Diggin Deck Post Foundation

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Old 08-14-10, 05:33 AM
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Question Diggin Deck Post Foundation

So, I am ready to build my mini deck. Reading the county (i.e. Prince William County, VA) typical deck design, it says that I need to dig to the undisturbed soil if the deck post is within 5' from the house foundation/wall.

I have a walk-up basement and my house was built in 2004.

Does it mean I have to dig till I hit sand (i.e. at the bottom of the basement) which is about 9'??

If yes, do you know how I can dig this deep of holes?
How much do you think if I contract out such job?

Thanks for your input!
 
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Old 08-14-10, 06:33 AM
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Undisturbed earth is a point where the ground has not been backfilled, tilled, recently added to, etc. Most likely your undisturbed earth is on top. HOWEVER, your footings have to be dug to the point of the prescribed frost line. It can vary from 6" in Florida to 3 or 4' in Massachusetts. So check with the county for the depth they require. Within 5' of the foundation may include disturbed earth at the time of building the house. Surely your deck will be deeper than 5' from the house.
 
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Old 08-14-10, 08:08 AM
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My deck is actually a 3' x 8' landing with 4 steps to the ground.
The county considers that this is still a 'deck' and hence I need to dig deep for the foundation. It doesn't make any sense!
 
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Old 08-14-10, 10:15 AM
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The simple solution is to call your inspector and ask how deep the footers have to be. In most areas that is below frost.
 
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Old 08-14-10, 12:31 PM
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Be ready to dig footings as deep as the house. If under the 2006 Deck Code, which is for the IRC: http://www.lancova.com/deckinfo.pdf

The basement was dug larger than needed to install concrete wall or blocks, then back-filled. Even 50 years ago, still follow todays code.

Be safe, Gary
 
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Old 08-14-10, 02:07 PM
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Do you really need a permit?

If so, do not call the code office.

Go in person and talk to the person responsible for permits and inspection and ask him if you have to go 9' deep for a 3' deep x 8' wide deck/platform. If he admits that to you personally (face to face), you have no choice but to do it. If they give you a permit demand that come out and inspect it within a reasonable time.

Explain to him that the alternate is to get a permit and build a less than desirable alternate, such as a cantilevered deck, that requires several inspections to be proper. This is a permitted addition to an older home and have the right to have proper "code" enforcement even thought the forced alternate requires more cost and inspections to the authority.

A personal discussion with the people in charge of enforcement (if you have drawings/sketches) to look at brings some people back to sanity unless they are either stubborn or stupid. - A code is the worst way you can legally build, but there are usually better/sensible alternatives that can be approved for a specific situation.

Remember the code people work for you and your neighbors that want proper construction in the end. They should not as for extras for frivilous inspections and enforcement when there are better ways to use their experience, unless their experience is just reading.

Dick
 
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Old 08-14-10, 02:40 PM
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If they want 9' footings, maybe you should float the thing with Dek Blocks. NJ is the only state that doesn't allow a floating deck.
 
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Old 08-14-10, 10:21 PM
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Ask about this too, like Wayne said:
Porch post footings - InspectionNews - Home Inspection

Be safe, Gary
 
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