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Alternatives To Concrete Piers

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Old 05-23-2019, 06:52 PM   #1
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Default Alternatives to concrete piers


I bounced this idea around this forum a few years ago, but now it is pressing. We're replacing a ~40 year old 16' yurt that was handmade and sits on partially buried aspen rounds under the decking with a new, 20' yurt. The area is at ~8,000' and gets about 15 feet of snow a year (lots of digging). AND we are chartering a helicopter to fly in the yurt and all platform materials, as the site is over 1 1/2 miles from a road.

I see that some yurt manufacturers have decking packages that use mobile home jacks for the supports. Any experience with this method? Seems pretty appropriate, as they are for mobile homes and have some adjustment. The current structure really hasn't shifted or buckled much resting above the frost line, except where the aspen rounds rotted out and we went in with a bottle jack and releveled.

Any other lighter weight, semi-adjustable options out there that folks have used?

Thanks! Alex

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Old 05-23-2019, 09:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Alternatives to concrete piers

For me, we used some block, ran rebar down the center of it and then filled it with cement:

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It has worked well up in the Adirondacks where we get similar snow totals.

I see others using block like this:

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I would expect weight would be a concern.

Boy, it sounds like quite a project with the helicopters and all. Please post pictures of the process if you can.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Alternatives to concrete piers

Sonotube piers filled with cement and rebar kinda like Jafo mentioned. I made sonotube 'wafers' about 4" thick and filled with quikrete for my platform. All that just sits on a very flat site.

But concrete and materials would be phenomenal heavy to helo. If weight and $$$$$ is really an issue you can also use local rocks filling a grid of log cribs built with your chainsaw and 40d spikes.

Gotta get to work. Good luck.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: Alternatives to concrete piers

We have had some customers use diamond piers with good success as an alternative to simple pier blocks that just sit on the ground. https://www.diamondpiers.com/

The diamond pier does anchor the pier block to the ground without needing to do extensive digging, pour concrete, etc. So you do get protection from uplift from high winds or seismic activity, but not necessarily frostheave. One drawback to their design is if your ground is super rocky it can be difficult to drive in the diagonal anchor pipes. You also don't get adjustability for height with them, but you can shoot grade on the different piers (relevant to each other) and cut wood posts to different lengths so the posts are level on top. The beam work substructure of the floor then bears on the posts and is flat and level.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Alternatives to concrete piers

Shelter Designs

that appears to be a very slick system for sites with little rock below the surface. Thanks for the link.
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