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I want to build a free-standing deck (no ledger board) which is only about 6 inch over the ground. The deck size is 22 X 14. After that I'm planning to put a metal permanent patio cover (20 X 14 x 10) with fiber panels on top . The metal construction of the patio cover will be attached directly to the wooden deck. The local code for the deck is 8 inch wide and at least 36 inch deep for the footings.

My questions are:

  1. Do I need to do the concrete footings required by the code to install free standing ground deck?

  2. Do I need to do the concrete footings for an extra support for the deck since the patio cover will be installed on top of the deck?

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If code calls for footings, you need them for code compliance, at minimum. Typically code-compliant footings increase the odds that the deck remains level over time.

You will also want them (or more than the minimum) for resisting uplift if you are going to attach a roof (think of it as a sail or kite, when the wind blows.) As such a "mushroom" or pad type footing (where there's a concrete column/post and at the bottom of it there is a larger diameter pad) will help to resist uplift - be sure to use adequate reinforcing steel to hold it all together and tie in your anchor bolts.

  • Yeah, a 22 x 14 roof needs a lot of ballast. I assume that is 22 x 14 feet, right? The whole thing will tip over or blow away in a heavy wind if you don't take measures to prevent it. To the OP, does the soil freeze solid in the winter where you live? Judging from the code requirement, I am guessing the answer is yes. The reason they make it so deep is to avoid frost heaving, which you can read about separately. You could possibly sink rot-resistant wood posts instead of concrete if you don't care about code compliance. – mkeith Mar 15 '15 at 18:38
  • Thank you very much. Do you think it is possible to build the footings plus the foundation and the decking itself within 7 inches. That is all I have from the ground to the bottom of the patio door. – Dmitri K Mar 15 '15 at 21:43
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    You're not going to build a 36" deep footing in 7", right? ;-) You'll need to dig down to what code requires for the footing. – Craig Mar 15 '15 at 23:00
  • Hi Dimitri K, I think you may be misunderstanding the difference between footings and a foundation (which may extend above grade. The footings should be below the ground level. This requires you to dig what mount to holes and/or trenches in order to pour the concrete for the footings. You can build the deck as close to the ground as you believe is possible, and the footings could be as deep as you can dig, as they do not occupy the same space. TL:DR Deck is above the ground, footings are below ground – BrownRedHawk Mar 18 '15 at 12:50

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