-> that in much of the USA, it will not be possible to get permission to
-> build a pit in a garage. You might want to check with whomever in
-> your community approves construction plans and inspects construction
-> for adherence to construction laws. At the least, you need to make
-> sure there is adequate ventilation to remove toxic fumes and drainage
-> to prevent hazardous substances from getting into the soil or city
I'm glad the poor guy didn't ask for a screwdriver; he would probably
have got a long lecture on screwdriver safety.
Unlike having a swimming pool dug, an indoor pit is limited to what you
can do with a backhoe and hand tools. If you're very lucky the local
topsoil is deep enough to simply dig a pit.
Many areas only have a few feet of topsoil, with rock underneath. If
the rocks aren't too big they can be excavated intact, otherwise they'll
have to be removed with rigging. It's probably not practical to use
explosives to break them up in this situation.
Some areas have loose or sandy soil and the sides of the pit will cave
in when the hole gets more than a few feet deep. You'd have to use
shoring of some sort to hold the walls out as you dug.
In my particular area you hit ground water at about two feet. The hole
will quickly fill in unless you keep it pumped - an ordinary sump pump
will work - but you will have to pour waterproof concrete to keep the
hole dry. Small cracks forming in the concrete may require use of a
Concrete block with rebar walls or sturdy treated lumber shoring would
be a good idea no matter what kind of soil you have. The stuff tends to
shift over time, and you wouldn't want it to start caving in under your
By the time you add up the materials and labor for a pit, one of those
$1500-$2000 above-ground lifts starts looking very attractive. Some of
the lifts are even portable, which means if you ever move you can take
it with you, or even sell it. It's hard to sell a hole in the ground.
Coming up next: "The dangers of lead poisoning, and why you probably
shouldn't eat your car's battery!"
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