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What are The Different Types of Excavation

There is much more to excavation than many might realise and if you are in need of having a construction site excavated then it can help to determine which excavation method can suit your project. There are many different types of excavation to choose from and they all offer something different. Therefore, if you select the wrong excavation method then this could cause your project to become impossible to complete. In addition to this, it could damage underground utilities in the area. So, let us help you decide which excavation type is right for your project.

Types of Excavation (By Material and Purpose)

Underground Excavation

This type of excavation takes place underground which means that different equipment is required to carry out the work. This can mean that it is used in the construction of tunnels, subways, canals and underground passages.

Topsoil Excavation

As you would expect, this type of excavation method involved removing the topsoil. It is designed to help aid the removal of any topsoil that would not be suitable for structural loads and this includes the likes of soil and vegetation. This is one of the most widely used methods.

Sand and Fine Soils Excavation

This is considered to be one of the basic forms of excavation and will involve the removal of fine materials which can include sand. This is often used to move material after it has been packaged or it might just be removed from the area.

Cut and Fill Excavation

This method of excavation also goes by the name of stripping excavation. This is used by construction companies to work on large areas by clearing them and preparing them accordingly. The process will involve the removal of sand, rock and topsoil to ensure that the area is stable enough to work on. These are often large projects and so, it requires large machinery such as excavators and back-hoes.

Rock Excavation

This is considered to be one of the most challenging forms of excavation. This involves removing the likes of rocks and other debris in the soil using the right equipment such as drills and explosives. This will ensure that the breaking up and the removal of material is handled in the right way.

Roadway Excavation

There are several different purposes to roadway excavation and roadways. It is often the case that some materials are excavated and then removed to another location so that the road can be constructed. However, excavated materials can then be used in the construction of the roadway to help build embankments.

Muck Excavation

This process of excavation involves the use of liquid with dirt to create a material that is sloppy and wet. This method can prove challenging where there are rivers or lakes nearby. Material is collected using equipment such as diggers and vacuum excavators, enabling excavation companies to spread out the muck in a new location or by allowing it to dry.

Footing Excavation

Footing excavation is used in the construction of structures such as bridges and buildings so that the load is spread, helping to prevent the structure from collapsing. Once the site has been graded, the footing excavation will take place and is known to be one of the more precise forms of excavation.

Earth Excavation

This process involves excavating earth that is located beneath the topsoil. This method is commonly used to lay out foundations and it can also be used for drainage to help remove water. These kinds of projects are large and so, suction excavators and dump trucks will be used to take care of the job and remove material easily.

Liquid Excavation

It is common for this to be confused with muck excavation but this is not the case. This type of excavation involves the removal of liquid from an area. Therefore, it is commonly used on small ponds or lakes while it is also used to remove water following heavy rain. Machines such as function excavators and vacuum trucks are commonly used for the process.


The removal of underwater sediment build-up is known as dredging and without it, boats and ships would find it difficult to navigate channels. Over the course of time, sediment can build up and that can make it difficult for construction projects to proceed while making it dangerous for vehicles.

Trench Excavation

A trench is known to be longer than it is deep and this method of excavation is often used to prepare for the replacement of underground utilities as well as foundations. There are many factors that will depend on whether this method is used such as the size and materials. Therefore, it can change from one project to the next and should be managed with caution.

Drainage/Structure Excavation

Drainage excavation involves moving water or other liquids from one area to another. This helps to reduce flooding and the risk of blockages. This is often used on drainage ditches and storm drains. As they are commonly small, they can prove challenging to access and so, accurate and precise forms of excavation are required. As a result, it is common to use handheld tools to carry out the work.

Channel Excavation

Where channels and bodies of flowing water exist, a problem can arise with the buildup of sediment. Therefore, channel excavation helps to remove the sediment to help aid the flow of water and reduce the chance of flooding.

Borrow Excavation

While excavation, in general, involves the removal of materials, borrow excavation does the opposite. This is because materials such as gravel and soil are removed from a borrow pit and then placed in another location. The materials are often used for filling, mixing or grading along with other materials such as concrete.

Basement Excavation

As the name suggests, the type of excavation involves the removal of an area beneath a property. This can be a complex method as it ensures that the work is completed with accuracy. The required equipment can alter from project to project and this will depend on the basement size, the size of the property and the size of the opening.

Bridge Excavation

When it comes to the construction of bridges expert excavation is vital as this will ensure that the foundations are solid and that there are no risks in the future. The stability of a bridge could be impacted by certain materials and so, these need to be removed to ensure the project remains on track. This will involve the use of large machinery such as diggers and excavators.

How to Choose The Right Excavation for Hire?

If you are looking to choose the right excavation company then it can help to understand the specifics of your project. Once you have this information, you can then decide which company fits your needs best.