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Building a Deck Without Footings

By Jessica Kolifrath ; Updated September 21, 2017
Digging and pouring footings slows down the building process.

Adding a deck to your home expands your living space to the outdoors and creates an area to host parties or use your grill. Most deck-installation methods require holes dug deeply in the soil, and filled with concrete to create sturdy footings. Save time and effort by using a design without poured footings.

Over Gravel

Grading a flat spot for the deck is necessary, even when alternative building methods are used. Add a level layer of gravel for drainage, and you can build a deck that rests on the surface without footings. Building a frame of wood with posts that anchor in concrete blocks that sit on the gravel creates a traditional-looking deck, according to Home Improvement and Financing. The concrete blocks won't rot -- and they keep the wood high enough to prevent moisture transfer from the ground.


Installing a wooden deck surface over a concrete slab ensures the deck remains stable without pouring any new footers. This method involves attaching sleepers, pieces of pressure-treated lumber, to the concrete for the decking to attach to, says On the House. Using a nail gun makes attaching the wood sleepers to the concrete much easier. This is a good way to cover a broken or unattractive concrete patio without removing it, because the wood will adapt to any shifts in the concrete.

Sleepers Over Gravel

You can also combine both wood sleepers and a gravel bed for a quick-to-build deck, but this type of deck won't last as long. The wood sleepers can be set over a bed of gravel -- if it has a layer of sand below it -- for extra drainage, according to Creative Homeowner. Nail the decking to them, and your simple deck is complete. Since the sleepers touch the ground, the high level of moisture will cause rot quicker, so pressure-treated wood is important if you want a deck that will last more than a year.

Plastic Piers

Piers are similar to footings, but they tend to be premade concrete forms that are buried to give the deck's posts a strong base to rest on. They still require fresh concrete and gravel around them for finishing, however. Plastic piers require you to dig a hole like you would for a footing, but Fine Homebuilding reminds you that there's no concrete involved. The pier is set in the hole and attached to the post. This saves hours over installing poured footings.


About the Author


Jessica Kolifrath is a competent copywriter who has been writing professionally since 2008. She is based in the Atlanta area but travels around the Southeastern United States regularly. She currently holds an associate degree in psychology and is pursuing a bachelor's degree in the field.