How To Install Deck Footings, Posts and Ledger

Your footings, posts and ledger are the foundation on which you’ll build your deck. They provide the structural support for your joists and boards. Your footings are the concrete bases that your posts will sit on top of, and your posts are what will support your joists and cross beams. Your ledger is used if you plan to attach your deck to the foundation of your house. We’ll show you how to do it all in the steps below.

Skill Level: Intermediate
Time:

Before starting any building project, check with your municipal office for local building codes, regulations and zoning restrictions.

  1. Step 1 Measure and Locate Footings

    Man measuring the ground with a measuring tape

    When measuring for where to place your footers, make sure that the holes will be square with your house and that they are are no more than 8-feet apart in either direction. This is a general recommendation to keep your deck as sturdy as possible. Use batter boards, or off-cuts of lumber with nails in them to run string along the outline of your deck area to visualize the size and help you with the footing placement.    

  2. Step 2 Position and Dig Footings

    Wooden post in the ground

    First, we’ll show you how to build footings. Make sure to check with your local inspector to ensure that you’re not interfering with underground utility wires. Once you’ve been cleared to dig, your post holes should be dug at a depth that’s 12-inches below the frost line, so the posts don’t shift when the weather gets gold. Use a post hole digger or an auger, to make the job easier. Once your holes have been dug, insert your concrete tube form so that the top sticks up about 2-inches above the surface of the ground. Remember to make sure that the tops of all of your tubes are level.

    Laying Out Deck Footings

    How to Dig Deck Footings    

  3. Step 3 Set Posts in Concrete

    Person drilling into a wooden post

    Now we’ll show you how to install deck posts. With your tubes in place, you need to mix and add your cement. Cement should be the consistency of cake batter when ready to pour. Add base layer of concrete to the bottom of the tube and then set your post in. This give it a good foundation, and helps to make it sturdy. Be sure to remove air pockets with a trowel while filling and smooth the top out if you’d like when you’re finished. Allow your concrete to dry completely. You now have your footings and posts complete!

    How to Pour Concrete Footings

  4. Step 4 Installing a Ledger

    Man drilling into wood

    If you’re wondering how to attach a deck to a house, you’ll need to install a ledger board. A ledger board is a thick piece of lumber that attaches to your house frame and supports the weight of your deck on that side. First you’ll need to remove any siding or veneer that may be in the way. Then you’ll need to cover the exposed wood in a flashing or moisture barrier to keep it safe from the elements. Measure your ledger board to the size of the side of your deck and pre-drill through the ledger board, sheathing and partway into the house framing. Using lag bolts, bolt it to the exposed foundation of the house.

Continue to build your deck: How to Frame a Deck

What You Need for This Project

Related Resources