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Old 08-05-2013, 09:00 AM   #1
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


I'm building a deck and nearly finished digging for the piers. I'm using 10" sonnet tubes. Code in my area calls for piers to be dug 4' down.
I've been able to get most of the large rocks out as I'm digging. One of the holes has what appears to be a 12x12x8 rock at the bottom; it could be bigger. It's down about 42" and sticks out about 4" into where the tube is going. Even if I were able to loosen it, I'm not sure how I would get it out of the hole without digging a much larger hole to get it out.
What do you typically do in this situation? is it OK to leave it and cut a notch in the sonnet tube?
Or, do I need to keep working at it and remove it?

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Old 08-05-2013, 09:07 AM   #2
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


http://sonotube.com/

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Old 08-05-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


Fairly certain you can just dig the rock out, drop your sonotube into the hole and then backfill around the tube.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:31 AM   #4
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


Yep, sonotube. thanks for the clarification.
Thanks Pittsville but I was hoping you were going to say, "just pour over it."
Oh well, back to the chain-gang.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


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Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
I'm building a deck and nearly finished digging for the piers. I'm using 10" sonnet tubes. Code in my area calls for piers to be dug 4' down.
I've been able to get most of the large rocks out as I'm digging. One of the holes has what appears to be a 12x12x8 rock at the bottom; it could be bigger. It's down about 42" and sticks out about 4" into where the tube is going. Even if I were able to loosen it, I'm not sure how I would get it out of the hole without digging a much larger hole to get it out.
What do you typically do in this situation? is it OK to leave it and cut a notch in the sonnet tube?
Or, do I need to keep working at it and remove it?


You don't have to take out the entire rock,just chip off the 4 inches that's in the path of the sonotube,and your good to go.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:52 PM   #6
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


What does your municipality state about just drilling holes into the boulder and sinking rebar into it, that will allow you to secure the piling in the sonotube, using it as a base? Check and see if this could be your Brass ring in this case.

Can you post a picture of the layout you have currently, with the sonotubes in the holes.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:22 PM   #7
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


Depending in the soil in your area you may be better off not dropping the tube all the way into the hole anyway. If the concrete is poured directly against the excavated earth walls (assuming they hold shape quite well) the resulting pair will actually be stronger than if you use a tube and backfill. You may want to discuss this possibility with your local AHJ.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:56 PM   #8
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


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What does your municipality state about just drilling holes into the boulder and sinking rebar into it, that will allow you to secure the piling in the sonotube, using it as a base? Check and see if this could be your Brass ring in this case.

Can you post a picture of the layout you have currently, with the sonotubes in the holes.
As Greg notes, here in the mountains basically we are on granite.

When we encounter big (too big to practically remove in residential and not subject to any extreem engineering issue,) almost all BO's say just pin it with some rebar and pour it....

the logic being the rock is probably the biggest "big foot" we could have.

I suppose might run into some BO that asks for engineering.... but never have yet.

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Old 08-06-2013, 08:19 AM   #9
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


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As Greg notes, here in the mountains basically we are on granite.

When we encounter big (too big to practically remove in residential and not subject to any extreem engineering issue,) almost all BO's say just pin it with some rebar and pour it....

the logic being the rock is probably the biggest "big foot" we could have.

I suppose might run into some BO that asks for engineering.... but never have yet.

Best

one of the issues is getting a hammer drill into a 4' deep hole, may need more digging to get it to fit down there
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:02 AM   #10
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


I'm going to dig it out. It's too big to easily get out but not big enough to justify pinning. I was looking for the easy route because once you get past 40" digging turns into chipping with a san angelo bar; the ground seems like it turns to concrete.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:19 PM   #11
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


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I'm going to dig it out. It's too big to easily get out but not big enough to justify pinning. I was looking for the easy route because once you get past 40" digging turns into chipping with a san angelo bar; the ground seems like it turns to concrete.
The easy route is to use a hammer drill, or jack hammer to drill a hole into the boulder, vs. breaking your back, and disturbing more soil.

Use the boulders to your favor if you can. Really I doubt an inspector is going to gig you for being six inches shy, due to this boulder being there. Invite him or her over, offer a cold soda or Iced Tea while they are there, checking over everything, and making sure it is still on track within the way they would like it to be.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:23 PM   #12
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


Are you using tube bases? If not can you move the tube 4 inches away? If the top of the rock is at 42 inches and you say it is 8 inches, assuming that is the depth of the rock, essentially it would become a part of the footing if you pour around it. You might want to enlarge around it so a little more concrete can surround it. Pour around it and set the tube just into the concrete. Put some poly over it if you are worried about contaminating the concrete. Think of it as large aggregate.
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:38 PM   #13
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


12x12x8 was expressed in your post in inches or feet by the way? Thread headline suggested a boulder and your post suggested you hit a rock and find you have decide whether to leave or dig out a rock. I get confused at times.

When you said boulder, I was thinking all dimensions mentioned were in feet but wanted to make sure?

It sounds to me like the last concrete collar someone left for a deck if it is all in inches. If you meant 12'x12'x8" I bet it is not a boulder but an old patio pour. Break it up and get rid of it.

Real men are made from a a jackhammer rental once in their life. If it is a real boulder? Not an old footing? Not a slab? You need a guy from Wyoming and their methods of clearing land. And some hard hats. And then some guys in striped suits chained together with picks, wheelbarrows, and chain gang songs to sing.

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Old 08-06-2013, 03:21 PM   #14
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


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Real men are made from a a jackhammer rental once in their life. If it is a real boulder? Not an old footing? Not a slab? You need a guy from Wyoming and their methods of clearing land. And some hard hats. And then some guys in striped suits chained together with picks, wheelbarrows, and chain gang songs to sing.
Alright, make me sound like a pussy ... it's inches, not feet. The official definition of a boulder is no smaller than 12"; I looked it up.
After more than an hour of coaxing, begging, swearing and finally crying to at least move it a little, I gave up and moved on to other holes. I'll try again tonight, now that the hole has been open to air for a little while maybe it dryed out enough to make it easier.
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:54 PM   #15
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What to do with boulder where new pier should be?


It is probably a boulder than has been there centuries or eons and is stable and will be.

Dig out the excess well around the offending projection and pour concrete properly and treat is as part of widened footing. The Sonotube will provide a nice finished touch.

If you have a problem with the extra 6" of depth for a small part of the footing/deck support, ask him what should be done after he has a cool drink when it is hot and humid. - Inspectors are human and do not want to create problems because that raises the cost of inspections in most parts of the U.S. The cost of extra inspections is not close to the cost keeping inspectors plus vehicles and benefits (there some minor exceptions).

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