Dirt removal

After a couple of quotes ranging from $3000 to $9000, we booked in an excavation service to remove the laundry slab, the dirt underneath and the dirt in the bathroom. The guys turned up nice and early as they said and got stuck into it. The job was a mostly manual one as they had to use shovels and picks to move the dirt. It was lucky that Anthony has an array of tools as they used our jack hammer and angle grinder to break up the slab and all the sandstone.

The job took them 2 days with 3 men on site. We are happy that we decided to hire someone in for this job as it would have taken several weekends for Anthony to do this on his own, it was money well spent. 

Next steps, we’ll be digging holes to be inspected. Anthony will need to measure and dig up 450x450x450 square holes, roughly 7 of them. Once complete we can get them inspected, hopefully they will pass and we can then pour concrete and add bearers and joists. Then the biggest hurdle to come is knocking the walls down.

For now, the family has to walk over a bridge to get to the bathrooms. A little awkward, but I have to say, the old toilet that sat in the middle of the extension has finally left the building!


Grass is greener on this side

Today we focused on the backyard. Since we won’t be digging out the dirt in the house, we decided we would organise an order for top soil and turf. I contacted Ace landscape supplies and ordered top soil and Sapphire buffalo, a soft leaf grass with 70% shade tolerance.

The order arrived just after 12pm, which was handy as my son had soccer in the morning. We got stuck into it, but juggled the kids at the same time, which made it tricky. Anthony had to cut down some of the pipes out the back as the plumbers didn’t set the heights correctly. A trip to Reece plumbing meant we could make the adjustments we needed. So after fixing the pipes we put the top soil on top and then layed the turf. We love the result and just happy to not see dirt out the back. We are yet to put in the sleepers and set up our garden bed. 

As lovely as the backyard is starting to look I actually ordered more soil and turf then needed, so we now have an excess of landscaping material sitting on our driveway. We have decided to not waste and will move it to the front of the house. 

We are awaiting more quotes at this stage for the excavation, but one is looking good and we’re likely to go ahead, so hopefully we will be able to work on the interiors again in the next few weekends.


With an excess of rolls of turf and top soil, we decided to extend the grass to the shed and add some pavers. Originally I had ideas to put crushed gravel or pebbles but we thought we might put the grass to better use. We ended up going with stepping pavers to make up the walkway. So today has been about finishing this area. We decided to not go past the stairs since there will be a lot of foot traffic when we get more tradies in. Eventually I want to also place a large pot at the end of the walkway,  with a tall plant to provide additional screening.

There is still 9 or so rolls of turf remaining and some soil, which Anthony will move to the front of the house. Luckily we do have a place for it.


The other side

We managed to hire the brick saw from Kennards for the day and had a lot of success with it. It cost under $200 to hire and did a brilliant job at not only slicing through the bricks but leaving a minimal amount of brick dust as it had a vacuum attached. Once the cuts were made my husband continued to remove brick by brick again, while I continued laying some of the bricks removed from the walls to the pavement on the side of the house.

We both then tackled removing one of the old bathroom walls to reveal the other side. It was difficult as the previous builders had used cement rather than mortar between bricks, so it required a lot more effort to break down. There was also chicken wire to tackle which must of been used for the cement render. It has been pretty amazing to stand back and see how large the opening is and the potential size of our family room/kitchen and it will become more evident when we knock the other walls down.

There were a few weekend breaks that we had due to our son’s 8th birthday and other family events, but when we finally had a free weekend, we made plans to remove the old bath tub, vanity and shaving cabinet. With old houses you never know what’s lurking behind, hidden by walls or floors, so it was a surprise when we found a pile of rubble used as the retaining wall for the bath tub. When we finally removed all the rubbish under the tub we hit the concrete slab.

My husband proceeded to use the jack hammer and broke up the slab, which itself was not poured very well. Under all that concrete we found more dirt and rubble, so what has been holding the floor up in the old bathroom is a mound of approx 3.5 cubic metres of dirt and a concrete slab on top. It’s an interesting find, but a realised hassle as we now have to try to excavate the dirt out in order to build footings. 

The same issue lies under the larger slab that needs removing, which is where the old laundry was. This is now a huge challenge for us to now try and remove all this dirt, approx 8 cubic metres in total, without a machine. We have been contacting various excavation services to give us a hand, but I am anxious about using a tradies considering all our past experiences. Also the cost is naturally going to be in the thousands as it requires manual labouring and man power to shift this dirt out of the house and to the tip.

While we wait on quotes, in the mean time we organised a rubbish removalist to come and pick up our rubbish left from removing  the walls. We thought we would spend the extra money and save us from another weekend of shifting demolition rubbish to another 4 tonne skip. It happened very quickly, all done in a day. We hired Fast Eddy’s removalists to do the job and got a competitive price and spent $200 more than if we hired a skip. I don’t think it’s something we would do often, but it certainly was nice to see the rubbish gone in a day. It has meant that we have been able to arrange for the delivery of top soil and turf for the weekend. I’m excited to know that we will have grass in the backyard this weekend.

We will continue to wait on quotes and hopefully settle on one to get the dirt out of the subfloor, this means we’ll be able to start on digging the 5 extra pier pads and look at joining the old joists to the new.