Have You Ever Built a Deck? Do You Want to in the Future?

Reader Contribution by Heidi Hunt

Summer is over, so many of you may be thinking of projects that didn’t get done during nice weather: expanding the vegetable garden, repairing the front porch steps or even building a backyard deck.

But don’t lament what didn’t get done — plan how you’ll get it done when the weather warms again. 

I’m considering putting a small deck adjacent to my house’s patio, one that would dry quickly after a Midwest spring rain. First things first, I need to decide upfront how much time and energy I can put into this outdoor building project. What’s most pressing for me to figure out is the footings, which go into the ground and support the legs or posts of the deck.

I could dig 3-foot deep holes and fill them with cement, making sturdy and freeze-resistant piers. This is a good idea, as I certainly don’t want the deck to warp and weave in response to seasonal changes.

On the other hand, I could use deck blocks, which sit on top of a base of fine gravel. They’re easy to move around, require no digging and allow the project to move along more quickly. However, they are susceptible to frost heaving. But if I think it’s possible this deck wouldn’t be permanent, it would be easier to take it apart and relocate it if I used deck blocks.

Have you built a deck? What approach did you take to support the posts? Are you dreaming of building a deck? Share your experiences and plans by posting a comment below.

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