Piles or Cement Blocks?

by Donald
(Saskatoon , Saskatchewan Canada)

What is the code in Canada for building a deck on a house in regards to piles or cement blocks? If the deck is not attached to the house, will cement blocks(pier style) be enough? If we attach the deck to the house, do we need piles and how deep do they need to be? The soil is sandy and rocks are about 1 - 2 feet down. This is a house at a lake.

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Jul 03, 2010
Dig deep if you connect to the house
by: John

If you connect to the house then you are going to have to dig below whatever your frost line is in your area.

Could be 4' so you would want your footings below that around 5'. Your building department will tell you that and their comments will be based on their knowledge of your building code.

Basically once that deck connects to the house you have to have footings that are not ever going to move from frost heave.

Free Standing Deck

If your deck is free standing it's a different story.

You still have to build a basic structure that complies with all the code stipulations relative to the proper and safe functioning of that deck such as joist spacing, beams, stair width, rails etc.

But you don't have to have footings that go below frost.

It's optional in most cases and that is why some people just set their deck on concrete blocks.

Or there are other foundation systems like the Titan Deck Foot Anchor that screws into the ground with a loading plate above to spread the weight.

Keep in mind a deck sitting on blocks or ground attached anchors of whatever sort can still sink if you don't have enough footings for the load that sits on that deck and if the soil can support the few blocks you have used.

Usually a footing underground is bigger, more surface area so less are required. Just from experience but call you local building department to confirm this for your area.

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