Placing Beams Directly on Footings

by Malcolm
(Toronto, ON)

I'm planning to build a low (16") deck with beams resting directly on the Titan Deck Foot anchor (no posts). For your product, since it rests directly on grade, I would therefore have to ensure that the ground is perfectly level to get level beams.

Also, there is no slot in the 'saddle' to allow for misaligned footings?




Editor's Comments

This is a great question. If you are using the deck foot anchor in order to rest your deck as low to the grade as possible - and with the deck foot anchor you can set beams as low as 2" above the grade if you really want to go that low - there are a couple things to consider.

Yes, the footings all have to be close to perfectly level with each other. And that means the grade also would have to be levelled reasonably close. However if all the footings are within one to one and one half inches from each other you can use shims or spacers in the low areas to support under the beam in the bracket and still have enough length of the side vertical bracket to easily secure the beam.

This technique is great if you need it or want tf but yes, there does have to be a certain degree of parity among all the footings.

Your next question about misaligned footings needs to be addressed. If you are supporting a beam with three or more footings than it becomes important that all the footing are no more that a half inch to one inch off of the imaginary center line running the length of the proposed beam location.

The reason is obvious and that is because the beam will not fit in the brackets that are too far out of line. However, if you just use two 2x8s with the 4x4 or three 2x8s with the 6x6 post bracket and do not install a spacer between the laminated 2x material then the width of the beam is about 1/2" smaller than the post bracket opening.

This give you some room to play with and be off line by a little bit. So if you hit a rock and cannot locate the beam exactly where you first wanted, you can move the location down the imaginary beam center line a bit forward or backward until you can drive the auger all the way down.


Beams Set On Post Brackets Near House


Beams can be set into post brackets for low elevation decks

If you look closely at this photo you will see near the house that the beam has been set right on the post brackets of the deck foot anchor. This allows the beam to be 2" above grade. And the perimeter joists are attached to the beam and each sequential beam as you move further from the house. So the joists and beams are flush with each other and the infield joists will be hung with joist hangers.

This is one useful technique you might consider.

This is a great question and I hope this has explained things reasonably well for you and other visitors.

You can also read more about the deck foot anchor here.

2016 Update: Laterally Adjustable Post Bracket


For those of you who were asking about a lateral adjustment feature to the post brackets on the Titan Deck Foot Anchor, a new bracket has been developed and will be made available later in 2016.

This new post bracket is perfect for all previous applications but in addition now allows for up to 2" of variance off a straight line so that a builder can run a common beam over an infinite number of footings and still be able to ensure each post bracket is perfectly aligned with the next.

Thanks for you feedback. The Titan development team listens very closely...

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Jun 13, 2016
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gravel settling
by: Malcolm

In the fall, I completed placing the beams directly on the footings. Since the beams were long, and the spiral anchor wanders when you drive it into the ground, I had to use a couple of the bigger size post brackets to lay the beam into. However, one problem I now see is that over the winter the gravel has settled, so now the plate is LOOSE on top of the gravel and their is lateral movement of the bracket. (can't see a way to submit a photo)

Editor's Comments

As long as you tightened the plate securely to the auger the entire anchor will still be anchored into the ground and the forces acting on it are compression, not lateral, so the weight above it will still be displaced over the area of the load plate and your deck will be fine.

If you hit a rock or obstacle and you try to wind your way around it, depending on the size and shape of the rock or obstacle the auger will wobble and move around it. As a result you will be churning up soil and creating a cavity to some degree.

Ideally if their is a rock or immovable obstruction you would back out the auger, move the location a bit further down the line and try again. Ultimately, if there are rocks all over a helical or spike type system will not work. So you have to keep that in mind and accept that as one of the limitations of the style of anchor.

Also if there is no compacted stone dust under the plate and there is a lot of rain water moving over the footing, loose soil can and will be carried away. The sod must be removed and loose soil (2-3" or so) must be replaced with small crushed stone for compaction and to ensure soil does not erode.

Bottom line is, the footing is still anchored into the ground and will still be doing its job of carrying load to the soil. You can send photos to admin[at]decksgo.com anytime also.


May 05, 2016
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Lateral adjustment available yet?
by: Alex

In regards to the 2016 lateral adjustment comment, are these available as of May 2016? I am in the process of planning a low level deck also and this would be helpful.

Editor's Comments

The lateral adjustment feature will be not be available until the existing inventory is sold. Once this inventory is depleted it will be replaced with the new version. This could happen as early as late 2016 but for sure in 2017. So it will be a bit longer until it is available.

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