Although only taking a few week-ends to complete, it was back breaking work and I wouldn’t recommend doing this type of project alone like I did…
The first week-end was basically surveying the area, purchasing supplies, building forms and digging the footer. I spent quite some time determining the best permanent location for the pier, deck and eventually the observatory. I have many trees, a fairly steep sloped yard and a septic system, so my options were very limited.
The actual hole dug was approximately 3.5’x3.5’x2’
Pouring and mixing the concrete was by far the hardest part of the entire project. The footer alone took 13- 80lb. bags of concrete mix and being on a tight budget, an electric concrete mixer (I recommend to rent one) was not used, so every bit of it was mixed in a 2’x3’x1’ plastic tub, one bag at a time… About every 3rd or 4th bag I laid 24”x½’ rebar crisscrossed throughout the footer for added strength. Don’t forget to tamp!
Once the footer was poured, I took a much needed hour break to allow the concrete to firm up a tad before continuing with the column.
The 12”x4’ concrete tube and forms…
Pouring the column wasn’t any easier. I was definitely running out of steam by this time and the top of the tube was 3’ high! So now I had to mix the remaining concrete in the tub, then shovel it into a 5-gal. bucket and lift the heavy slurry up to pour. After every pour I used a broom handle to tamp the concrete. The column took 5- 80lb. bags. You can see I used several rocks to help keep the tube stationary and level. The last thing to do is set the anchor bolts and template in the concrete. The night before I marked a spot on the fence pointing north and used a string to align the template to that spot.
Time to cure and rest!
After 4 days of curing, I removed the forms. It’s a good thing I don’t rely on concrete pouring to make a living… You can see that there are voids throughout the pier. I’m not sure what I did wrong here? Luckily it’s just cosmetic, no where on the column did any concrete come lose from picking or prying at it!
I wasn’t too happy with the appearance of my new pier, so I decided to add a little decoration to its exterior. Using a concrete patch mix, I troweled on a stucco like finish.
After a couple of days to let the patch cure, I applied three coats of concrete water proofing paint.
8’x8’x6” Treated Deck
This was the easiest part of the project and I won’t go into much detail. Basically its is a 2x6x8 frame lying on 8- 8x8x16 concrete cinder blocks and leveled. I used nothing but exterior deck screws, no nails.
I finished the pier and deck, but could not use it for another 2 weeks. A friend of mine took a little longer than expected to fabricate the mounting plate. It was free of charge, so I couldn’t complain.
Icing on the cake... My new pier is sporting my brand new AT66ED!
List of Materials
18- 80lb. concrete mix
1- 70lb. concrete patch
1- 1gal. water proof paint
1- 12” concrete form tube
12- 24”x1/2” rebar
3- 48”x1/2” rebar
3- 8” long anchor bolts, nuts and washers
3- Carriage head bolts, nuts and washers
3- 2x4x8 studs
1- 2x12x12 stud
16- 5/4x6x8 treated decking
9- 2x6x8 treaded studs
12- 2x6 stud hangers
8- 8x8x16 concrete blocks
2- 1 5/8” 1lb. deck screws
1- 3” 1lb. deck screws
Total cost for pier and treated deck $315.00 Imaging with 10min. subs and no star trails... priceless!