Digging the holes for the deck piers is probably the one step of the whole deck building project that I am least looking forward to. I am constructing a large deck and it will likely involve about 27 - 18" diameter holes. Fortunately I only have to go about 2' deep. Now I am certainly either going to rent an auger myself or hire someone to come in with a bobcat with an auger attachment.
One option is renting whats called a powerhouse prodigy with an 18" auger and doing it myself. Anyone used one of these before? I assume it is much easier on you than one of those 2-man auger rigs. Do you typically install a sonotube into the augered hole or just fill the hole? I assume the sonotube stays there forever, is that right? I know this may be a tricky question, but how many holes can I hope to accomplish in a day assuming one person is just going from hole to hole and not stopping to clear the hole?
Another option is hiring someone with a bobcat with an auger attachment. Does a bobcat make quicker work of this process.
I was also planning on having a concrete truck come with a load of concrete and filling all the holes at once rather than trying to mix onsite. Again, if anyone knows how long it would take me fill 27 holes would be handy, as the concrete truck charges me an extra $75 for each hour they have to sit there.
I will certainly take any tips on laying out the piers, leveling the piers, backfilling, do you place gravel in the bottom, does it get tamped down or any tricks of the trade that anyone cares to share.