Can Ya Dig It?

Who knew digging a hole would be so involved?

The task seems simple. Dig a hole. Fill it with concrete. Done.

It’s not exactly rocket science, but it is more difficult than that. I have calculated that with the type of dirt I have under my house (mud), I need 36 sq ft of pressure area to support my wall. Divided over 4 columns, that’s 9 sq ft per column, which is a very convenient yard-by-yard hole I need to dig. The frost line here in Atlanta is 6 inches, so I’m digging 18ish.

But to prepare the hole to accept a ton of concrete (literally), I need to do a couple things. First, I need to rough out the hole. Then I need to create a wooden square form that goes on top of the hole to shape and contain the concrete, then finalize the hole. Then, I flatten the bottom and tamp it down. Then I throw rocks and sand in the hole, place in some steel reinforcement mesh, a couple rebars, and hang mounting hardware. Then I can fill it with concrete, which is another beast entirely.

Last night I roughed out one hole, and tonight I’ll probably rough out another. It only took about 2 hours to remove about a half a cubic yard of dirt, which isn’t that bad. However, it’s certainly not the most exciting job I’ve ever done.