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Build a deck foundation

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : Week-end Project

A sound deck foundation is crucial for the construction of a one or two level patio so it is important that this is decided before any details are written down. This also includes where the deck will be built and the type of ground where the foundation will sit.
There are four types of foundations for your deck: concrete pillars with footings; concrete pillars without footings; concrete deck blocks: and screwable posts However, from the standpoint of construction stability, we suggest you build a foundation with footing. One weekend is all it takes to get a secure deck foundation in place and ready for the deck installation.


Tools and materials required


  • Carpenter's level
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • Gardener's hoe
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Pickets
  • Plumb line
  • Shovel
  • Square
  • Powered compactor if using deck blocks
  • Post hole digger (for concrete pillars without footings)
  • Geotextile


  • Anchoring screws
  • Bags of pre-mixed concrete or ready-made concrete
  • Cylindrical forms (Sonotubes®) or 4" deck blocks
  • Galvanized 4" post saddles (if using concrete)
  • Carriage bolts, nuts and washers
  • Galvanized joist hangers and brackets
  • Galvanized screws and nails
  • Lag screws and washers
  • Reinforcing mesh (if using concrete)
  • Reinforcing wire (If using concrete)
  • Treated wood beams and posts   

Before Assembly

Always wear gloves and glasses.

Never burn treated wood scraps as the fumes are noxious.

Calculate the amount of concrete needed to ascertain if it is more cost effective to buy bags of concrete mix or book a truck with pre-mixed concrete.

Always put footings below the frost line or follow the guidelines of the area where the deck will be constructed.

Check with municipal regulations regarding how close deck footings can be placed to the property line.


The National Building Code of Canada establishes guidelines for the construction of buildings and various structures, including decks. However, these standards can vary depending on the local building requirements in effect in a particular province or municipality.


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Helpful Information

Building a deck requires a solid foundation.
Build a deck foundation