Deck Project: Weekend 2

The Deck Project marches on. Last weekend I managed to round up a few trusty friends (Jay, Mike, Pyg), and dig the 4 holes required to pour concrete footings for the deck.

Town of LaGrange code calls for 42″ holes, to prevent footings from shifting under frost heaves. Now, as we found out later, digging 42″ down through dirt is about a 2 hr task for 2 guys to do, swapping off. However, my house is built on a hill. And that hill is there because of giant rocks. Not just boulders, but giant, span across your property, rock. One of the houses on the way up to ours is actually built into the rock. They have no dirt in their yard at all, just an acre of rock.

We’re a little better off. There is just enough dirt on our rock so that trees can grow, and you can plant shallow gardens. Depending on where you dig in our yard, sometimes you get a couple feet of dirt, sometimes just a few inches.

Of course, all of this was learned in gory detail this weekend. The first hole we dug, we managed to hit rock 6 inches down, but decided we could get through it with my 6 foot bar. 7 hours later, with 3 people working on it, we had gotten to 35″ and the hole was no longer moving downwards at all. The second hole was started about 1/2 way through that process, which we got about 24″ before there was no movement. Just before we were going to give up for the day, Pyg showed up, and we got to try out the auger on holes 3 and 4, which had a chance for having dirt in them. Hole 3 got 8″, then stalled the auger. Hole 4 got 24″ before it stalled it out. We then declared it a Saturday, and let our bones rest over night.

On Sunday after noon we managed to get through Hole 4 pretty quickly, and actually get it to 42″. Hole 3 dug to about 34″ before we declared it dead.

Pictures included for posterity.


Saturday morning, all idealistic.


Hey, this will be fine.


Hmmm… this is mostly rock.


Look what came out of the hole.


Not sure hole 2 is moving any more.


I can get it, I know I can.


Peppy in the hole.


It’s actually easier to scrape out the holes than dig them out. That should have been our first sign to stop.


Hole 4. I guess this thing actually works if you have dirt.


42″ == 2/3 of a Jay


Look at all that rock.


Good enough! Hope the inspector thinks so as well.

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