What’s the Difference Between Excavating and Trenching?

August 16, 2019 3:56 pm Published by Writing Staff Leave your thoughts

Excavating and trenching both refer to removing earth to create a hole in the ground. It’s the size, shape and depth of the hole that determines whether the activity is classified as trenching or excavating. Both are difficult, demanding and often dangerous projects that should always be left to the professionals.

For a trenching contractor in Canyon Lake, TX and surrounding areas, it’s also critical to have the tools for the job. That includes having the skills and know-how to get the job done right the first time, like Countryside Construction Inc. does every day. Read on to find out why these two specialties are useful for contractors to know about. 

Size and shape

Excavation involves creating a cavity in the earth’s surface via human action. This means an excavation can be any size and shape. By contrast, a trench is a specialized part of excavation that involves creating a narrow space surface cavity. The bottom line is that all trenches are excavations, but not all excavations cavities are trenches.

Oftentimes, trenches are used to avoid striking underground elements such as plumbing, utility lines and foundation footings.


Power trenchers are used for larger jobs. These come in both walk-behind and ride-on varieties. They use a digging blade that’s similar to a large chainsaw. Also used on larger jobs are tractor-mounted backhoes that include dirt-scooping buckets. A crawler-type machine that has large buckets may also be used to move a significant amount of dirt at one time.


Some of these jobs are dangerous and many require safety equipment and precautions. In fact, according to OSHA, trenching and excavation account for numerous job-related fatalities every year. This is a result of hazards such as cave-ins, slip and falls, falling loads, hitting utility lines and hazardous atmospheres.

For trenching, OSHA requires that any trench except for those consisting of stable rock five feet deep must include a protective system. This protective system must be installed by a qualified agent who can identify rock and soil composition. 
Are you searching for trusted excavating contractors in Canyon Lake & the Texas Foothills? Choose Countryside Construction Inc. From site surveys and soil testing, to custom system design and development, to excavation and earthmoving, we’ll see your new system installation through from start to finish.

We keep everything running smoothly from day one. That’s how we’ve earned a reputation for completing jobs on time and on budget. Learn more by giving us a call right now and scheduling a time for an estimate!

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