How to Dig Footings with a Mini Excavator in 3 Easy Steps

So, you’re looking to dig footings with a mini excavator. However, you’re not sure where to start. This guide is […]


So, you’re looking to dig footings with a mini excavator. However, you’re not sure where to start. This guide is for you.

Laying out the footings is the first step for any construction. While you can use different tools like a pickaxe or a shovel, a mini excavator makes your work much easier. With this machine, you can make excavations and dig footings of accurate size and depth.

Besides, you don’t even need advanced technical expertise to operate a mini excavator. Even beginners can use this machine and lay out foundations quickly.

Learn how to efficiently dig footings with a mini excavator by following these three easy steps for precise and quick excavation.

Key Takeaways

1. Preparation: Mark footing locations accurately before digging.

2. Digging: Use a mini excavator with a 24-inch bucket for precise excavation.

3. Finishing: Fine-tune the footing depth and flatness with manual tools for accuracy.

What is a Mini Excavator?

A mini excavator is a multipurpose machine with diverse applications in the construction industry. This lightweight and user-friendly machine is a basic necessity for every builder.

For instance, suppose you are constructing a home in an urban area with tight quarters. It would be best if you had light equipment like a mini excavator to dig footings and layout foundations. Additionally, the machine is extremely useful for breaking up concrete, digging holes, etc.

What are the Key Benefits of a Mini Excavator?

Whether you are a contractor or homeowner, a mini excavator is a must-have equipment, because:

  • It’s compact, squeezing into tight spots with no sweat.
  • Super user-friendly with those ergonomic controls.
  • No special license or permit hassle.
  • It’s as quiet as a mouse.
  • Got rubber tracks so it won’t slip or scratch up the ground.
  • You can haul it on a pickup truck, easily.
  • Comes with a bunch of attachments for whatever job you’ve got.”

What Can a Mini Excavator Do?

A mini excavator can perform a variety of functions, such as:

1. Digging up footings on construction sites

2. Demolish and pipe digging

3. Digging holes of various sizes (12 to 24 inches)

4. Concrete demolition, plumbing, and interior finishing

5. Sorting out recyclable material

6. Refurbishment and rehabilitation of old buildings

Read more:

What Are Mini Excavators Used For? A Comprehensive Guide

How To Dig A Hole With A Mini Excavator

How to Dig a Ditch with a Mini Excavator

How to Level Ground with a Mini Excavator

Three Steps to Dig Footings with a Mini Excavator

Follow these simple and easy steps to dig footings with a mini excavator and speed up your construction operations:

Step 1: Layout Footing Locations

Before digging footings, make sure you have marked the boundary line of your building. There must be no uncertainty with your building plans. It’d be better to consult an architect to know the exact sizes and locations of the footings.

Once the building plans are ready, mark the footings with stakes and draw a line between them. Next, make these footings more prominent by using marking paint, chalk, or similar material

If your future footings are clearly visible, remove the stakes. Don’t forget to validate your measurements between each footing before proceeding to the next stage. When all footings have been laid out, let’s move on to the fun part – digging.

Step 2: Digging the Footings with a Mini Excavator

A mini excavator is the best equipment to dig up footings. It is available for rent for just $1,000 per week. Plus, you don’t need high technical expertise to operate this machine.

1. Start with initial preparations. First, put the machine’s blade on the ground at its back. This step will give it stability during the digging process. Make sure you are facing the future trench.

2. Next, choose the bucket size. Experts recommend 24 inches to dig accurate footings on the ground. Place the bucket on the footing locations marked earlier.

3. Now, push the bucket teeth into the ground through the arm. Apply a little force so that the tooth digs up the ground smoothly.

4. Similarly, fold the arm to fill the bucket with dirt. Once the bucket is filled, fold it against the arm and raise it until the soil is deposited.

5. Eventually, bring it back to the ground and unfold the arm. Wait for a few seconds until the soil is released to your set location.

Step 3: Finishing Things Up

Digging performed with a mini excavator requires additional finishing for accurate footings. With this additional step, you can make the bottom of your foundation flat.

To do so, check the ground level on a rafter. Then, use a shovel and a pickaxe for fine-tuning. Tamper the soil until you get your desired measurements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the ideal size of the bucket size to dig footings?

A 24-inch bucket is ideal for digging footings on any ground.

2. What is the depth of excavation for footing?

The minimum depth of excavation should be 0.8 – 1m on sandy soil, 0.05 – 0.5m for rocky soil, and 0.9 – 1.6m for clayey soil.

3. What is the alternative to a mini excavator?

The best alternative to a mini excavator is a backhoe.

4. How fast can a mini excavator dig footings?

The speed of excavation depends on various factors, such as the model, the type of soil, and the bucket capacity. An expert operator can dig approximately 350 to 1,000 cubic yards per day with a mini excavator.

5. How do you dig footings with a mini excavator?

To dig footings with a mini excavator, mark the footing locations, use a 24-inch bucket for digging, and fine-tune the depth and flatness with manual tools for accurate results.


An accurate footing lays down the foundation of a strong building. When it comes to digging up the footings, a mini excavator is the preferred choice of professional builders.

A mini excavator is a lightweight, highly versatile development machine. It can perform various operations, ranging from digging footings, demolishing concrete, and rehabilitating buildings, to digging holes.

Besides, Boleo mini excavator is user-friendly and offers ergonomic controls. You can use this machine to dig footings and layout foundations with a little effort.

Related News

Do you have any questions?

Welcome to boleo. Evolve with the brightest!