The Deck: Digging Lots of Holes

I originally started this post out complaining about all the issues that we had when we were trying to rent a machine to dig our footing holes. Honestly it was long winded and sounded a little whinny. Suffice to say we had a few set backs (like most people do with any large project) but we were finally able to rent an auger to dig our deck footings.

We rented a hydraulic towable auger from Home Depot and it cost us about $110 for a day. For us this was the best option. It’s mobile enough to move around our property and it also had the option for a 16 inch wide auger bit. Since our local codes and our design dictated that we needed 16″ x 16″ x 12″ deep footing holes the 16 inch bit was much needed.

Digging Footing Holes 1

We picked it up the auger on a Thursday evening and we immediately came home to get to work. With a little bit of work we were able to drill the first hole. Then when we went to try another hole the auger wasn’t working so well.

Digging Footing Holes 2

We thought that the issue was our hard, rocky ground so we moved to another hole location that was on flatter ground to try again. That’s when the bit dropped right out of the machine.

Digging Footing Holes 4

With the bit this bolt which was sheared into many pieces also came out of the machine.

Digging Footing Holes 3

Luckily Chris had a replacement bolt and with a little work we were able to get the auger running again.

Digging Footing Holes 5

After it was fixed we headed back out to the yard and Chris started drilling holes again.

Digging Footing Holes 6

Since we wanted to finish all our drilling in 24 hours we worked as late as we could without losing all the light.

Digging Footing Holes 8

The next morning we came out and worked on the rest of the holes.

Digging Footing Holes 9

A few holes in Chris thought it might be helpful digging bar since the shovel wasn’t working so well. So I drove into town and bought one while Chris tried to keep working. It ended up being a great purchase since we found a ton of rocks in our soil. In pretty much every hole we dug Chris had to dig out some rocks so that the auger would continue digging down.

Digging Footing Holes 10

After we finished the 21 holes we needed for the deck footings we moved on to the hill in our back yard to dig a ton more holes for shrubs. Digging on this steep of a hill was a little sketchy but we were able to do it by working across the hill back and forth without too much trouble.

Digging Footing Holes 11

We also dug a few holes near the back of the house, as well as near where the edge of the deck eventually will be.

Digging Footing Holes 12

All in all we were able to move a lot of dirt in less than 24 hours.

Digging Footing Holes 13

Digging Footing Holes 14

Since the auger obviously digs round holes we then had to come back and square up the holes as well as make sure that they were deep enough.

Digging Footing Holes 15

To make it easier to check the hole size Chris built a box that was 16″ x 16″ x 12″ deep.

Digging Footing Holes 16

Once the holes were dug out there was a ton of dirt piled up. Oh, and rocks a lot of rocks.

Digging Footing Holes 17

Once the holes were dug we called for our first inspection. Our inspector showed up, looked over the holes, read all our plans and signed of our permit. It was pretty nerve wrecking to watch him silently look over everything but we passed!

Digging Footing Holes 18

Next up we pour our concrete footings and set our past bases. (Update: We finished pouring concrete and it was a lot of bags. Check that out here.)

For the rest of the story see how we got our permit, how we designed the deck, and how we prepped the ground to start building.

2 thoughts on “The Deck: Digging Lots of Holes

  1. I like how you started out whining but then deleted….classic. Also love Ranger in the back of one of the pics (I’ve never seen him look so calm and casual!!!) And love the plants on the hillside. Good work.

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