Rotting deck posts (below ground level)

Hi,
Sure will appreciate your expertise. I have learned a good bit already from previous posts on similar subject.
I have a fairly new (4-5 yrs) deck. It replaced an older deck which was in really bad shape. The new deck used the old support posts from the previous deck. Sadly, the condition of these posts was not checked very well. As I check below the ground level, I am noticing various degrees of rot / sponginess in the posts. I know I need to replace them. The deck overhangs a slope. The tallest posts are 10-12 ft high.
Overall, the posts still seem quite solid still - so I feel I have some time to get this done. But I think the sooner the better.
I have 3 parts to my questions.
1)Do I have the sequence down right? The job will entail: jacking in a temporary support post and securing it. Removing the existing post. Digging out the footer. Pouring new footer. Attaching new post and securing it. Removing temporary support post.
2)New footers. What is the best strategy here? Should I simply sink the new post into concrete (ensuring that there is no below ground exposed wood) or should the footer come above ground and have the new post attach to it there?
3) Temporary measures. I think I have time to do this job based on condition of the posts (and I will need it based on how long it takes to find willing/capable person and then the typical failure to meet project timeline, etc). In the meanwhile, would it be smart for me to dig down to where each post goes into the footer and pour some redi-mix concrete in there. Thinking it will provide some level of protection to the below ground post and slow down further damage until the posts are permanently replaced. Any other ideas here would be appreciated.
Thanks. I will be most grateful for any advice or ideas.
Russ
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against the wood. Unless it is a fence post, wood should never touch dirt, or be lower than concrete it touches. Unless you think digging them out may cause erosion that would make the footers slide down hill, I'd dig away any dirt that touches the wood, and let it dry out. Jack it and put stiff-legs, and pour a new footer. If your old posts aren't rotten a foot above ground level, and you can shove them over a foot, you may be able to just clip them and reuse them. Easy way is to use those plastic cone things, and a length of Sonatube, for a form. Dig a big hole. put the cone thing down, fill it with concrete, stick in a few rebar, immediately put the sonotube over that, finish filling with concrete. The idea is to create half a concrete dumbbell shape, with the wide end at the bottom, below the frostline. If you can keep things lined up, put a J-bolt in the top, to anchor down the metal or plastic spacer plate the post rests on. Local place that sells the plastic cone things and the sonotube can probably tell you how deep the footers need to be in your town- if not them, the concrete company or the local building inspector will. (Note that in some locales this would require a permit, but almost nobody bothers for repair work.) Depending on the number of posts, and how close the truck can get, I would call for pre-mix. Mixing sakcrete gets old real fast, and you'll already be sore and tired from digging and burying the forms. Of course, if you want to do them one at a time to minimize the lumber needed for the stifflegs, sakcrete is the only way to go.
If the above doesn't make sense, look at the pictures in the DIY book at the big-box, or the pamphlet in the deck department. It ain't rocket science, but it will be a <lot> of shovel work to do it right. IIRC, last week's AskThisOldHouse went through the process step by step for a deck extension. Their web site probably has pictures.
aem sends...
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thanks for the reply.
On...#3. I can do that, just dig a big hole - but then when it rains it will just run down hill and fill up with water. I was thinking that concrete might be the best of the evils (pure water, dirt, concrete). Something else to use to provide some protection for the wood on a temporary basis?
again thanks a lot
Russ
ameijers wrote:

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I would do away with the post buried in concrete, it was never a good idea in my opinion. If the existing posts above ground are still in good condition, keep them. Temporarily shore the deck. Remove or cut and flex the existing posts to dig and pour concrete bearing piers with the proper hardware to hold the bottom of the posts. Shorten and reinstall the posts. Here is a decent article: <http://www.bhg.com/bhg/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/bhg/step-by-step/data/hie_348.xml&catref Êt240032&page=2>
Pour the concrete high enough so that the bottoms of the posts always have an opportunity to dry out after rain or snow. Dirt and grass should not come in contact with the posts. ______________________________ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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DanG wrote:

