anyone having leveling coop problems due to frost melting

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blueseal, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my coop has shifted due to the ground unthawing . oneside likes to sink in the mud. my coop is built on pressure treated skids. i have the skids on solid cement blocks. every year i have to jack that oneside up and relevel what else can i use to keep it from sinking.
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Fundamentally, unless you want to continue doing this every year (which I suppose is an option), youhave to move the coop onto something that is not going to heave/thaw unevenly. Either another patch of ground that doesn't do that; or sink something (foundation, posts, whatever) deep enough into the ground that it will go well below your frostline and not be 'grabbed' by frost in the upper part, and set the coop on that.

    The only other thing I can think of is, special case, IF your problem is simply that the coop is quite heavy and the south side ground is thawing earlier than the North side (because of direct sun on the S side ground vs shade on the N side ground), then you might be able to even it out by putting down heavy insulation in a wide swath around the S side AFTER THE GROUND HAS DEEPLY FROZEN and before it starts to melt. This would probably mean, when your snow starts to melt enough that the ground is almost but not quite exposed. If different thaw rates of the two sides is your problem (and I really don't know if this is the case, only you can guess that) then putting down, say, a 12" layer of shavings the entire length of the S wall and extending maybe 5-8' out from the wall in all directions will keep that ground frozen a lot longer. When the N side ground starts to soften then you can remove the insulating shavings layer.

    BUt in most cases, what you describe is really only solvable by getting the coop onto something that basically won't move. (I don't suppose you have any granite shelf on your property, or other large rock outcroppings?)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You could actually sink footers. Pillars of concrete that go down into the ground 2 or 3 feet. Just use a post hole digger. Make a nice cylinder of poured concrete. The dry stuff from a bag from Home Depot is just fine. Dump it dry. Tamp it down good and trickle a few gallons of water on and around it. Give it two days to "set" hard.

    Slide your coop onto it's new footings. Four corners at minimum. This is quite easy to do, but very difficult to do under your present coop position. Do it once. Do it right.
     
  4. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As stated, you need to find out how deep the frost line is in your area. I have seen posts and footings heave almost a foot because of frost since they weren't placed deep enough. My frost line is 42 inches but decided to sink the footings 5 foot because they are on a hill. Deeper is better.
     
  5. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i will probably fill the 2 south side corners that sink every year. with bags of concrete . once it stops sinking i will jack the 2 corners up dig out the mud in the sinkholes and fill it in with concrete . it should stay then. ihope. if not then i guess drag the coop to higher ground.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Um, if your problem is merely different rates of thawing that *might* help (tho I am skeptical)

    HOWEVER if your problem is FROSTHEAVE, what you describe will quite possibly make things worse. Dug holes filled with concrete offer fantastic purchase for the frost to grab and lift, and instead of sinking back down again by late spring the way heaved soil would, it *stays* lifted to a considerable degree (b/c moist soil fills in underneath) so you get the thing jacking itself up further and further every year.

    If you want to dig a hole and pour concrete to make a pier under the problem corners, honestly your best bet is to do that elsewhere (preferably on all 4 corners) and then drag the coop onto the piers, as I and another poster suggested. But if you want to do it in situ, I would really suggest using Sonotube to fill with concrete, not just a hole. You will have to dig sort of awkwardly to be able to insert the sonotube under th corner of the coop, and it will be a nuisance to get the concrete in there unless you can jack that part of the coop up a foot or two; but frost does not grab onto Sonotube very much at all, so as long as your hole is below frostline you will be pretty much safe against frost-jacking.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well i jacked the sinking corners up today i put blocking under it for now. frost is the problem. i know the ground is still going to thaw so it will sink again. i will have to make a gravel pad for it and move the bulding like 12 feet ahead to more solid ground . how hard is it going to be to move my 10x12 gambrel coop ahead 12ft its on skids what are some good ways to move it.

    here are some older pictures of my building

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Sorry to hear your having trouble with the frost! Winters can be tough.

    If you are determined to move it, rollers can work well. Round logs, several of them. WHen moved forward, the rollers exit the back; move that one to the front. THe more rollers the better all the same diameter.

    You may be better off, and for the same amount of work, to put footings under the coop where it is. That's what DH is going to do. My DH will put the footings in later on our coop because the ground is still solid here and I need the coop NOW. HE assures me it's okay to put them in later. Footings can be poured concrete with a spacer on top to fill/fit with the coop. Or use PT 4x4. Which ever you decide, moving or footings, the extra work will be worth it. Keep us posted!
     
  9. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks i will let you know how it goes. i can get gravel pretty easy i work for a construction company. so probably if i put in a gravel pad say 12x14 the coop is 10x12 i think thats the right size for a pad for a buildng that size . i know i read it somwhere about pad sizes. my thinking is it would be easier to rollit on to the new pad. that way its out of the mudhole. i had the coop built in the winter so i didnt realize then that i was going to have sinking problems lol.
     
  10. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    I hear you. Maybe you can also make the pad higher than the existing soil level to help with drainage.

    Since a tractor isn't possible I'm also assuming you can't use a pickup either. Could you use a come-a long? Is there a tree to use as a base to pull toward? If not, put in a sturdy post deep and at an angle away from the coop to use as a base. You can use a thick sturdy rope to span the distance; it means resetting the come a long over and over. Just requires patience. Let me know how it goes!!!
     

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