How to Dig Under a Garage

When you decide to dig under a garage to enlarge a crawlspace or even add a basement, don’t expect a simple task. It entails a significant amount of physical labor, and you must be careful to retain the garage’s supports so the garage doesn’t fall on top of you. Ideally, digging under a garage is a job for a professional, but an industrious and determined do-it-yourselfer can achieve the task. The conventional way to dig under a garage is to jack up the structure and laboriously shovel soil and rocks, but a far easier way exists now.


Enlarging the space under a garage may be difficult but possible.

Things You’ll Need

• Vacuum excavator
• Truck with tailgate and bed
• Shovel
• Screen
• Wooden piling blocks

Set up a vacuum excavator according to the equipment’s instructions. Mount the vacuum excavator’s large, tank end to the tailgate of a truck in such a way that the tank’s contents will simply fall into the truck’s bed. Place the excavator’s hose end under your garage.

Shovel onto a screen soil and rocks from the places you want to enlarge under your garage. Remove by hand large rocks that do not pass through the screen. Such large materials could clog the vacuum excavator and delay your efforts.

Turn on the vacuum excavator, and use its nozzle end to vacuum the shoveled soil and small rocks from under your garage. The process is not much different from using a shop vacuum cleaner; it’s just on a far larger scale. All of the material will end up in the truck bed, ready for transport.

Place wooden piling blocks in the spaces that shoveling and vacuuming create on top of the existing pilings and in places where you want a little extra support. Do that task for every few feet of space you create by shoveling and vacuuming. Crisscross each level of pilings. For example, make one level of wooden piling blocks parallel to your body when you are in front of the supporting wall, and make the next level perpendicular to your body. When that crisscross technique is used, a particular piling block that shifts will not fall out of place and take the rest of the wall with it.

Remove the vacuum excavator’s tank end from the truck when the truck’s bed is full. Drive the truck to your disposal site, and shovel the soil and rocks out of the bed.

Repeat the steps as necessary until you remove all that you want to remove from under the garage.

Tips & Warnings

 Vacuum excavators are available for rent and sale at most building supply stores.

 Consider consulting a construction professional about where to dig under the garage so that existing supports won’t be disturbed and to determine other dangers particular to the situation.

 Before beginning the excavation project under your garage, check your area’s building codes for depth restrictions that are in place.

Original Source

Garage Door Opener Won’t Close

Problem: Garage door opener automatically reverses as soon as it closes, with no obstruction in its path.

Background: All garage door openers must have a reversing mechanism. If your opener doesn’t have one, replace it. If the opener reverses and refuses to keep the door closed, the “sensitivity,” “open,” or “close” knobs may be out of adjustment. Important: This safety feature should be tested regularly so the opener closes the door, but does not exert dangerous force which could lead to serious injury or death.

What to do: First set the “close” knob so the door makes full contact with the floor. To test the sensitivity adjustment, open the door and place a 1-inch thick piece of wood flat on the floor in the door’s path at about the center of the door. If you don’t have a piece of wood 1-inch thick, use a 2×4. The door should reverse and open the door when it strikes the wood. To test the force of the opener, repeat the test with a corrugated carton under the center of the door. The opener should reverse the door when it contacts the carton without crushing it. If, after experimenting with adjustments, the opener doesn’t reverse readily, have it re paired or replaced.

Special advice: The sensitivity knob should be adjusted, beginning at the minimum pressure setting, so that the door will close without reversing. The door should reverse within 2 seconds after hitting an obstruction. Should the sensitivity need to be raised to maximum pressure set ting, do not use the opener and have the system checked by a technician for problems such as worn tracks or broken springs.

Helpful hint: Discuss garage-door safety with children. Explain the danger of being trapped under the door, and do not let them play with or use the transmitter or push-button switch. Teach them never to play under or near an open garage door. The push button should be at least 5 feet from the floor so it is out of children’s reach. Always keep the door in sight until it completely closes.

Garage Door Opener Quits

Problem: The automatic opener does not open the garage door.

Background: An electronic garage door opener may not activate be cause its power supply is interrupted, its antenna is out of position, its transmitter is defective, its remote battery is expired, or its push-button switch inside the garage is defective. First make sure the unit’s receptacle inside the garage is receiving power, and that the opener is plugged in.

What to do: To determine if the transmitter or its battery is bad, simply see if the opener operates when the push button inside the garage is activated. If it works with the push button, next check to see that the unit’s antenna is not bent out of position. Try replacing the transmitter’s battery. If the transmitter still doesn’t work, its button may be defective. Try cleaning it with electrical contact cleaner. If that doesn’t correct the problem, you will most likely need to replace it. Conversely, if the transmitter works but the push button inside the garage doesn’t, turn off the power and clean the push button with electrical contact cleaner. If that doesn’t fix it, turn off all power and replace the switch simply by removing and detaching the 2 wires that are under the screws on the back, and reinstalling a new switch.

Special advice: When a power failure traps your car inside the garage, pull the emergency release mechanism located on the opener track. Usually, this will be a cord hanging down between the opener motor and the door. Pull the disconnect cord down and away from the door to release it. Important: If you disengage the emergency release during a power failure, be sure to also unplug the garage door opener. After the power is back on, pull on the emergency re lease again to re-engage the opener. Make sure all drivers in your house hold know how to use the emergency release mechanism.

Helpful hint: For routine adjustments, and consult the opener owner’s manual. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, contact the manufacturer and request a copy for your specific model. The opener model number should be on the back of the power unit.