One of the inspection notes from when I bought my home was the dirt making contact with the posts on the deck:

I dug out the dirt and it looks like this: https://ibb.co/album/nBumDv

As you can see in the first two pics, there is some rot at the the base of one of the posts. The other posts did not look as bad. There is one tricky portion in a few pics where you can see the wood running along the dirt. Now that i've dug out the posts and its raining, some posts just have water pooling by them. For now, putting the dirt back is better than standing water correct?

  1. How bad does the rot look in that first post?

  2. For the wood thats just running along the dirt, is the best way just to clear some space below it and remove any dirt that's touching the wood?

  3. Should I fill in the cavities that I just created with gravel? If so, what type? I'm concerned I now have area for water to pool and damage even further. Is there anything else I could do to the posts or fill in the surrounding area to help temporarily alleviate the issue?

  4. Any other thoughts or recommendations?


1 Answer 1


That first post is looking pretty bad. Most deck lumber is not meant to have contact with ground/dirt. The concrete filled holes should have been higher than the existing grade and sloped away from the posts. Filling in the area you dug out will not solve the problem as water will still accumulate. Your best bet would be to get some concrete deck supports and place them over the concrete after cutting off a portion the posts. The remainder part of the posts would go into the concrete supports.

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As far as the wood running along the ground, clean it off, reseal it and dig out the area so there's no further contact. As always, it never hurts to check with local authorities on what to do.

  • 1
    Depending on seizmic zone glav metal strapping that could be wrapped around the bottom of this support and tied into the post. Possibly drilling and epoxy rebarring this support into the existing concrete that is in the earth. Mar 24, 2020 at 21:00
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    @Guest89 You can get a can or two of roof sealer, like WET PATCH, and smear it all over the posts and in the cracks between the wood and concrete. That will do a great job of sealing the wood. The stuff sticks better if the wood is fairly dry. I have no idea on what that would cost to have a pro do it. You can always get a few estimates and then re evaluate whether to try it yourself.
    – JACK
    Mar 24, 2020 at 21:27
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    Thanks @JACK, I will do that. I'm guessing my next step would also be to start removing the surrounding dirt even further away from the posts so that there is no opportunity for water to pool against the post?
    – Guest89
    Mar 24, 2020 at 21:32
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    @Guest89 Good starting point.
    – JACK
    Mar 24, 2020 at 21:40
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    Adding to Jacks answer, it looks to me that your posts are pressure treated and still rotted, that tells a lot. This type of PT is not rated for direct contact with soil. I think that your posts will be ok until this summer, and even if not, there is not a lot of risk should one fail. The posts were installed incorrectly. For the new posts, keep them above grade using one of the methods already suggested. Replace with PT wood, even though they wont' be in contact with soil
    – Ack
    Mar 24, 2020 at 21:40

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