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Old 12-11-2009, 08:20 AM   #1
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Porch foundation help needed - Best way to dig?

Hi All:

My family is rebuilding after our house was destroyed in a fire. We are building a bigger house and trying to stretch the insurance money as far as we can go, so we are doing a lot of the work ourselves and contracting out what we can't or don't want to do.

The new house will have a roofed front porch and requires PT 4x4 posts attached to an 8" dia. column (poured into sonotube), on top of a 24" dia. footer (min 42" below grade).

This requires me to dig holes about 4 feet down by 2+ feet in diameter. The problem is that it's almost impossible to dig by hand because there are so many rocks (it took me hours to dig a hole 2 feet deep last summer to put in a mailbox post).

I'm just wondering what's the best way to dig these holes? A post hole digger only seems to be about 4" dia. Is there any equipment that I can rent that would make this job really easy?




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Old 12-11-2009, 09:31 AM   #2
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There are post hole diggers that will dig any diameter hole. Problem is they don't like rocks either.


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Old 12-11-2009, 09:33 AM   #3
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A small bucket backhoe around here is $300 a day - 10 hours running time
There might be a machine that is less - they have power augers that are on backhoes too
I rented one over a holiday so I had it for 2 days at the 1-day price & still didn't get 10 hours on it
They also have 2-man augers that might work, depends upon how much rock
I've never used one
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:45 AM   #4
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The two-man augers don't work well with them at all in my experience. Used a tractor mounted auger (ran off the PTO) once for many 12" holes, worked well. The ground there had up to head sized stones that the auger would bring to the surface. With solid rock I am sure it would have had difficulty.

Suggest to speak an escavator who is familier with your area. Might be cheaper and better to hire it out.
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:11 AM   #5
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Thanks all for the info. I'll call around and report back with whatever ends up working for me.
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digging , foundation , porch

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