Decking is one method of making your garden look classy again, however, there are some drawbacks. Not only can you expect your decking to shift drastically over the course of a few years, but one day you might notice that it has become very lopsided.
This is because the soil underneath might be slightly damp and soft, which means that your feet might either have too little a surface area, causing them to sink into the ground like spikes. One of the ways around this will be if you dig out the entire area and widen the concrete struts underneath.
But how can you lift your sinking deck? What is the best way that you can lift yourself out of this awkward hole? What tools do you need to fix your decking? How long will it take for you to fix this problem? What other materials will you need for the project? How much will it cost to lift a sinking deck?
Well, if you want answers to these questions and a whole lot more, then we would suggest that you read on. We have the inside skinny on how you can save your deck from almost certain oblivion. We’ll tell you the best ways of unearthing your deck from a boggy situation.
Why Is Your Deck Sinking?
One of the main reasons that you decking is sinking is due to the fact that you’ll have constructed your decking on soft soil that probably originates from the time you installed the deck. This soil has its origins from the time the house itself was built and is often an issue left by the builders at that time.
Another reason is that your decking might not be properly installed. If you have a case of this soft soil, then you can be sure that you’ll have a deck that is sinking slowly into the ground owing to the weight of your decking.
One method of testing how durable your soil is is by pushing a stick or piece of rebar into the earth. In soft soil, it will go through very easily. You should keep pushing your stick until it hits more solid earth. If you want a more solid element for your decking, then you’ll have to dig through the soft earth until you reach this harder ground beneath.
How Can You lift A Sinking Deck?
If you have enough jacks example this one (on Amazon), then you should set them up under the area that is sinking into the soil. Doing this with jacks, you’ll be able to distribute the amount of weight that you have over a much even surface area.
Make sure as you pump up your handles that you are doing this on all of them evenly. Do this slowly, as pumping them all quickly at and uneven level is one surefire method of having them keel over or collapse. The pressure that these handles are under will be incredible, so make sure that you are doing it all very gently and allowing time for the soil underneath to settle.
One you have jacked your decking up high enough, you’ll need to make sure that you have your shovels and other items ready to dig out the soft soil from around your struts. You should be ready to leave your struts in place for at least 72 hours.
It’s All About Soil
One method of checking how much work that you’ll have to do to excavate your decking from out of the soil is by measuring how much soft soil there is underneath. You should take a measuring pole and stick it into the ground. Once you have done this, you’ll be able to see the amount of dirt you’ll have to dig out.
We would recommend that you get somebody else to do this or at least get some help, as the amount of digging that you’ll have to do will be quite considerable.
Dig Under Your Decking
You should dig about 12 inches around the area of your jack, going about 6 inches deeper than the measurement that you got from driving the stick into the ground. Once you have dug this hole, then pour in some concrete underneath the support. You should have at least 3 inches in diameter outside of your original decking strut.
Once that the concrete is properly hardened and cured, then you should gently lower the decking back down into the dry concrete. Make sure to do this slowly to ensure that the weight of your decking will be fully supported by the concrete. Lower your decking by doing it a few pumps at a time.
Improve The Surface Area Of Your Deck’s Footing
If your decking is only sinking at a marginal rate, then you might only have to invest in some concrete feet for your decking. These feet are around 12 to 16 feet in thickness and height and are designed to support the weight on your entire decking, although you’ll need to be sure you buy one for every foot.
To install these kinds of ready-made feet, jack up your decking in much the same manner as you would when pouring in fresh concrete. Once you have got each of the legs clear, then make sure that your concrete struts are placed underneath.
You’ll need to make sure that you have dug underneath the post of each of the deck struts to guarantee that they are firmly supported by earth on all sides. Make sure to remove all the soft soil from underneath the post, replacing it with concrete.