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Deck Footings – Deck Building Step by Step Part 2

Deck Footings – Deck Building Step by Step Part 2
This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Building My Deck Step by Step
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Laying Out The Footings

Now that you have ordered your materials it is now time to start laying out our deck footings.

On my deck I need 5 piers that are each over 48” in depth. Why over 48”, because this the level at which the frost line is at. To keep our new deck from moving around in the winter time building a set of good footings is an important step in creating a deck that remains level and lasts a long time.

To start with I am going to layout the 3 deck footings that are required for my main posts and beam. These will be spaced as per my drawings and spaced evenly between the posts and equally between the posts and my house.

How do you find the locations to dig holes for the deck footings?

I use a batter board system and the side of my house and the old deck footings as starting points. The batter boards are made from some 2×4’s that are about 2 ft long and they are attached to some 1x2x24” stakes. These batter boards are then inserted in the ground at points that are about 2 feet wider and 2 feet longer then layouts lines and batter boardsthe overall deck size.

Next I attached a string to the side of my house, low enough to align with the old footings of the old deck and pulled this string out to my batter board that is perpendicular to the sidewall and attached the string to a nail and nailed the nail into the 2×4 of my batter board. This string gave me a point I can now square my other line to that I need to locate my piers.

To find out where I needed to start my second line at I measured the distance from the house to the center of my footings and put a nail into the top of the second batter board at this measurement and attached the start of my second line there.

With the help of my wife I was able to pull this second line across to the batter board across and horizontal to this one and squared the line using the 3-4-5 theory from mathematics. Learn this method here

Once I had it square I was able to nail this second line to the top of the second batter board. This second line now is the center line of my piers away from the house.

tools for digging deck footingsNow we can locate the centers of each of my 3 piers easily.

From my drawings I know the space from the outer edge of my deck to the center of the first of the deck footings so I locate that by measuring from the point at which my two lines cross the measurement from my drawings.

I use a plumb bob to drop at this point and put a stake in the ground. Next I measure for the second and third posts the same way and mark their spots with the plumb bob and insert stakes at each location.  We are now ready to start digging out our holes for the sonotubes.

Before I start digging I mark the diameter of each hole so I remain accurate in the location of each hole.  I know that I am using a 10 inch sono tube so I mark a hole that is about 12 inches in diameter. At this point I take my spade shovel and remove the grass and top soil so I can start using my post hole digger.

After about 3 hours of work my first 3 holes are 48 inches deep and complete.  I can now add the sono tubes to each hole so I can pour concrete. I used my layout line as a level when I installed my tubes and fastened some small boards to each of the sono tube with wooden supportstubes so they remain level and centered.

Pouring Concrete and Inserting Rebar Reinforcements

So to pour concrete that I made by using the bags you can purchase from the home stores. For each foot in depth of a 10 inch dia tube I calculated I need one bag of concrete which for my whole job that will be 25 bags. I mixed one bag at a time in my wheel barrel and used my shovel to load the concrete into each hole pouring the concrete footings and inserting rebarwhile tamping the air out as I went with a narrow stick (You could rent or purchase a vibrator that goes on the end of a drill but I do not think this is necessary for this small job). After loading about the 4th bag I inserted two #10 coated rebars into each of the footings as an extra measure of reinforcement. Then I added the remaining concrete and leveled off each pier and let them dry for a few days before building.

Series Navigation<< Planning and Materials – Deck Building Step by Step Part 1 .... Posts, Beam and Ledger Board – Step by Step Deck Building Part 3 >>
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Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any woodworking or home improvement task!

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