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Old 04-05-2007, 02:50 PM   #1
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Our Deck is sinking!!


We had a deck built (to code) not quite 3 yrs ago. This deck was specifically built so we could eventually add a sunroom on top. My husband noticed a couple weeks ago that one corner actually sank down 8"!

We called the original builder and asked why something like this could have happened and how we can fix it. He blamed it on where our gutters were and said the water just runs down to our posts and it made it sink. He also gave us an estimate of $3,800 to fix it!

Shouldn't he have looked at the ground surroundings and noticed where our gutter system was (and maybe recommend us to put a pipe out 12-20 feet from the house - away from the deck) and taken into consideration that our neighbors behind us are on a hill and the snow, rain, etc rolls down into our yard?

Any help is appreciated!! Thanks.

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Old 04-05-2007, 03:15 PM   #2
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Our Deck is sinking!!


I hope your deck is accessible from the bottom, else you will need to remove a few planks. You will need to get access to the bottom, and jack up the sunk area. Then, you'll need to install a new post.

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Old 04-05-2007, 04:26 PM   #3
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Our Deck is sinking!!


Hi Handyman...thanks for the advise. Yah, that's what our original builder is charging us $3,800 for! Just hard to swallow for a deck that seems pretty new.

The deck is acccessible to the ground. It's actually 2-layers. The top layer is for the sunroom & the bottom is for BBQ'ing.

Just afraid of this happening again once it's fixed and the room is on top!
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Old 04-05-2007, 04:52 PM   #4
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Our Deck is sinking!!


Obviously, the contractor may be good with wood and didn't have the foggiest idea of what he was doing when it came to supporting things. I would not trust him for any repairs and would take a closer look at the contract and his license. The licensing and permit people may be able to help you.

The drain pipe is just a lame excuse. You need a lot of water at the bottom of the concrete to cause an 8" settlement.

Just replacing a post will not do it. You need more depth and width of the concrete for the support.

How deep is the concrete under the post? I hope he did not use the phony concrete post blocks.
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Old 04-05-2007, 04:56 PM   #5
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Our Deck is sinking!!


You mentioned snow, so will assume frost, Your footers for deck post should be at min. 4ft down, building code guy should have inspected for this. Here what I do and maybe its overkill but I sleep soundly at night. using old plywood or wafer board I make a box 8 to 10 inchs deep and anywheres from 12's inch square to upwards of 24 inchs sq depending on the load its going to support, I then put a top on it and cut a hole dead center for the sona tube to fit into, turning box on its side fasten the sona tube with a couple of sheet rock screws so that the bottom of sona tube is flush with bottom of the lid, just enough to hold in place until you get this in postition. Then simply fill with concrete, fairly wet, but not to much. I like a 3 to 1 mix if I do from scratch if I buy the premix like to put a shovel of potland in each batch just for good measure, almost forgot before you pour make sure your form is firmly in place and plumb, surround your form with dirt all the was to the top this will hold everything in place until concrete has set. As you are pouring, take an old broom handle and fasten a small block of wood on the end, use this as a plunger to make sure your concrete gets in and fills all the spaces. To fasten the deck to your new footer you will likly use a j-bolt, as a finishing touch I round up the top a little so that water will run off. This box fasten to the sona tube give a large footer for your deck to rest on.
Hope this helps
Gary
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:37 PM   #6
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Our Deck is sinking!!


Stacey, as a contractor site conditions are important to me so my finished product will look good for years. I would assume that your contractor feels the same way. Some things are just beyond the control of a contractor. If the holes were the proper depth and your deck had enough footings then your problem would have to be an "act of god".

There are areas of the country that have problems with sink holes and other underground issues. A few years ago I did a deck and hit water at 36" that would fill my hole. I had the town inspector come out and we agreed on my plan to secure a footing. To this day I have no clue what was feeding the water (no underground pipes or wells in the area).

Could you post some pictures so we could get a feel for his quality of workmanship? What type of soil do you have in your area? Did your job have a permit and were the holes inspected?
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Old 04-05-2007, 09:32 PM   #7
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Our Deck is sinking!!


A deck that has sank 8" in three years has a serious footing problem, especially if it was supposed to be designed to support a future sunroom. There seems to be either very unstable soil or a woefully inadequate pier footing there. If you still plan on the future sunroom, I think I would have an engineer come out, and determine if it is a soil or design problem, and suggest a remedy. I think any suggestions from us (my self included) are pure speculation, and I would not invest future money until I was confident that the existing problem was solved. Imagine what a glass sunroom would look like after twisting eight inches.
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Old 04-08-2007, 12:49 AM   #8
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Our Deck is sinking!!


One problem that can occur with post style footing is settling. This generally happens when a power auger is used to dig the holes.

As the holes are dug lose soil falls to the bottom and is not compacted. Unless the soil at the bottom of the hole is compacted after the auger is removed you will have a situation where the footing WILL sink over time.

Ask the GC if he compacted the footing before pouring them, if he says no then you have a legal leg to stand on if it goes to court.

Good luck, sorry to hear about your situation.
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Old 04-08-2007, 02:08 AM   #9
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Our Deck is sinking!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggyjack View Post
One problem that can occur with post style footing is settling. This generally happens when a power auger is used to dig the holes.

As the holes are dug lose soil falls to the bottom and is not compacted. Unless the soil at the bottom of the hole is compacted after the auger is removed you will have a situation where the footing WILL sink over time.

Ask the GC if he compacted the footing before pouring them, if he says no then you have a legal leg to stand on if it goes to court.

Good luck, sorry to hear about your situation.
Only if you can get his response in a recording.
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Old 04-08-2007, 08:50 AM   #10
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Our Deck is sinking!!


The contractor would have known what the soil was when he dug for the footer, The building inspector should of inspected before pouring, if you read what I wrote the sona tube is given a broad base to support the load, loose soil should always be removed rather than just pouring on top of. I assume from your note that one pier is involved? would want to know how he build these and why inspector didn't pickup on this? this is needed before going any further with future project of sun room and investment of any money.
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Old 04-08-2007, 10:23 PM   #11
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Our Deck is sinking!!


Somebody goofed...

If you had a permit on the project the piers should have been inspected before concrete was poured. No inspector around here would pass a pier with loose dirt in it. I would also wonder if the size is wrong for the load it is supporting. You may need to get an engineer to figure the pier size and possibly based upon the soil.
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Old 04-09-2007, 03:01 PM   #12
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Our Deck is sinking!!


There is no way you will be putting any more weight on that structure. Unless you can determine the exact cause and can rectify it would be a waste of money to put anymore into a covering structure.
Ron

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