The Foundation of a Great Deck

ShaneCDeck Tips1 Comment

Deck Foundation Types

One of the most important components of a deck is the foundation upon which the deck is built. But many DIY folks and sadly, contractors – skimp on the foundation to save a few dollars or to avoid the extra work of installing a proper foundation.

In Saskatchewan, we have an extreme climate with a very deep frost line. In the winter of 2013-2014, the frost depth reached seven feet deep and typically reaches about six to six and a half feet deep in the southern half of the province. To complicate matters, the clay based soil upon which the city of Regina is built is unstable and expands and contracts with moisture. Many online resources will suggest concrete piles of four feet deep being sufficient, but that depth is insufficient in Saskatchewan.

Common Foundation Types in Saskatchewan

While there are quite a few different options available in the decking industry, three of them are most common in Regina, and Saskatchewan:


Adj Deck Block
(GOOD)

PROS

  • Cheapest Option (Roughly $60 per pier installed)
  • Easy to install
  • Adjustable in the future if ground swells or settles

CONS

  • Does not resist frost heave
  • No solid connection to the ground
  • Does not resist wind uplift
  • Cannot be used on higher decks
  • Unsightly
  • Not recognized by International Residential Code
  • Not recommended by Fresh Decks

Concrete Pile
(BETTER)

PROS

  • Resists frost heave IF deep enough
  • Permanent, solid foundation
  • Can support heavy or covered structures

CONS

  • Does not resist frost heave if too shallow
  • Labour intensive to install
  • Requires excavation and disposal of earth
  • Expensive (Roughly $400-500 per pile installed)
  • Messy to install
  • Cannot build on piles same day


Screw/Helical Pile
(BEST)

PROS

  • Will not frost heave(drilled 10′ minimum)
  • Permanent, solid foundation
  • Can support heavy or covered structures
  • Installs cleanly with no earth removal
  • Machinery to install fits through most gates
  • Can build on piles immediately
  • More cost effective than concrete.

CONS

  • Moderately expensive (Roughly $300 per pile installed)



Fresh Decks continuously researches and experiments with new foundation types. At this time, we believe that helical screw piles are the best foundation option for a deck. They install cleanly, easily, and with no mess – and can support any size deck regardless of size. The only reason NOT to do screw piles is budget, or potential below grade obstructions that would inhibit drilling/digging.

Building a deck is an investment and will bring a lot of joy and leisure to your lives. But it is of utmost important to ensure your deck is both SAFE, and long lasting. A proper foundation is the most important piece of that puzzle.

For more information on decking foundations and what works for you, please comment below or contact us!

One Comment on ““The Foundation of a Great Deck”

  1. hexnerandwriting

    I really love your point that screw piles are the best foundation for a deck. Since I don’t know much about it, it’s good to know where to start and make sure the deck we build is high quality from the very start. My husband and I are glad that you mention by investing in screw piles, it will make a better long lasting foundation. http://albertascrewpiles.com/installs.html

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