People don't typically pay much attention to what's underneath their deck. But if you think about it, the footings supporting the deck are carrying thousands and thousands of pounds of weight. And what's on your deck, is valuable - BBQ, patio furniture - OH, and your children, elderly parents, friends, and family.
So it's very important that every structural component of your deck is built safe and strong. And the first structural component in the process of building a deck is the footings.
Traditionally, these footings were most commonly concrete piles. But over the last decade or two, new products and advancements have been made to address the issues of concrete piles: they're a ton of work, they're messy, they're expensive, and if not done correctly, they simply don't work and can be the first cause of failure.
In many markets, smaller or lower decks do not required concrete piles. Instead they can be installed with footings resting ON the ground as opposed to in the ground. Check your local building department to see when and where these options might be okay.
At The Ultimate Deck Shop, with our two stores in Saskatchewan, we have many footing options available, but two are easily the most common over the others: GH Levellers and Helical Screw Piles.
Below are four common footing options that are available at The Ultimate Deck Shop (however, concrete for large concrete piles should come from a concrete plant). These all have their purpose, but this chart should help you to figure out which one is right for YOUR project:
Pylex Screw Pile
|Helical Screw Pile
|Hire it Out
|Hire It Out
|Ease of Install
|Wind Uplift Resistance
|None with typical install.
|None with typical install
|Frost Heave Resistance
|None, but adjustable.
|None, but adjustable.
|Typical Install Process
|Excavate grass or loose soil about 3-4 inches. Add approx 1" of sand or gravel for leveling. Add 16x16x2" concrete slab. GH Leveller rests on slab.
|Twist light duty screw pile into the ground using a heavy impact wrench or manually with a 2x4.
|Excavate hole to a depth suitable for your area (Saskatchewan 14-18 feet). Haul excavated earth away to a dump site. Insert sono-tube concrete form. Fill hole with concrete to above grade. Insert or attach post saddle.
|Heavy duty screw pile is driven in hydraulically with machinery.
|Shovel, drill, spade bit.
|2x4 or heavy impact wrench.
|Heavy machinery with large auguer, extensions, and bucket for removal of earth. Possible dump truck.
|Machinery with hydraulic drive.