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Old 05-30-2008, 08:40 AM   #1
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Building a Deck - Questions about pouring the footers


I have all the holes dug and I'm planning on using sonotubes to form the footers. A couple of people have mentioned that you should only use the sonotubes for the top foot or foot and a half of the hole and that the remainder should just be dirt (with the exception of 2"-3" of gravel in the bottom). The book I've been following however, shows a three foot cutaway section where the sonotube goes all the way down to the gravel at the bottom of the hole. Is there any problem with that method? Should I cut the tubes so that they only occupy the top foot or foot and a half of the hole or should I make them go all the way down to the bottom??

Also, I'm planning on using post anchors with j-bolts sunken into the wet concrete. Does anyone have any tips on keeping the j-bolts aligned so that the posts will be aligned?? I was thinking about cutting 12" diameter circles out of plywood and drilling a hole through the center of each. I was then going to put those on top of the sonotubes and line up the center hole with my layout strings using a plumb to make sure that each tube was centered before back-filling. I was also thinking about possibly bolting the j-bolt through the center hole of the plywood circles and just laying the plywood circles on top of the sonotubes while the concrete dried. After it dried, I could remove the nut and the plywood and attach the post anchor. Anyone ever try something like this??

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Old 05-30-2008, 11:08 AM   #2
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Building a Deck - Questions about pouring the footers


I am about to excavate my footings for my deck. The plan reviewer at the building department recommended that I just pour the cylindrical hole, 4', and not bother with the sonotube and form footing below grade. This is based on our soil type in this region. I will do mine in two pours, one below grade and then a second pour above using a short sonotube. With the short second pour I figure it will be easier to line up anchors in the concrete. Based on my limited experience, once you wiggle in the anchor it shouldn't move. Have a torpedo level handy.

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Old 05-30-2008, 12:57 PM   #3
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Building a Deck - Questions about pouring the footers


Your sonotubes can go all the way down if you want, but then you're going to have to backfill them with dirt and pack it in. The only reason to use a sonotube is for a clean look above grade.

As for your bolts, use strips of 1x or plywood with a hole drilled in them big enough for the bolt. Install a washer and a nut just above the plywood to hold everything snug. If your mix is stiff enough (which it should be), you can just stab the bolt into the concrete and it shouldn't move on you.
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:13 PM   #4
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Building a Deck - Questions about pouring the footers


Well I poured the foundations this weekend and everything went smooth. I ended up just using the full length of the sonotubes and backfilling. I'm going to have two beams that will run the length of the deck, one is 3.5' off the house and the other is 11' off the house. When I sank the j-bolts for the first row I ended up being a little off on the last one but I think the amount of play in the post anchors will be more than enough to compensate. The second row went perfectly though; all the j-bolts are dead on. I just need to drill two post anchors into an existing 6' x 10' slab and I'll be ready to start building. Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:50 PM   #5
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Building a Deck - Questions about pouring the footers


Leroy you did just what I would have done in pouring your piers...Good job...Just remove the paper part of the sonotube that you can see...The below ground part will help stop frost from moving your posts...How about some pictures as your deck takes shape...?
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:42 AM   #6
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Building a Deck - Questions about pouring the footers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lansing View Post
Leroy you did just what I would have done in pouring your piers...Good job...Just remove the paper part of the sonotube that you can see...The below ground part will help stop frost from moving your posts...How about some pictures as your deck takes shape...?
Thanks. Here's some pictures of the work so far. I had to stop pouring on Saturday due to rain and I didn't take any pictures after I finished on Sunday (I'll take some when I get home tonight).
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