How To Dig Under A Sidewalk?

Setting up your residential drainage system is not an easy task at all. You need to know a lot of things to build it well enough to prevent water from damaging the structure or foundation of the house. In particular, it is necessary to build drainage systems for yards and gardens. Sometimes you even need to run pipes under sidewalks or driveways to drain water. In this post, ways on how to dig under a sidewalk will be provided to help with your drainage system setup.

How To Dig Under A Sidewalk?

Purpose Of Running Pipes Under The Sidewalk

The poor drainage will make damage to your house and yard, especially in the rainy months. In addition to the channel drain, sometimes you even need underground pipes to help with drainage. Inevitably, you may have to dig under sidewalks or driveways. And this is the most challenging work in the project.

But how do you tell if your house has a poor drainage system? If there are any of the following cases in your garden, you should pay attention to them. They are the signs of poor drainage, which will damage your house and garden if left untreated.

  1. The topsoil shifts every time it rains. This is a obvious sign to show that the drainage in your yard doesn’t work well. It’s because of poor drainage that water sits on top of the soil and scour the topsoil.
  2. There is soil erosion in your garden. What causes the soil erosion in your yard is commonly the poor drainage. When drainage is poor and the soil has absorbed enough water, the remaining water will soak and weaken the soil. As time pass by, bald patches start to appear on the lawn and you can feel the soil dropped. Even worse, this can cause the sidewalks to collapse when it occurs around the sidewalks.
  3. Your wooden floor is sticking up. If you does not have an appropriate drainage system in your yard, it can lead to soil erosion around your house’s foundation. Excess moisture in your house’s foundation can cause the wooden floor popping out or warping.

Is It Easy To Tunnel Under Sidewalk?

There is no doubt that you can dig under a sidewalk by some means with ease. But keep in mind, it is the type and composition of the soil that determines the difficulty of the project. In fact, boring under the sidewalks means digging a passage through the soil to house the drain pipes. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is determine the type of soil. Harder soil like rocky soil is harder to dig and may require special tools.

One more thing you should consider is that the sidewalk is always 3 to 4 inches thick. And below the sidewalk is another few inches of gravel path. Both these determine the depth you will dig. This is also an important element that you should take into consideration before you dig under the sidewalk.   

How To Dig Under A Sidewalk?

Method 1: PVC Pipe Needle

You can quickly dig under the sidewalk with this method if you have a backhoe.

1)First, Dig a trench perpendicular to the sidewalk. The depth of the trench should be determined before the project.

2)Then cut one side of the PVC pipe to make it look like the below picture and position it under the trench with its chisel point towards the sidewalk. Use the backhoe to push the pipe under the sidewalk.

3)Finally, using the chain that was attached to the pipe to pull it out, you will have the perfect passage parallel under the sidewalk with the same diameter as the pipe.

PVC Pipe Needle

Method 2: PVC Pipe Plus Water Pressure

Tools To Be Used

  • PVC Pipes (Its length depends on the width of the sidewalk and the distance you would like to drain.)
  • Garden Hose (You will use this to run water through the PVC pipes.)
  • Jet Nozzle (The principle is to make use of water pressure to push the pipes.)
  • Hose To Pipe Adapter (Connect the PVC pipes and the garden hose. Choose the right adapter according the actual situation.)

Some Preparation Work

You need to dig 2 trenches on both sides of the sidewalk (generally 6-12 inches minimum). Make sure they are a few feet far away from the sidewalk or driveway to allow the backflow of water.

Assemble the PVC pipes with the garden hose by using the hose to pipes adapter. Connect this part to the jet nozzle. Make sure you have the kit tightly assembled. And then you can begin your project of digging under the sidewalk.

Get To Start

Wear eye protection or that something may be sent flying into your eyes by the flushing water.

Fit the pipe into the trench and keep it parallel to the bottom of the trench and the sidewalk. Stab the nozzle of the tunneling tool to the soil and turn on the water. At first, the dirt might clog the jet nozzle. Don’t worry and leave the nozzle to flush water for a few seconds until the soil becomes loose.

After the water pressure loosens the soil, you can begin to pull back the pipe and rip it into the soil again. Repeat this movement until a passage is totally completed. And you have finished the project.

PVC Pipe Plus Water Pressure

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