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Old 05-14-2016, 03:25 PM   #1
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Anchor Bolt Fail


I am putting in a new mailbox, and needed a concrete base since we have drainage ditches along the road which leads to a lot of leaning mailboxes (such as our current one). After some different attempts, I decided to use the Simpson EZ Post Base.

So I had my tube, my bag of concrete, and my J bolts and plywood guide. Once I got the concrete poured, I could not get the J bolts to go down straight! Having not done much concrete before, I just imagined everything hardening and being a mess. The bolts kept angling so they ended up in a V pattern. I was hammering, trying to twist them into place, etc. I think i've managed to get the post base over them, and I tried to fill in the holes left by their movement, but I'm waiting for it to stop raining to see if they are solid.

What did I do wrong? I'm about to pour a landing for new deck steps, so want to try and make things go a little smoother. As I look pictures on the web, etc., the stuff I used (yellow bag of Quikrete) seems to be more rocky than what the guides show. Is there a certain grade or type that I should be using?

Thanks!!
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Old 05-14-2016, 04:17 PM   #2
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


It is difficult to pound an anchor bolt in straight into concrete due to the aggregate in the mix. If you want plumb anchor bolts in a specific location, the best way is to preset the anchor bolt in position before you pour the concrete. If you have a sonotube, you can hold the bolt in place by anchoring to the tube using a clamp or similar. You only need to place the holder after you have poured most of the tube, for example if you have an eight inch anchor bolt, which is going to stick up two inches, you only need to position the bolt when there is six inches of concrete left to put in the tube.
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Old 05-14-2016, 04:24 PM   #3
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


Probably just got a bit turned by a piece of aggregate.

Try making a smaller hole with something with a wedged tip to move the stones out of the way before pushing your final piece in tight.
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:11 PM   #4
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


Make a template from a piece of wood, with a hole in the appropiate place for your anchor bolt, stake it in place and pour the last 6 inches or so of concrete, lastly make sure it's plumb.
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:32 PM   #5
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


If my concrete is too dry, I have difficulties in setting anchor bolts.

Since this was your first attempt I guess that to be one of the problems.

As suggested a tapered rod such as a rolling wedge bar has, does a great job of making a pilot hole, and a lot of finesse with your hand will get them perfectly placed long before the crete sets up.


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Old 05-14-2016, 05:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice! Will probably put the bolts in then fill up the tube next time.

For now, since the base is in place, if I can get the nuts on fairly right should I just leave it? I could also cut those bolts level with the concrete, turn the base 90 degrees and then try and drill holes for new anchors, which I'm guessing is a tough job...

And for making a stair footer for the deck, any specific type of concrete or will just regular Quikrete be good? Thanks again for all the help!
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:54 PM   #7
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


Bagged Quikrete is made to be universal, It will be fine.

Use your float to get the stones down a little, and raise the Crème to the top, to make a fine finish on the stuff.


ED
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:42 AM   #8
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


For a mail box, I would have sunk the post into the ground without the concrete. The base will come loose eventually. It is top heavy and concrete anchors drilled in afterwards aren't for resisting the levered racking movement.
For the stairs, you also need to think about how the rails will be supported. Posts for the rails can be fixed to the stringers, but everything has to be reinforced. Also you can't attach 4x4 to 3" of stringer. If your stringers sit on the new concrete, the base also must be compacted. The front staircase is significant which is hard to correct if anything goes wrong. I would put frost footings for such parts.
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Old 05-15-2016, 01:55 PM   #9
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


Thanks for all the help. Looking back, I should've put the post in the ground, but I was worried about the wet soil there due to drainage issues, so I thought the concrete would make things better. I had tried a different ground spike/anchor, which required cutting the post to ground height, and that didn't work, then there was no going back. Ugh. Learning experience I guess.

Finally stopped raining, and I just checked on things. The anchor base is firm to the concrete, so the J bolts seem to at least be set. I see what you mean about resisting lateral forces, and I may end up running a cable from the post to our fence or some kind of ground anchor.

It looks now like the entire concrete column is wobbling! For my next attempt, I'm thinking about removing the clay soil there, and trying to pack some gravel and fill dirt around the concrete. Should I add concrete around the form? Any other solutions to try?

I may consider canceling our mail if this keeps up.
Thanks again for all the helpful ideas.
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Old 05-15-2016, 06:23 PM   #10
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Re: Anchor Bolt Fail


Looks like the soil there is soupy from not drying out and too much water. Post in ground will not work because you can't compact the dirt around the post. As long as it is not quicksand, maybe a barrel or such filled with sand or dirt? I'm think of temp basketball hoops on the streets. They are plastic base filled with sand.
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Old 05-16-2016, 08:00 PM   #11
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Thanks. Guess I'll try some gravel and see if the extra drainage and compacting works.

For the base of my steps where they land on grass i was thinking of digging out some then adding gravel or sand and putting in concrete blocks to use as a footer. The stairs are only 4 steps so not to big. They will obviously move some but thought they might be stable enough. Wouldn't have to deal with pouring and curing concrete.

Thanks!
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