Freestanding Deck + Frostline

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  #1  
Old 06-06-07, 11:02 AM
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Freestanding Deck + Frostline

Hello,

We're building a freestanding deck... not attached to the house or any other structure. Do we need to worry about pouring footings as deep as the "frostline" if our deck is freestanding?

In reading the Home Depot book "Decks 1-2-3" they show, as one of their examples, the building of a freestanding deck....

I just came across a line that states, "There is no frost line to deal with since this is a freestanding deck".

We live in MN.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 06-06-07, 11:29 AM
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Don't Agree With That Line

I don't agree with the line from HD ("There is no frost line to deal with since this is a freestanding deck").

I suppose they believe if the ground heaves due to frost/freezing, then all support posts will move at the same rate and distance. In reality, I doubt that would ever happen.

I'm old fashioned in that I believe in a good solid footer below the frost line. More work, but no issues about frost heaving either.
 
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Old 06-06-07, 12:39 PM
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Freestanding Deck + Frostline

If you don't care about how much your deck heaves every year AND if it ever comes back, then you can build without regard to the frost depth. That is if you do not have a code to protect you from yourself.

It is a waste of time and money to not go below the frost line with deck foundations. You have to go down anyway, so why not do it right.

You only have 4' to 5' to go. Use Sontube concrete forms and attach your wood posts to the top of the concrete with appropriate brackets.

Dick
 
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Old 06-06-07, 05:40 PM
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As I understand HDs term "free standing" they mean that the deck sits on preformed concrete blocks that sit on the surface of the ground, as opposed to in the ground. These blocks are made with cutouts to accept 4x4s on one side, and the flip side has cutouts to accept 2x6s or the like.
I believe that this deck building method escapes the requirement for a permit in some regions because it is "free standing" and not attached to the house.

A neighbour told me that he used these blocks to build his deck, and he claims it has'nt moved an inch in the 3 years since.

Regards
 
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Old 06-06-07, 07:21 PM
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Freestanding Deck + Frostline

What you are describing is a very poor form of construction that is not permitted in many areas. Just because the block sit on top of the ground, frost heaves are not eliminated and may be even greater.

Frost heaves can rack your deck and make it potentially useless unless you jack it up and put a decent foundation under it.

Even without codes, it is poor construction. This is about "flipper" level of construction at best.

Typical erroneous big bad box advice from poorly trained "associates".

Dick
 
  #6  
Old 02-28-08, 01:23 PM
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easy People

Relax Everyone,im not sure where you are at but i have been a carpenter for 20 + years and i have seen this tecnique, evolve and at first i laughed.. but codes in the midwest are now alowing freestanding stcutures to be built like this.. i drug my feet for along time busting my back building wheelchair ramps and decks the old school way...yep 36" deep holes and a footer.. average hole numbers varied from 10 to 40 OUCH.. so i gave it a try and have minitored the project for 4 years hand rails all still laser straight and no heave.... and yes ohio gets cooled


woodtwo5
 
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Old 02-28-08, 02:05 PM
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woodtwo5 -

I am from MN, where the original poster also lives and have been in construction for 25 years more than you.

You can get lucky on soil type and exposure and not have a problem for a few years.

In MN, you have a variety of soil types, some of which will never heave, but others will have disasters.

Without any more information, you should always follow the code suggestions even without a permit. the code is the worst you can built and still be safe. Sometimes code is not good enough.
 
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Old 02-28-08, 03:45 PM
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Ya your right on that bro, i think that a simple deck shouldnt be over dramatised.. i got my tips from builders in wisconsin.. who do what i do, like i said it gets cold out here... i ve been really happy with the out come of the project i refered to earlier.. gonna go to seattle and do one for my brother and im not doubting my tecniques for even one second...yep on sand on clay you really never know what can happen.... and codes here are not just made up on the toss of a dime.. like i said ive been watching for years , dragging my feet.. it works bro...so far so good

woodster
 
  #9  
Old 02-28-08, 03:56 PM
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not to worry dude there will always a call for concrete, in this application its just overkill
 
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