faster, easier Options for Deck Foundations

There are simpler ways to support your deck

You all know how much work and effort and money it takes to install traditional concrete deck foundations - or footings. Not to mention time waiting for concrete to cure. It's the hardest part of building a deck.

In some cases, given the height of a deck, you have connect it to the ledger of the home. And I am afraid that means you must install proper concrete footing foundations that go below frost line so the deck doesn't move independently in relation to the home.

Most Decks Can Be "Free Standing" or "Floating"

Did you know this?

If your deck is 6 feet or less, with proper post to beam and joist bracing your deck is a perfect candidate for a floating deck.

This means you you have some options for your deck foundation that can save you money, time and effort.

Here are your deck footing options:

Deck Blocks

Deck post block

The cheapest deck foundations are concrete deck blocks that just sit on the ground. Usually less than $10 a piece. You have to buy a lot of them to make sure that you spread the weight of your deck out over enough soil surface area that they don't sink due to the weight.

But if you are in a high wind zone - and much of the continental United States, and parts of Canada are - you have to also install ground anchors with tie-down cables over the deck framing to make sure it won't achieve "Lift-Off" in a worst case scenario. 

However, they only hold 4x4 posts, not 6x6s and they have no lateral strength at the base of the post. And if you drop set the framing into the groove, the underside of the joist is still 5-6" above grade. You may want a lower set deck. These are the cheapest deck foundations solutions anywhere.

Engineered Helical Piers

These have been around for a long time and are proven technology.

But they usually require heavy machinery to install and are most common for foundation repair to homes and all of this requires close review by engineers and of course the cost reflects this as it is a top notch high end solution. They are usually way too expensive for a light weight deck structure. But these systems are designed so they do not budge if there is frost heave.

If you are connecting your deck or structure to a home, then this is an important consideration.

Ground Anchored Spikes

Fence post spike

You have seen ground spikes used for fence posts. Some of them can use modified load plates and are less expensive than an engineered helical pier and provide more lateral strength than surface block deck block footing.

But the installation method is either brute strength with a sledge hammer or use a jack hammer.  A lot of home owners aren't interested in learning how to use or take time to rent a jack hammer. Plus, if the spike goes in crooked or you have to back it out to re-angle or re-install it, it is really tough to do without special pulleys and tools. Despite these issues, they are an affordable option.

If you go this route, I would recommend to take a look at the Oz-Deck system rather than the cheap version you see in the picture above.  The Oz-Deck has a load plate unlike the spike shown in the photo above.  It is well made and very reliable. However I am not sure if they are making the Oz-Deck anymore so do check with them.

Ground Screw Anchored Footings

A screw in the ground style of footing

Here is a nice twist on the concept of a ground screw or anchor that can be used to displace weight.  It is called the Titan Deck Foot Anchor. This is a fast and easy solution for supporting any light weight structure that is floating or free standing from a house. You just screw the auger portion into the ground using an impact wrench. So there is no kick back. It's a lightweight hand held tool.

And then you can screw on any post bracket you need. So if you hit an obstacle like a rock, you just reverse it out and move over a bit. The new version now has a lateral slide feature that allows for the saddle to move left or right up to 3".  For any floating deck this is a very good option to consider.  Each footing can support up to a minimum of 19,000 psf according to independent Intertek destruction testing. You can learn more here. It is well made and very reliable.

Flat Concrete Forms

Fence post spike

If you are set on using concrete footings for your decks foundation, then I want to share with you a truly great system that is so easy to use - other than the digging and mixing concrete. It's a flat concrete form that saves so much space transporting instead of big round sonotube forms.  And its design incorporates a bell shaped footing so you don't need to spend another $25 on a heavy duty plastic bell shaped form.

This is a great idea and I really want to share this with you and congratulate the inventor for such an elegantly designed solution. Contact or for local availability. Or read further if you want to learn more.

Just A Few Choices For You

A few ways to design foundations for your deck.

This is just a quick summary of some of the ways you can build your deck foundations on your deck. If you can get away will a floating style for a free standing deck, go for it. Otherwise, do investigate the flat form footing concept.

Looking for more information? Take a Closer Look At Flat Forms

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