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I'm planning to build an elevated deck. I was going to dig the holes for the posts, put them in and set them in quikrete. I've done this for a fence and I'm comfortable with the process. A deck builder who gave me an estimate stated that's what he would do if he gets the job.

However, looking at my existing deck, it occurred to me that it might be better to use anchors so that if I ever have to replace the post I can do so easily? I currently have a post that is bent and seriously cracked that is using an post base, so I can see how convenient it would be if I was to replace it. (I'm replacing the whole deck instead because it's in very bad shape)

Here are some pics, I'm pretty sure the cracking and bending are due to how the load is falling on the deck, but I also noticed that the post base is not set on a cement footing??

Top end Footing

I wonder what is the better solution? What's the chance of having to replace a post?

  • The reason to use anchors is so you won't have to replace them. Posts in concrete will likely eventually fail a lot sooner than above-ground posts will. – DA01 Aug 19 '15 at 17:47
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I really prefer post bases for decks over putting the posts in concrete; it's a much better way of going. I like the beefy ones like the EPB66HDG, but Simpson makes a lot of different ones.

Here's a trick for getting them right. Dig the footing holes, and then temporarily attach the connectors to the beam. Put the beam on the ground directly under where it is going to be, level it in both directions and anchor it (stakes or whatever) so it can't move. Then, pour the concrete around it. This gives you post connectors exactly where they need to be. After the concrete sets, just remove the beam, put the posts in, and put the beam on top of them. Simple. If the posts are all the same height you can put short pieces of post between the deck and the beam.

I like hefty footings for 2nd floor decks; I would go at least 1x1x1 (depth set based on your frost line); I have a 2nd floor deck with a roof over it that has 5 footings that are each 2'x2'x'1. You can put a bit of rebar at the bottom to help hold the footing base together.

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I build decks for a living. Setting your post in concrete as you would a fence post will work just fine, as long as you use Sono tubes or The Post Collar. You want no earth to wood contact! Or use pier blocks. In the pic you have a ledger securing the deck to the house. You can use 6" pier blocks.

Place a shovel full of concrete, even fence post mix under your pier block, press down and turn the block so the concrete flattens out and comes out the sides around the block. Mound it evenly around the block and you just secured that block in place. Just be certain no wood to earth contact!

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I've been in the construction industry for over thirty years. I live in the northeastern US . The only time you put posts in concrete is for a fence . Posts for decks an other above ground structures are anchored above ground to the footings and foundations.

  • So you have a 20' deep deck. How do you anchor the posts at the far end of the deck? If you don't set them in concrete how do you keep them from sagging? I ask because my deck has sunk 4 inches in the last few years because some idiot didn't set the posts on the outside corners in concrete, just stuck them in the dirt, and now I have to jack up the deck. – The Evil Greebo Jul 16 '18 at 12:17
  • You should never put fence posts in concrete. It accelerates rotting and you have to dig out all the concrete to replace the post. – Chenmunka Jul 16 '18 at 12:44

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