Deck Building Footings

We reveal the 5 most common Deck Building Footings Options as the different ways that could be use to raise and stabilize your deck design.

We have seen all five of these different methods used but we only use a couple of them ourselves.

The choice you make may depend on how quickly you want to build your deck, the location of your deck, the deck building regulations for your local area and the materials you have readily available for your deck building footings.

Your choice will also depend on how determined you are that you deck design investment should be an asset to your home, a selling point if you decide to move on and even possibly add value to your home.

The main reasons to create deck building footings are to:

  • Stabilize your decking construction and to...
  • Raise your decking above the ground...
  • to keep your wood above the soil level
  • to raise your deck above and away from grass and planting
  • to allow your deck to drain when it rains
  • to allow for an air-flow below your deck which will help keep your wood dry and healthy

It's very important to protect your decking timber by raising it above the ground, this - together with regular decking timber treatments will help stop mildew, wood rot and insects from attacking and eating your deck. The correct deck building footings enable you to do this...

Attached Deck built over grass

This is the most popular deck building footings, not only the favourite with professional deck builders but also the most accepted by local building offices and for anyone planning to build a serious deck as great a home improvement project with the aim to try to add value to your home.

deck design picture

Holes are dug straight down to below the frost level, small stones are dropped into the bottom for drainage and an 8" cement tube is placed into the hole and cement filled. A "J bolt" is placed carefully into the top center of the cement before it sets.

This is the most stable form of deck building footings that will last the longest and provide the most value.

The effort to dig the holes, fill with cement and place the J bolt - getting everything square - is well worth the time spent.

Attaching a Beam Directly onto
Concrete Footings

If the drop from your back door to the ground is less than 24" you probably won't have the required height to use 4 x 4 wooden posts to raise your deck off the ground as in the example above.

As long as regulations allow in your area - you may have to connect your end beams and/or mid beams directly on top of your cement footings.

deck beam anchor picture

This illustration shows you the two piece connection hardware that is available to help you do this - in this case you have something other than a "J" bolt that you need to secure into the concrete before it sets.

- the bottom part it is like a very wide "U" shape where the bottom of the U is carefully embedded in the cement at the correct direction and angle before it sets and when the footing is dry the upper parts of the U clamp down on both sides of the main part of this beam anchor hardware as shown.

This is an easy to use and clever piece of decking hardware that will save you a lot of time and effort. This method is frequently used as a solution in low profile, ground level decks - so low that no steps or deck railings are required.

Deck Building Footings : Attached or detached deck over a solid cement patio

Placing a ground level - one step up - deck over a cement patio gives you the opportunity to hide ugly old - even uneven cement work and create an attractive outdoor space.

Anchor post decking over cement

Using deck anchors which drill into the cement and into the decking posts gives you the chance to easily create a stable and level surface over uneven ground by adapting the length of your individual posts.

Cement ground covering under your deck is ideal to prevent weeds from growing up to your decking timber, just make sure that water can easily drain off not only the deck but also off the cement under and not support a pool of water.

Using slabs over a concrete slab patio

A quick and easy solution to build a ground level deck without lifting concrete slabs is to use one of two spare slabs per post to raise the pallet style deck.

Post anchors could be used to anchor the posts into the top slab of each leg if you can successfully drill in without cracking the slab.

decking over patio slabs

This is a quick and easy solution for a type of deck design footings, but not necessarily the best if you are aiming for a deck to add value.

Also if you are planning to extend later to encompass a hot tub or swimming pool this option may not give you the stability your deck design deserves.

Using concrete building blocks for a free standing garden deck

If you are planning to build a free standing deck in your garden - away from your homes exterior walls you can of course use the first option and get superior quality stabilization with concrete footings embedded into the ground.

I have seen another option, not necessarily one I would use myself but it can be quick and easy - especially if you are building over level ground.

Dig out rectangular sections of grass and soil bigger than the size of the blocks you are going to use. Settle the blocks in and make sure they are steady (i.e. remove any stones) and you are ready to build your deck construction straight on top.

garden deck supports

Cement blocks come in different sizes of thickness - you want to use the size necessary to make sure your deck is off the grass underneath.

A TOP TIP is to cover the area under the proposed deck with a sheet of landscape material with gravel or pebbles placed on top - this will help prevent re-growth of any vegetation while still allowing for rainwater drainage.


Final Note on deck building Footings

Firm foundations in the form of stable and firm deck building footings are essential for building a quality deck that will last the test of time and add quality to your home life as well as being counted as an asset to your home.

Deck Design Software
All our deck building footings illustrations were made using Corel Draw - our prefered design software.

Related deck building topics

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