<http://www.bhg.com/bhg/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/bhg/step-by-step/data/hie_348.xml&catref Êt240032&page=2>
Fairly good article but the sketch of the Simpson EPB44A shows an incorrect installation. The EPB (elevated post base ) is meant to have a gap between the surface of the concrete & the bottom of the post.
http://www.strongtie.com/products/connectors/EPB.html
Despite what the code allows, it is a bad idea to let endgrain (post ends) be installed at 1" to concrete even with a metal "plate"
A gap of 2" is better, hence the EPB44A (the EPB44, if you can find them is a much better post base)
http://www.strongtie.com/products/categories/post-caps-bases_diy.html
An important note..........none of the imbeded post bases provide any post base fixity. That is the only positive feature of 4x4 in concrete (at least until the post rots)
So by changing from embeded posts to posts w/ post bases you need to be sure that the deck has some sort of system to provide lateral stability.
Is the deck attached to the house on two sides?
cheers Bob
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Yes.
No. Pour a footer level with the ground or even an inch or so above it. You can use the Sono-tubes for it. They you can attach the new post with a concrete anchor in a bracket designed for just that purpose. The depth needed is dependant upon your frost line and building codes. It can be as little as 12" or as much as 48" here in New England.

No, it will just make the project harder. You can do one post at a time so you don't need much in the way of temporary supports. This also allows for a margin of safety in case the temporary support are not holding. Do the corner post first, then the center supports. You can easily do one a day.
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my neighbor had post rot.
he supported the deck one post at a time and jacked it up a inch or so. cut off the post near ground level where post was still good.
Pulled remnants of old post, and installed new concrete pier. Then attached existing post to new concrete pier.
his goal was to save post cost...
kinda awakard but whatever you do.
DONT LET ANYONE ON DECK TILL THIS IS FIXED RIGHT!
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snipped-for-privacy@arrl.net wrote:

For a temporary measure, I would place some concrete blocks next to the posts and bolt a (pressure treated) 2x4 sitting on top of the blocks to the post. Even if the bottom of the post rots to zero the weight will be held by the concrete blocks sitting on the soil.
--
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www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5357/
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For a temporary measure, I would place some concrete blocks next to the
posts and bolt a (pressure treated) 2x4 sitting on top of the blocks to
the post. Even if the bottom of the post rots to zero the weight will be held by the concrete blocks sitting on the soil.
--
that very temporary!

The topsoil undre the blocks wouldnt support it for long, espically on
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another option is to replace the post with a .60 treated ground contact post. These are available at lumberyards and can be buried. they use them for pole buildings around here. You still might want a concrete pad at the bottom of the hole, but I usually find the less concrete I have to deal with, the better.
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1) your sequence is correct 2) the "footings" should should be poured into a tube at least 8 inches diameter and sunk (42" here in MN, varies around the country), then filled with concrete to about an inch above ground level. Immediately put a "J" bolt anchor in the concrete, embedding the hook end of the bolt in the concrete, and leaving about 1 inch of threaded bolt end exposed. You will use a metal fastening device here known as a Post Anchor. After one day, you can use this footing; peel back the cardboard tube to ground level for a better look. I would use 6x6 posts if possible.
I would not bother with anything temporary; you should be able to do this in an afternoon if you have everything on hand: 1 bag of concrete for each foot deep, 1 8 inch forming tube, 1 J bolt, and a narrow point shovel and wheelbarrow, 1 post and 1 post anchor. You can also use a metal post-to-beam connector at the top of the beam if you want.
You can see pictures of a good footing on my website, www.eDeck.net
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THANKS to everyone for the information.
I feel a lot better about the repair job now.
I especially appreciate the detail in the replies.
many thanks again
Russ in N. Carolina (where we don't have to dig quite as deep !)
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