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Love me some Concrete
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, here's my question...

I have built numerous decks but always have dug footings 48" deep. Is it possible to build a deck around a above ground pool and only setting the 4x4's on the concrete blocks (pier blocks)? It will not be attached to the house, the pool will be changed in the next few years and thus the reason the customer does not want footings.

The deck height will be 48" and 22 feet long x 8 feet at it's narrowest and 16 at it's longest which is both ends of the oval pool. The pool was dug into a hill and they used rail road ties for the wall at 4 feet high and 30 feet long. Dumb thing is they stacked the rail road ties without interlacing them as they went up, hard to explain but it means actually there are 4 individual walls with a railroad tie burried 3' deep and vertical on each walls, they will not act as 1 structure because they are not tied together in anyway.

So I am also nervous that the wall will move outward into the deck and if there are footings, it will cause some serious problems, which a floating deck might also have problems with.

Of course this deck is for a friend (won't make what I should) and I am not sure I can convince him that footings are needed as he feels it is temporary.

So basically, can a deck be built away from the house about 20 feet and not need footings? I know it will shift up and down a bit but the HO watching the DIY network all the time doesn't help because they build decks like that all the time.

Be kind...I think it needs footings but can it be done correctly without?
 

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When I do above ground pool decks the post along the pool wall get put on pads, all others get footings. We have no frostline issues to deal with tho.
 

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Love me some Concrete
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When I do above ground pool decks the post along the pool wall get put on pads, all others get footings. We have no frostline issues to deal with tho.
I know I do not want to have one side with footings an the other side with none. Frost heave is bad here and I would be afraid it would tear itself apart. Kind of a all or nothing deal.
 

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Love me some Concrete
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They're still a joke though.
Yeah, not sure I can even bring myself to do it.

I get roped into it by the "Hey I need a small deck and can you take a look at it?" So I go start laying out what I thought and he comes out, explains this monster deck, "I think it can be framed in a day" turns into an easy 4, minimum! He only wants me to frame as he will put the decking down but damn, gonna be tough!
 

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Yeah, not sure I can even bring myself to do it.

I get roped into it by the "Hey I need a small deck and can you take a look at it?" So I go start laying out what I thought and he comes out, explains this monster deck, "I think it can be framed in a day" turns into an easy 4, minimum! He only wants me to frame as he will put the decking down but damn, gonna be tough!
I knew the blocks were hokey when I first saw them but I was curious how they worked, so I did quite a bit of research on them. The idea is fair for a temporary deck or super low budget on flat ground but anything beyond that and they're just stupid.
 

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Love me some Concrete
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I knew the blocks were hokey when I first saw them but I was curious how they worked, so I did quite a bit of research on them. The idea is fair for a temporary deck or super low budget on flat ground but anything beyond that and they're just stupid.
Thanks, temporary is ok but of course this is not flat land! Literally is on a decent 4 ft hill.
 

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Heres a deck that met code where I used pier jacks. This is a 90 year old home and the HO didn't want a lot of concrete poured. We have no Frost heave whatsoever here though.
 

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If it's not attached then your city may not require permits. If you're using piers only then whatever size the bottom of the pier is will be your footing. Your footings need two things; place below frost line, and have a large enough spread to carry the load. If you don't know how to calculate the size of your footing then look up the Deck Construction Guide by the American Wood Council. There is a chart telling you how to figure footing size.
 

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I'm pretty sure the piers are best suited for much lower decks. Your deck will be 48" high. Add to that, a lot of people playing, kids rough-housing, jumping from the deck to the pool, etc.

If the deck collapses, and possibly falls into the pool, someone could get hurt or worse.

in my opinion, free standing decks need more stability that prevents lateral movement. You can't get that with piers.

Either build it the way YOU want it or pass. The money ain't worth the lost sleep.

When he removes the pool, he can remove the footings. It's not impossible. But much safer until that day comes.
 

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Love me some Concrete
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No permit needed, he is out in the county and they do not require a permit. I still need to meet standard codes in my book, especially as jb4211 stated about the amount of people jumping and playing (which because of scope of project, I really didn't think about, thank you). Because if something happens, I realize even if my friend doesn't want to sue me, his insurance company or other injuried parties will.

