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Are Deck Blocks a Good Idea for Building a Strong Foundation and What Are the Alternatives?

Bridge Média - 10 July 2023

Building a deck is an exciting project that can enhance the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space. 

However, before you embark on this endeavor, it's crucial to consider the foundation upon which your deck will stand. 

One popular option for deck foundations is the use of deck blocks. 

Today, we'll dive into whether these blocks are a solid choice and introduce you to a deck foundation alternative that might just steal the show. 

Are Deck Blocks a Good Idea?

Deck blocks, also referred to as concrete pier blocks, have gained popularity among DIY enthusiasts due to their simplicity and affordability. 

These precast concrete blocks are designed to support the weight of a deck by evenly distributing the load over a larger surface area. They are placed on the ground, and the deck posts or framing are then attached to them.

But wait! Before you jump aboard the deck block bandwagon, let's weigh the pros and cons:

Advantages of Deck Blocks:

  • Cost: Deck blocks are a slightly more affordable foundation solution upfront.
  • DIY: Those who want to install their own foundation, deck blocks are relatively straightforward, but it may not be the most reliable option for the stability and levelness of the deck.
  • Versatile: At first glance, it may seem like a great feature that deck blocks can be used on various terrains, including uneven surfaces. However, it's important to note that over time, the stability of the foundation may experience shifts.

Drawbacks of Deck Blocks:

  • Limited stability: Deck blocks rely on the ground's natural stability, which may be compromised in areas with shifting soil or poor drainage. This can lead to an unstable foundation and potential issues down the line.
  • Vulnerability to frost heave: In regions with freezing temperatures, deck blocks can be susceptible to frost heave, where the ground expands and contracts due to freezing and thawing cycles. This movement can result in an uneven and unstable deck.
  • Weight limitations: Deck blocks have weight restrictions, which means they may not be suitable for larger, heavier decks that require more robust support or if you are planning to add other structures to it later, like a pergola or a sunroom.
helical piers for decks as an alternative to deck blocks

The Marvelous Alternative: Helical Piers (Piles):

If you're looking for a more robust and reliable alternative to deck blocks, helical piers (piles) are worth considering. 

Helical piers are steel shafts with helical plates (helix) that are screwed into the ground to create a strong and stable foundation. 

Here are some advantages of using helical piles/piers for your deck:

  • Superior stability: Helical piers offer exceptional stability, even in challenging soil conditions. The screw piles are anchored deep into the ground and are easy to level, ensuring a solid foundation for your deck.
  • Frost heave resistance: They are installed below the frost line, making them impervious to frost heave. This eliminates the risk of an uneven deck due to freezing and thawing cycles.
  • Load-bearing capacity: Helical screw piles can support heavier loads compared to deck blocks, making them suitable for larger decks or structures and for any future addition of a roof, spa, pergola or any other added feature.
  • Quick installation: Helical piers (piles) can be installed in a couple of hours using specialized equipment, reducing construction time and labor costs.
  • Versatility: They can be used in various soil conditions, including sandy, clay, or loamy soils, making them a versatile option for deck foundations.

Deck blocks offer a somewhat budget-friendly and simple solution for deck foundations, but they do have their quirks. 

If you're seeking a more robust, reliable, and downright awesome alternative, helical pier (pile) foundations are the true deck foundation superheroes. 

With their stability, frost heave resistance, load-bearing capacity, speedy installation, and versatility, they'll make your deck dreams come true

So, make the right choice for a deck that stands strong and steady for years of outdoor enjoyment. 

Happy deck building!

About GoliathTech

Since 2004, GoliathTech has been the most important manufacturer and installer in the helical (screw) pile industry worldwide. Our patented helical pile foundation system surpasses industry standards and has earned us multiple awards and prizes.

Carried out by certified installers, our quick installation process avoids excavation, which protects your landscape and allows you to begin building as soon as the piles are in the ground. Moreover, you can anchor GoliathTech’s helical pile foundations into any soil or space year-round. Installed deep into the ground, beneath the frost line, they solidly support the structure in even the most extreme conditions. Our technology guarantees that a helical (screw) pile foundation won't move or crack over time.

Integrating both strength and know-how, GoliathTech offers the best anchoring solution to support your residential, industrial, commercial, and municipal projects. Trust the experience and expertise of GoliathTech for your foundation projects. Find a certified GoliathTech installer in your region or become a franchisee.