Digging Through Granite is Tough Work

Nearing completion of the trenching for my footers. I need one more trench down the middle for plumbing.

I will be using the big pile of dirt in the background for earthen floors with radiant heat in them.

Footer Trenches

One other shot. I spent the last few days digging the remaining sixty or so feet of trench that I could not dig with the backhoe. This section runs through solid granite, so I spent several days with a hammer chipper getting to depth.

Here is the end result.

completed trench through granite

To dig through the granite, I used a Hilti TE 1000-AVR breaker, running off my generator. The specs say it weighs 27.6 lbs, the chisel bit brings it closer to 40 lbs. The Hilti is an expensive tool, but it has vibration suppression built in.

For anyone who has spent a day on a vibrating power tool only to have their hands be numb for several hours afterwards, that’s a real health benefit. My hands are still sore, though, no getting around how hard that job is. I’ll be glad when I’ve finished the cleanup of the trenches and this phase of the build is over.

As you can see by the position of the tractor, I used the backhoe to scoop out most of the material once I got it broken up enough. It took several passes to get 18" deep. I used the wheelbarrow to cart the material away. The tractor is just big enough to straddle the trench as it is being dug, but moving it is tricky, so the wheelbarrow was the choice.

I highly recommend a two wheeled steel bottom wheelbarrow for this kind of work. Or a motorized cart with a bed if you’ve got one.

digging through granite