Step 3: Set Footings and Piers

Tom Silva setting the pier of an on-grade deck
Photo: David Carmack
«»
Set up batter boards and mason's strings and determine footing locations at the deck's outside corners and at 8-foot intervals along the front rim joist. Mark each location, then temporarily remove the mason's strings.

At each footing location, dig a hole wide enough to hold the footing form and deep enough to extend below frost line.

Assemble footing and pier forms according to the manufacturer's instructions, then position one in each hole. Gently backfill.

To determine each pier's finish height, run a level line from the top of the ledger to the pier tube. From this line, measure down 1/16 inch per foot of the pier's distance from the house, plus the height of the rim joist and post base. Mark the form at this point. Repeat for each pier. Trim pier tubes at these marks.

Check the positioning of the piers and adjust if necessary. Fill with concrete, using a shovel to work out air pockets (above). Allow the concrete to cure for one week.
Ask TOH users about Decks

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • hammer drill
      Hammer-drill with masonry bit
    • drill
      1/2-inch drill with 3/8-inch bit
    • socket wrench
      Socket wrench
    • plumb bob
      Plumb bob and string
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • two-foot level
      Level
    • chalk line
      Chalk line
    • concrete mixer
      Concrete mixer,
      or mixing trough and hoe
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • impact wrench
      Impact wrench
    • flat blade shovel
      Shovel
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • utility knife
      Utility knife

    Shopping List

    1. 5X4-INCH DECKING LUMBER

    2. 2X8 PRESSURE-TREATED LUMBER for the joists

    3. 2X10 PRESSURE-TREATED LUMBER for the ledger, beams and rim joists

    4. FIBERBOARD PIER FORM

    5. PLASTIC FOOTING FORM

    6. CONCRETE

    7. LEDGER FASTENERS lag screws and/or carriage bolts

    8. POLYURETHANE MARINE SEALANT

    9. FACE-MOUNTED JOIST HANGERS

    10. POST BASES

    11. MASONRY EXPANSION BOLTSto fasten post bases to concrete piers

    12. SILICONIZED ACRYLIC CAULK

    13. METAL FLASHING

    14. 6D, 12D, AND 16D GALVANIZED OR STAINLESS STEEL COMMON NAILS

    15. 8D GALVANIZED OR STAINLESS STEEL FINISH NAILS

    16. 5/8-INCH ROOFING NAILS

    17. SELF-ADHERING WATERPROOF MEMBRANE

    18. CONCEALED-FLANGE AND FACE-MOUNTED DOUBLE JOIST HANGERS AND HANGER NAILS

    19. CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE