I am making a 14x16 open carport this weekend. Is there any way possible for me to avoid digging and setting the posts with concrete? I am going to be using 4x4 posts. I don't know much about construction so i cannot figure it out. I basically live on one big boulder so digging isn't the most feasible idea. We do get a heavy snow-load but my roof is going to be steeply angled to one side to cover that.

  • Are you building on top of a slab, or directly on the ground?
    – Comintern
    Nov 6, 2015 at 23:54
  • I am building directly on the ground.
    – MissA
    Nov 7, 2015 at 1:02
  • If you can dig down to a point where you absolutely know you're on bedrock, then there are mechanical fasteners and brackets available. It seems like it would be hard to know that for a fact, though. Unfortunately, I think you have a bit of digging and concrete in your future. Nov 7, 2015 at 15:39
  • I'd consider using 4 x 6 post's at least at the corners and the center. 4x4's aren't Code approved . Also consider shear walls for added rigidity. Especially in snow country.
    – ojait
    Dec 4, 2015 at 0:32

2 Answers 2


Either you dig to set metal post anchors or you dig to set the post's. Also, since your in a climate that has freezing weather, if you want to build by Code, you'll need to dig your holes 48" to avoid ground heave from frozen soil. So the only real decision than is what is more secure: metal anchors or posts set in concrete? Post's will give the greatest support if set in concrete. I believe a 1/3rd of the total post length is recommended to be set in the ground. You should also use treated or naturally decay resistant (cedar, redwood, cypress) posts if set below ground level. You could also use concrete piers, but the footing will still need to be below ground freeze (48 inches).


Yes, you can do this. But it will be out of code (probably). Build footors on the ground by building forms out of wood, like 2 x 2 (feet) or 3x3 (feet again). Fill that with concrete (and some mashed up chicken wire for strength). It's take more bags than you think. Then buy the concrete 4x4 footers to sit on top of them. (or bag the home-built footers and just use the store bought ones alone).


There a zillion decks out there sitting on the ground. Houses too. In fact, if you can't get down below frost, floating on the ground can be better - avoids frost heave.

But without knowing more about the ground and the weather and other stuff, this is pretty big job and dangerous if you do it wrong.

What's the spacing of your 4x4s? Go with this rule: the less you know, the more support you need.

Also, how will you attach your joists to the top of your 4x4 posts? And how big will they be and what will be the span distance? There's code for this (if you build to code, you'll be happier long term...)


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