When you’re having a deck built on your home, chances are you’ve heard your deck and patio installation contractor talk about deck footings. However, believe it or not, some homeowners don’t actually know much about deck footings. As a homeowner who’s having one built, it’s best that you learn everything you can about the deck footing, such as:
1. Loading – When you’re having a deck built, the footings must support two kinds of loads: dead and live loads. The dead load of the deck is the weight of its permanent elements, such as the posts, beams, railing, framing, decking and stairs before the live loads like snow, furniture or people are even on it. According to deck construction pros, most building codes require decks to be able to support a total of 50 pounds per square foot, with 10 pounds going to dead loads and the remaining 40 for live loads.
2. Soil consistencies – This may come as a shock, but the soil of your property plays a part in your deck construction plans. This is because since soils vary, their ability to support a load varies as well. For instance, loose-soil has minimum load bearing capabilities compared to heavy clay or compacted soils. With that in mind, it’s best that you first contact your local building department and ask them if the quality of your soil is suitable for a deck building project before you even start planning it.
3. Slopes and codes – On the other hand, if your deck’s posts are going to be set in sloping terrains, special attention will be needed for your deck. When it comes to this situation, you’ll have to meet the specifications of local codes for depth and construction while also needing at least seven feet of soil from the bottom of the footing to the surface.
4. Drainage tips – Finally, most building codes also require that a deck footing has at least three to six inches of gravel in the bottom to allow water to drain away from the post.