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Digging Post Holes In Winter

 
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:12 PM   #1
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Digging Post Holes In Winter


hey guys i live in burlington, ontario, and have been asked by a number of clients if i can either fix their deck or build one int he winter and i keep tellin them i cannot dig posts in winter because i strongly believe that the will move come spring and ill have more work to do fixing them.
Any thoughts on this?
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:15 PM   #2
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


They wont move if you do the footers below the frost line. That's why we establish a frost line. Digging the holes is the hard part in the winter.

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Old 02-02-2014, 09:16 PM   #3
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


You're digging below the frost line to pour a footing so it doesn't really matter as far as the heaving goes. Concrete needs to be protected from the cold during, and after, the pour which is the real issue. Precast could be a good solution for your dilemma.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:35 PM   #4
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


Install below the frost line and you are good to go.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:40 PM   #5
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


I've been using these almost exclusively for decks for the past 5 yrs. as stated, digging the hole is the hard part.

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Old 02-02-2014, 09:43 PM   #6
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


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I've been using these almost exclusively for decks for the past 5 yrs. as stated, digging the hole is the hard part.

http://redifooting.com
Cool, they're right near me. I'd never seen that company before. I only use 6x6 so it might not be a good fit for me but "Way to go RI!".
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:14 AM   #7
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


The redi footing looks fine. Also alot of people use "cookies." Which are pre-cast concrete.
As far as moving, I don't see a problem either. The footing is below frost.
For concrete curing time. I still don't see a problem. The ground is 50 some degrees. The concrete will be down in the 50 degree from now on. It will have plenty of time to cure. Just make sure you back fill some after you pour. Even a little will provide insulation so the top of the concrete won't be exposed to the elements.
Like others have said, drilling/digging the holes will be the harder part. Even frost teeth on a auger will be slow going.
You could also run heaters in the areas of the holes.
By the time you do this, it should raise the price of the deck considerably. Fuel cost and labor to monitor the heaters.
Of course it may be better than not working. Depending on your situation.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:28 AM   #8
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


Biggest problem I see drilling holes in this weather is to even be able to get the hole dug. I have tried to do it in the past with even a auger on a Bobcat and it was a pain to do. Depending on the winter our frost line can be down to 4-5 feet just no way it is worth trying to dig in that stuff.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:52 AM   #9
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


Wish I would have taken pictures the other day. We set all our poles except 8 on a gable wall before freeze up. Well last week we just drilled those 8 holes. 45 minutes per hole with an 18" anger through 42" of frost. We had my gehl lift pushing down on the auger attached to the skid steer. Lots of down force required otherwise you just spin on top of the frost.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:05 AM   #10
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


I have only had to do this once in the past. Used a jack hammer to get through the frost line and then dug the rest of it like normal. Just make sure you finish the hole the same day. If you try to insulate it and finish it the next day, it will be frozen and you will need to jack hammer it again
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:40 PM   #11
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


I've done hundred of them on dozens of different decks through the years. The "secret" is to cover the ground with insulating blankets/straw/etc... long before you need to dig the wholes. Frozen turf is actually a bonus when it comes to damage from equipment........
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:35 AM   #12
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


Interesting product the only problem is that PVC piping breaks down. Yes that's right schedule 40, 80 PVC main water lines are breaking down into your water supply. So what will happen to the PVC footing. Of course the PVC manufactures don't want this known but it comes directly from the guy replacing the city's PVC water mains. I have seen 80 that has been worn paper thin. Scary that are water contains PVC. So when your deck collapses the company can blame the PVC manufacture. Perfect not my fault. Good product.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:51 AM   #13
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


Move to Texas and there is no frost line.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:15 PM   #14
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


thanks guys, all the feedback is much appreciated. and if work is scarce enough at least i know i can still do footings in the winter.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:49 PM   #15
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


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For concrete curing time. I still don't see a problem. The ground is 50 some degrees. The concrete will be down in the 50 degree from now on. It will have plenty of time to cure. Just make sure you back fill some after you pour.
If the frost is down to 40" and you install a 48" post then the ground is no where near 50 degrees.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:21 PM   #16
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


The frost level by code is just the maximum depth of unproyected soil that is needed to not cause structural damage to a building over a long period - 30 to 50 years annual occurrence period. Snow is a great insulator. I have dug down through 12" of snow to set surveying pins and there was only 4" of frost after a month of -0F to -30F lows for more than a month previously.

Here, some utility contractors will lay a strip of charcoal down and keep it going for a day or two and then cover with blankets to keep in the heat and use the lower thermal inertia/mass of the soil to soften things up a bit. If they are lucky, they will get some snow for additional insulation. the biggest problem is having no snow early in the winter since we have "brown Christmases" about 25% of the time.

When it comes to frost heaving for a post/cylindrical foundation, the ground freezes from the top down and pulls the post or foundation upward. A smooth surface (like PVC or a Sonotube) gives little for the frozen soil to grab on to. Rougher surfaces like had dug or drilled holes without and perviouse drainage material material will heave much quicker, especially if hand dug.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:25 PM   #17
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


Funny... Plow just took out my mailbox and this topic is on my recent posts.... Post hole I will be digging soon.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:39 PM   #18
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


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Funny... Plow just took out my mailbox and this topic is on my recent posts.... Post hole I will be digging soon.
Just make one in a 5 gallon bucket to get through the winter
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:00 PM   #19
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


I live in Maine where the ground freezes solid and the frost goes deep.
I found a local company that comes to the site and sets helical posts in the exact location you request.
I budget around $150 each
They usually take less than 4 hours to set up and complete the task
Once they're gone, I can start building on them immediately. No waiting for Frozen Crete to cure
There's no mess with loose dirt because there's no digging just drilling.
I'll never dig another hole, slop redimix in a wheelbarrow and bust my butt digging in rocky soils.

Check them out. They're located in Canada
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:19 PM   #20
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Re: Digging Post Holes In Winter


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Just make one in a 5 gallon bucket to get through the winter
She wouldn't allow that.

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