I am going to state we need footings, thanks for all the help all, exactly what I needed, the voice of reason! I don't like the voice of reason though!

Good thing he has a 16 year old son and lots of kids who will use the pool that have extra time this summer! Because I am not digging the holes, LOL!
 

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Burying posts helps with lateral stability alot. If its free standing and not attached the house I think most of us in the country will be exempt from frost footings. It would have to still have an eave hieght less than 10 ft though.

I did a few with lots of cross bracing. It was the only way to prevent the racking.
 

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. Because if something happens, I realize even if my friend doesn't want to sue me, his insurance company or other injuried parties will.
LOL!
I just want to add something that many don't consider. It's not about your friend suing you. When someone get seriously injured, there is a likelihood that they will sue your friend, in other words his home owners insurance. The insurance company will settle quickly most likely. But, the insurance company will want to know who built the structure that failed in an effort to persue legal action and recoup some of their money.

That is were you come in. Their investigation will eventually lead to you.

Just not worth the risk.
 

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Hold your nose and build your buddy's platform, just don't stamp your logo anywhere. haha. Use plenty of cross bracing underneath to prevent racking as stated above. I wouldn't do it cheap though. Friends and family don't get lower prices. They may get preferential treatment as far as scheduling, but that's it. Are you a bad friend for saying no or is he a bad friend for trying to get cheap labor out of you? I say the latter. My buddies don't ask me to do it anymore. I'm always willing to HELP by answering questions or maybe a day of helping them on site, to get them started, but business is business.

Decks are often built on top of the footings. It's not uncommon to pour footings and bolt the posts down to top of the footing. Less likely for the posts to rot. The post doesn't have to be buried. Same concept here. The deck height is up there so it would be best to use 6x6 instead of 4x4 for even more stability. I don't think the deck blocks can be used with 6x6 posts though. Because its on a hill I'd try to anchor it somehow. Also be prepared that the deck may not remain the flattest structure in the world.
 

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Diamond piers? We have not used them yet but they were just recently approved in our area.

Diamond pier video

Seems like it would work in clean soil but I have yet to build a deck in one of these locations. :rolleyes: We always have rock and ledge to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dig 12" diameter holes to about 42", drop your posts in and fill with gravel.

It is temporary right?

That should do for a couple years and no too much money.

Andy.
Forgot about that, I have done vinyl 2 and 3 rail fence and they recommend to pea gravel and not concrete due to vinyl expanding and contracting. Didn't even think about that with 4 x 4's though.
 

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Love me some Concrete
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just want to add something that many don't consider. It's not about your friend suing you. When someone get seriously injured, there is a likelihood that they will sue your friend, in other words his home owners insurance. The insurance company will settle quickly most likely. But, the insurance company will want to know who built the structure that failed in an effort to persue legal action and recoup some of their money.

That is were you come in. Their investigation will eventually lead to you.

Just not worth the risk.
When I read you're first post I knew you were right, hasn't even thought about it, thanks.
 

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Love me some Concrete
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hold your nose and build your buddy's platform, just don't stamp your logo anywhere. haha. Use plenty of cross bracing underneath to prevent racking as stated above. I wouldn't do it cheap though. Friends and family don't get lower prices. They may get preferential treatment as far as scheduling, but that's it. Are you a bad friend for saying no or is he a bad friend for trying to get cheap labor out of you? I say the latter. My buddies don't ask me to do it anymore. I'm always willing to HELP by answering questions or maybe a day of helping them on site, to get them started, but business is business.

Decks are often built on top of the footings. It's not uncommon to pour footings and bolt the posts down to top of the footing. Less likely for the posts to rot. The post doesn't have to be buried. Same concept here. The deck height is up there so it would be best to use 6x6 instead of 4x4 for even more stability. I don't think the deck blocks can be used with 6x6 posts though. Because its on a hill I'd try to anchor it somehow. Also be prepared that the deck may not remain the flattest structure in the world.
I just can't half ass it though, just not in me and if I start then decide it needs footings I am screwing myself and as much fun as that is from time to time, I just do not get the same satisfaction. :whistling
 
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