Everything You Need to Know About Concrete Footing for Strong and Durable Deck Foundations

What is a Concrete Footing for Decks?

When you’re planning to build a deck, one crucial element you must not overlook is the concrete footing. Think of it as the sturdy foundation upon which your entire deck structure will stand. Just like a house needs a strong foundation, a deck requires a reliable footing to ensure it stands the test of time.

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The Foundation of Your Deck

Concrete Footing: Deck Foundation

The concrete footing acts as a snowshoe supporting the weight and evenly distributing the load across the soil. It prevents the deck from sinking or shifting due to external forces, such as the weight of the deck, furniture, or people enjoying the outdoor space.

The concrete footing acts as a sturdy foundation, supporting the deck and preventing sinking or shifting over time.

Yes in some states, but in New Jersey you need a footing, either concretee,a helical pile or other approved type. Concrete footings ensure the safety and longevity of your deck.

The depth of the footings depends on factors like the deck height, soil type, and local building codes. In New Jersey 32” in the south and 42” in the northern part of the state. Check with local building codes offices.

No, it’s essential to use a high-quality concrete mix suitable for your specific project. 3500 psi is a minimum.

The decision depends on your budget, experience, and the complexity of the project. Hiring professional deck builders ensures expertise and compliance with building codes, but DIY can save costs if done correctly.

Remember, when it comes to your deck, don’t underestimate the power of a solid concrete footing. With proper planning and installation, your deck will provide a sturdy and safe space for relaxation and enjoyment for years to come.

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Understanding the Importance Load-Bearing Capacity

Why is Concrete Footing Important?

Concrete footings play a crucial role in providing stability and strength to your deck. They keep your deck level and help it withstand the various stresses it will encounter over its lifetime.

Tasks of Footings:

  • Prevents sinking and tilting
  • Ensures even weight distribution
  • Increases deck longevity

Imagine how much wait is on your deck’s footings pressing down on the earth. You have the weight of the materials, joists, posts and handrails, plus any furniture or features on it. Now you add people and movement. The deck’s footings distribute that weight evenly on the ground. 

The Footing Installation Process

How to Install Concrete Footing for Your Deck. 

  • Preparation: Clear the deck area and mark the positions for the footings using stakes and strings.
  • Excavation: Dig holes for the footings following local building codes and guidelines. The depth of the hole depends on the soil type and the deck’s height.
  • Adding Rebar: Place rebar in the holes to reinforce the concrete and enhance its strength. Normally one or two pieces of vertical rebar are enough.
  • Pouring Concrete: Mix and pour concrete into the holes and level it with the surface.
  • Attaching Hardware: While the concrete is still wet, attach the metal brackets or post anchors for connecting the deck posts securely.
  • Curing Period: Allow the concrete to cure for the recommended time before starting deck construction. Give it a day or two and you should be fine.

Choosing the Right Concrete Mix

Selecting the Perfect Concrete Mix

When it comes to concrete pouring, choosing the right mix is essential for the overall strength and durability of your deck.

Key to Success:

  • Use high-quality concrete mix
  • Consider the weather conditions during pouring
  • Consult with professionals if unsure about the mix

Most deck footings are poured using bagged concrete ready mixes that you get from Home Depot, Lowes or other hardware stores. These mixes are fine to use for your footings. You will want to make sure that they are at least 3500 psi in strength, most are. 

Most popular brand Quikcrete and another popular brand Sakacrete

If you want to make your own mix the link below will show you the recipe and instructions.

Make Your Own Concrete Mix

How Much Concrete Will Your Need?

To determine how much concrete you will need, you will need to know some measurements. The depth or thickness, how many square feet each footing is and how many footings you will have to pour. You can use the handy concrete calculator below. 

Factors Affecting Footing Size

Determining the Size of Your Concrete Footing

The size of your concrete footing depends on various factors, including:

Key Points:

  • Deck height and size
  • Soil type and load-bearing capacity
  • Local building codes and regulations

A good footing design rule would be a 12 inch round deck footing per 48 square feet of deck surface area. With 4 footings minimum for a free standing unattached deck. A good rule of thumb is to have a footing 8 foot x 8 foot grids or less for the strong decks. 

If this doesn’t work for your layout then you can always make a wider or bigger around footing. Instead of a 12 inch diameter footing op for a 16″ diameter deck footing. Think of it as a bigger snowshoe for your deck.

Learn more about deck footing sizes here. 


Different Types of Footing Designs

Exploring Various Footing Designs. Depending on the deck’s design and local requirements, you can choose from different footing designs, such as:


  • Pre-made Concrete Piers or Pucks
  • Sonotube Footings (cardboard tubes in which concrete is poured to create solid concrete, cylinder-shaped pillars.)
  • Diamond Pier Footings (See video below)
  • Helical Piles for Decks (aka, screw pile or auger pile)

Some of the newer non concrete deck footing designs are nice for areas that you don’t want to excavate. Sensitive areas like nature walks and other green areas for instance.

Ensuring Compliance with Building Codes

Adhering to Building Codes

Ensure your deck meets the local building codes and regulations to avoid penalties and safety issues.

Permit Process:

  • Obtain necessary permits
  • Get inspections as required
  • Use approved materials and techniques

Related Article: Deck Permit Guide

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Hire a professional deck contractor if your project is too big to handle.

Hiring Professional a Deck Builder vs. DIY

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Deck Contractor or Going the DIY Route

Deciding whether to hire professionals or take on the project yourself requires careful consideration of:


  • Budget and cost implications
  • Experience and skill level
  • Time constraints

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Steer Clear of These Common Mistakes

Avoid compromising the strength and safety of your deck by steering clear of these common mistakes:

Common Footing Failures:

  • Insufficient footing depth
  • Ignoring soil conditions
  • Using low-quality concrete

Protecting Footings from Environmental Factors

Safeguarding Your Footings

To ensure the longevity of your deck footings, take precautions to protect them from environmental factors like:

Key Points:

  • Frost heave
  • Soil erosion
  • Water damage


A solid concrete footing is the unsung hero of your deck, providing strength, stability, and longevity. By understanding the importance of a well-built foundation and following proper installation methods, you can ensure your deck stands firm for years to come.

Deck Building Services, Service Area in Atlantic County, NJ

Atlantic City
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