Options for footings

by Andre
(Hamilton, Ontario)

I am building a deck in my backyard and have had a hard time finding the building codes for Hamilton, Ontario.

The deck will only sit 2 feet off the ground but it will be roughly 20x20 feet. I am wondering if I am in need of a ledger board or if I can build it without attaching it to the house.

Also, due to the small height of the deck, is it necessary for me to put posts or will deck blocks suffice? Thanks for the help!

Editor's Comments:

I am unaware of any prohibition against building a deck that is free standing/floating or not connected to the ledger of the house. In fact, this is a very popular method of construction.

Easily 80% or more of residential decks built after construction of the home are not ledger connected. And particularly for lower decks like your which is only 2' above grade deck blocks would work fine and should be completely appropriate.

The minute you attach your deck to the ledger you are going to have to dig deep footings and pour concrete in order to ensure that the footings never move during winter. You would also most certainly trigger a building permit requirement.

I am aware however of some towns and cities that have created new bylaws to try to further "catch" more people building decks by making it a requirement to obtain a building permit when the area of the deck exceeds 200 sqft as an example.

In addition, some areas are now requiring deck blocks be set on 2'x2' precast concrete patio squares I presume to spread the load more.

I hope this will help point you in the right direction.

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