Think It’s Crazy to Try Excavation in Winter? Think Again.

Winter temperatures are less than ideal, but daytime sun, and some innovative equipment, can turn your excavation project into a reality.

It’s no secret that most homeowners contemplating an excavation on their properties prefer to start the project in spring or summer. As the thinking goes, in late autumn and winter, the ground is colder and therefore more difficult to dig using conventional digging methods. But a skilled contractor knows that there is always a way around (and through!) frozen ground. One thing to keep in mind is that while winter temperatures dip at night, the daytime sun will always warm the top layers of soil. Contractors also have cutting-edge equipment at their disposal to ensure that your winter excavation timelines can be met:

Rotary cutters chip away layers of solid frozen ground using hydraulic rotational force is sometimes a viable option. Depending on how solid the material is, rotary cutters produce small spoils and work very slowly, especially in deeply frozen ground.

Hydraulic rippers with a hydraulic attachment are especially effective for excavating frozen ground due to vibrations creating space between the ripper tool and the frozen material. A relatively new technology in the equipment sector that has been proven to outperform other hydraulic attachments significantly in frozen ground removal.

Heating the ground with a self-contained heater is effective in closed or small excavation spaces.

How Do Hydraulic Rippers Work?

Hydraulic rippers produce high frequency vibrations that impact into the ground and the ripper shank lifts up the frozen ground from below the frost. The ripper hammers and vibrates into the ground to below the frost line and gives the excavator the ability to lift up the frozen ground and shave off incremental pieces of frozen material.

The wedge shape of the ripper arm is also a major factor in effectively removing frozen ground. As the weight of the machine and the vibration and impact of the ripper drives the tool into the frost, its wedge shape actually splits the frost apart, allowing for easier breakup and removal.

Some other factors to consider for winter excavation:

  1. Contractors have greater availability during the winter because most people hold off projects until the following spring or summer. This means more time focused on your project and a speedier completion time.
  2. The winter weather causes many businesses to slow down causing rates to be lower. So, you’re able to save more money in the end.
  3. With less work being done in winter, city or township permits are easier and faster to obtain.

If your home renovation project requires tearing your way through thick frozen ground this winter, Long Hill Contracting, LLC can help with all of your excavation needs. Our team of knowledgeable excavation experts, coupled with state-of-the-art equipment can deliver a successful project on time and within budget. We have plenty of experience with frozen ground excavation and are here to help answer any questions you may have. If you would like more information about our excavation methods and pricing, please give Long Hill Contracting a call at (908) 533-4319.

We come from three generations in the construction industry with over 30 years of experience in civil construction; honesty and trustworthiness is a virtue instilled in our family. This is the model of how we do business.