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Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

(OP)
I have about 20 timber piles that all look the same except for 1. These have been in place for several years but most of them have very few splits and of the splits they do have, they are minor in width. 1 pile is noticeable worse than the others.

I was wondering if it is reasonable that excessive wind could make these worse in magnitude if the pile itself was not a very good grade. The splits run on a slight slope and one larger split runs directly to a large through bolt.

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

Checking and splitting are common. Is it possible that specific one sees more sun, therefore drying, than many of the others?

Is it only on that one side? or are there matching cracks on the other side?

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

(OP)
This is a corner column. I did not think to photograph the opposite face. While I am used to splits in larger timbers, the drastic difference in this and the other piles was noticeable.

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

Ron 247,

jayrod12 raises an important point, do those checks go all the way thru the column, as a split or shake or do they only go to the pith of the tree?

Also at the top of the picture it appears that there might be a large knot, approximately the size of the column, with a check in it. That is concerning as knots represent a major change in grain path and a weakness.

Jim

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

(OP)
I need to go back and confirm if the splits go through. That is a large knot with a check. I attached a closeup of it. As I said, this column is in much worse condition than any other. I have dealt with large timbers before, but where I live they are only common on the river. That is the only elevated houses we tend to have. I figured eng-tips had some gurus that could steer me in the right direction about assessing why this one was so bad compared to the other 19.



I also attached 2 pictures below of one I looked at Friday. Does anyone have a good method of estimating damage of the portion below the ground? You can dig down a little but then you hit a concrete jacket. I was thumping the bases with a small sledge when this one sounded like I hit a drum. Poked it a little an this stuff fell out. I am assuming this is advanced decay but I guess there is some critter that might be able to do the same damage. No critters fell out of the holes but the debris looks like top-soil. Like the other one, it is a corner column. I think I have learned you better look at corner columns.





RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

Quote:

I also attached 2 pictures below of one I looked at Friday. Does anyone have a good method of estimating damage of the portion below the ground?

It seems concrete pillar below.

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

The crack doesn't scare me, but that rot does

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

(OP)
You do hit concrete a few inches into the ground but I do not know how deep it runs. The Owner said these were driven piles. The exterior face was split but it took very little effort to make those bigger holes in the wood.

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

That is rotten right at the slab interface. Same as where your fence posts always rot out. Right at the location of constant wetting and drying.

It appears they're relying on cantilever column action in order to work laterally. That poses a bit of an issue for replacement. You may need to look into knee bracing at the top of the new column in order to address the lateral system. I can't imagine they could re-drive a new pile right there.

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

(OP)
Other than termites or other critters, does the deeper embedded part of the pile tend to be in better shape than the ground surface part?

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

Generally speaking wood that is kept at a constant moisture temperature does not have an issue with degradation. Again I liken it to fence posts. Generally they rot right at the ground level, but you can then pull out the remaining post fully intact and still in almost the same condition it was installed in.

I remember my first engineering related summer job was land surveying, we would be in some rural area where the original survey markers were wood posts. There were times that we were finding wood survey posts in immaculate condition for the part that was embedded in the ground, even though the portion of the post above grade had long since deteriorated.

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

If the wood post is extended into ground, it should have hollowed out below the concrete slab. It could have wood that was cut off below the concrete slab though.

RE: Timber pile with splits that run somewhat on a slight slope

Bad idea to have wood bear directly on concrete...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

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