some E6000, calk, bubble gum or anything else you want on here.

I have tons of all of that stuff and more but E6000 was in the drawer below the work bench so there ya go...

Again angry comments below...

Step 8: Bolt

Tighten all the bolts.

Step 9: Cut Again

Again, Lazy... Knife in pocket...... blah... blah... blah...

Open the hole to the proper-ish diameter.

Angry comments below...

Step 10: Grit Prevention

This is gonna be a long process so I am sealing the crack between the bucket and the dust collector.

Again E6000, calk, hot glue, epoxy, JB weld... what ever you wanna do.

E6000 is flexible so it should be fine.

This will help to prevent more of a mess than this is already gonna be.

Step 11: Attach the Vac

Your shop vac goes into the top of the dust collector.

Your vac hose goes on the side and down the stairs to the crawl space. (buckets are usually lined up outside in the garage but wood is in the way right now. So I put it on the landing for the sake of getting some pictures.)

This eliminates the need to walk up and down the stairs with buckets.

Plus buckets are simple to get rid of and only about 63.8 lbs vs. a trash can which would be impossible to move once completely filled.

Ignore the yellow walls. I need to finish scraping ceilings before I paint.

Step 12: Start Sucking

Simply vacuum up the dirt (using a screwdriver if nessisary to dislodge chunks) from inside the walls and discard of the dirt in the bucket (in accordance with your local laws).

This is not a quick process by any means.

But with winter here I can get a good jump on it!

A 400 sqft crawl space @ 3 foot of depth would be 1,200 cubic feet.

Every 5 gal bucket is .668 Cubic feet.

1,200 ÷.668 = 1,796 buckets.

Each gal of sand weighing aprox 12.76 lbs x 5 gal = 63.80 lbs per bucket.


Saving me from having to carry 63.80 x 1,796 buckets = 114,584.80 lbs up the stairs and saving me 3,592 trips up and down the stairs.

Changing out the lid to buckets is way easier than walking up the stairs full bucket in hand.

Plus the wife has the timing down and swaps the top onto an empty bucket about every 10 min for me.

Every Saturday the guys come and empty the buckets into their truck for me and haul it off.

3 buckets a night after work and 10 on the weekend this should only take me a little over a year a year to dig out.

Now that's thiking with your dip stick Jimmy!

Step 13: Sweet Dreams

Tuck the cat in for a good nights sleep after a hard days work.

Instagram: withered_perception

Be the First to Share


    • First Time Author Contest

      First Time Author Contest
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Sculpt & Carve Challenge

      Sculpt & Carve Challenge



    7 days ago

    Can you post a video of you making it and using it. It's hard to see I am blind In one eye


    1 year ago

    Use a saws all with an old longdemo blade to loosen up the soil. I gave my old saws all to my wife for gardening. She loves it.


    2 years ago

    I have been sitting on the sidlines with doing this type of work but after ready your story it has inspired me to build a dirt collector of my own although I may have made a poor choice in choosing the diameter size for the Jose I choose 1-1/2 “ I think that I should go to 2” or higher


    Question 3 years ago

    After removing the dirt
    when \how did you know when to shore up the over head floor.
    not to mention the walls


    Question 3 years ago on Step 4

    So could you please post an update?
    Good - bad - or otherwise.
    Thank you!


    3 years ago

    Very cool ingenious idea sir!


    4 years ago

    Nice idea :)
    Any photos of progress/job done?


    4 years ago

    Per your request "Angry Comments"

    Excellent idea to extend the reach of a shop vac and isolate it from a bunch of dust and dirt and save lots of walking up and down stairs.


    4 years ago

    Wow you got the wheels spinning so hard I had to sit down for a while.

    Thanks a ton


    4 years ago

    I was going to say this project sucks but decided not to pun.
    A great story of thinking and doing. I like it.


    4 years ago

    You've learned well, the lessens of YouTube....no matter what the subject matter, add a cat to your presentation, and more people will like it.

    Put the cat in the thumbnail, and you might be one of the most viewed this month.


    4 years ago

    Those Dust Deputies are amazing. Since I made such a setup myself, and I didn't use bubblegum as a sealer not know which type gum to use, it is amazing to see near nothing in the vac and everything in the bucket.


    4 years ago

    Nice project. Thanks.