4x4 coop base... compacted dirt or concrete

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BlakesFarm, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. BlakesFarm

    BlakesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so I have just started building a guinea fowl coop. I have four 4x4 bords that I will sink 1 ft under ground, what do you think would be best, put the 4x4 in the ground and compact dirt around it, or put the 4x4 and pour concrete around it? The coop should be at max 7 1/2 ft tall (from ground level and up).

    The coop will be 4.5ft wide and 4 ft long, and 1.5ft above ground. Will it be fine if I go cheep and compact dirt around the posts?

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    ...I just want to double check before I get stuck and mess up.




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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  2. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I usually want at least 2 feet in the ground. If you are going with only 1 foot, I would reccomend that not only do you add concrete around the bottom of each post, but that you drive large spikes (nails) into all four sides of the ends of your 4x4's so that it will grab hold of the concrete and not slide out. It may be that you never need it, all you are really concerned about is strong wind, so if you have it in a place where it will not get too much wind in a storm then you may be okay without it. For that matter, if you don't put them in the ground at all it will be easier to move if you ever need to, but relatively easy to push over. If I understand correctly, your coop will be 4.5 x 4 x 7.5 tall. That's almost twice as tall as it is wide, I'd go with the concrete...
     
  3. BlakesFarm

    BlakesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The only reason to pour concrete around a post footing, IMHO, is if you have very squishy soggy unstable wet ground and need a wider base of support so the post doesn't sink into the ground from the weight of what's attached to it; or if you want extra weight in hopes of anchoring the thing against gale-force winds.

    When you pour concrete around a post in the ground, it mainly just makes the post rot faster. Yeah, this may sound illogical, but it IS what tends to happen. Also of course it is a lot more work and a bit more expense.

    So for most situations I'd suggest just setting the post properly (extremely well-tamped earth, tamp every 4" or so as you're filling the hole, no kidding!) and forget the concrete.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. farmer_lew

    farmer_lew Hi-Tech Redneck

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    Just tamping the dirt should be sufficient, unless you are expecting some serious external forces to exerted against your coop. Be sure, though, to tamp the dirt frequently as you backfill. And use a small pole (i.e, the handle of your shovel) to tamp it. May take a little longer to do, but will be more sold. Also, I recommend that you use a post level and temporarily attach your stringers to the posts BEFORE you backfill. That will help you to get your posts level and plumb, plus eliminate, or at least reduce, twist. Check your corners for square at the same time. If you have a carpenter's square, you can use that. If not, you can use the 3-4-5 rule. Start at one corner and measure out 3 feet. Make a mark. From the same corner, measure the other direction (think right angle) 4 feet, and mark. The distance between the marks will be 5 feet if your corner is square. Do this on every corner. Personally, I think a carpenter's square iis quicker.

    Hope this helps, and good luck! Post pics of your progress!
     
  6. THINGUM

    THINGUM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    posts always rot right where the wet meets the dry. Even pilings in a lake rot off right at the surface. any time you pour concrete around a post you want to make it a sleeve and not a cup, so it'll drain. WE ARE OBVIOUSLY REFERRING TO WOOD AND NOT METAL POSTS. They make a thing called a fence bar, it looks like a 6' nail with a 3" chisel at one end, and 1" diameter steel rod. the head end is great for tamping around a post, and they're great for leveraging posts back to plumb as you gradually "fill" and "tamp" your way up.[​IMG]

    "Build her hell for stout, "pretty" always takes care of herself" ... Charlie Settlemeyer
     
  7. THINGUM

    THINGUM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And i forgot to say ... throw a brick or rock in the "tamped" bottom of the hole. that'll be stout and she'll be awful pretty when you're done.
     
  8. BlakesFarm

    BlakesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the help! [​IMG] I think that I wont use concrete and just pack the dirt around it. If it helps, after digging through 3in of soil its all clay, so the posts will be sitting in mainly clay.

    I have all the things youall' said from a leveler, to a square, string, and to what I call a "rock breaker" (looks like a 6ft black nail).




    Quote:Pictures and updates on this thread:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=439953&p=1

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  9. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Columbia,SC
    From living in the upstate, may I suggest digging just a little deeper than 1ft and filling it with gravel.Since red clay is very slow to drain this will help keep your poles dry.
     
  10. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    Quote:I have built horse corral fence with four by fours and just tamping it in the ground with a tamper.... (I know there is a name for it but dang if I can remember) Looks like a big ole nail pointed on one end and flared out on the other weighs about twenty pounds. But we used pressure treated or cedar wood. Those posts dont look pressure treated I am hoping they are cedar. Also I think someone else mentioned it that the posts should be two feet in the ground. I know digging is hard but you dont want your posts to work loose or out of square while you are building.

    I love guineas [​IMG] and am getting ready to do my own construction thread about my own coop. How many are you going to be having? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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