Need ideas for ground decking next to a slab foundation


PreCast Foundation
At the Acton, Mass., project, Tom Silva shaved days off his tight schedule by using precast foundation panels for the addition. When they arrived at the job site, a crane simply lowered them onto compacted stone, where they were glued together with a polyurethane adhesive. There were no footings, forms, or form ties to deal with, and no dampproofing to apply; the panels' 5,000-psi concrete and integral foamboard insulation stop moisture migration. Installed, panels generally cost about 10 percent more than a poured foundation. "We liked them a lot," Tom says. "I'm sure we'll be using them again."

Slab Heat
Say "basement slab" and most people think "cold and damp." Not so at the Billerica, Mass., project, where Richard Trethewey, TOH plumbing and heating expert, had a few hundred feet of PEX tubing (the same stuff used to heat radiant floors) looped on top of 1-inch foamboard and buried it in 6 inches of concrete. Once the tubing was hooked up to...

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Ground slabs - Introduction

Concrete slabs are similar to beams in the way they span horizontally between supports and may be simply supported, continuously supported or cantilevered.

Unlike beams, slabs are relatively thin structural members which are normally used as floors and occasionally as roof systems in multi-storey buildings.

Slabs are constructed of reinforced concrete poured into formworkFormwork is the temporary framework into which concrete is poured to create a structure. The formwork defines the shape of the final slab when the concrete is cured (set). It is usually timber but steel is commonly used on commercial projects. on-site or into trenches excavated into the ground. Concrete slabs are usually 150 to 300 mm deep.

Slabs transmit the applied floor or roof loads to their supports. Slabs may be classified into two main groups depending on whether they are supported on the ground or suspended in a building.


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In our current place, we moved the main access door from going into the kitchen, to entering an old laundry room converted to a mud room. In order to do so, the front door was moved over about 4', and off the existing concrete patio. The bottom of the door sill is ~11 1/2" above the existing slab, and ~12" above grade. You can see a plan view of the existing concrete patio and proposed deck below.

The plan is to make a 10'x12' deck. Why so big for an entry way? Well, it is next to the kitchen, and it would be a great spot to grill. Also, I plan on building a bench or two on the deck for kids to take off shoes, boots, etc.. before entering the house.

Since the deck is so low to the ground, I plan on building it directly on the slab, and having it free-standing (i.e.- not connected to the house, thus no ledger board). By "directly on the slab" I mean to also shim it up, say, 1/2" to allow for circulation and water flow. I plan on using 12' 2x8 joists, spaced at...

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A slab foundation is a layer of concrete, generally poured out over a prepared surface of soil or gravel, upon which a house or other structure is built. More appropriate to climates where ground freezing and thawing, and the associated soil movement, are not of particular concern, slab foundations are nevertheless anchored into the ground securely to prevent structural damage from environmental causes such as severe weather or shifting of the soil. While a structure built on a slab foundation has no “below grade” space that can be used for residential or storage purposes, it's generally much less costly to build than a comparable structure with a basement.

Beside providing a stable, flat, and level surface for occupants, a slab's purpose is to distribute much of the weight that's placed upon it. For example, many walls are “load bearing,” and without a foundation of some sort to rest upon, would not only sink into the soil to some extent, but would also respond to the...

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Home Site Map - Steps - Foundations -

My foundation design

Designing foundations needs lots of thought. It took me a while to get to the foundation design that is shown here...

I did a lot of reading of building science papers and a lot of thinking. I then talked through the proposed foundation design with every knowledgeable person I could find. I talked it through with a civil engineering friend, the guy at the local county building department, my local friendly building inspector, my structural engineer, and various building product suppliers. Eventually after lots of iterations I arrived at a design I am happy with.

Here is the drawing version for the internal concrete walls...

Accurately mark out house footprint

You should now after the excavation have a completely level flat site. During the excavation you will have uprooted all the stakes you...

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There are simpler ways to support your deck

You all know how much work and effort and money it takes to install traditional concrete deck foundations - or footings. Not to mention time waiting for concrete to cure. It's the hardest part of building a deck.

In some cases, given the height of a deck, you have connect it to the ledger of the home. And I am afraid that means you must install proper concrete footing foundations that go below frost line so the deck doesn't move independently in relation to the home.

Most Decks Can Be "Free Standing" or "Floating"

Did you know this?

If your deck is 6 feet or less, with proper post to beam and joist bracing your deck is a perfect candidate for a floating deck.

This means you you have some options for your deck foundation that can save you money, time and effort.

Here are your deck footing options:

Deck Blocks

The cheapest deck foundations are concrete deck blocks...

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Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, con heart is expensive, but we have budgeted for the yard. I already built a regular redwood deck about 4' off the ground and we like it. This will compliment it.

I'm thinking that I could skim off a couple of inches of dirt then cover it with weed plastic and 2" of gravel.

I'm not sure how to handle the next part. I was thinking either the plastic or the treated wood, but then laying them in the gravel as "sleepers", meaning on their side rather than on edge. Maybe putting them every foot.

I was also thinking that depending on how much it costs, I could use plastic decking, again, as a sleepers, instead of treated wood or structural plastic. Seems like if I do the sleeper method, space closely, there isn't a need for anything "structural".

My main concern with this method is that the sleepers won't contact the gravel evenly and there might be some bounce, which I don't want. Maybe once the frame is built I could adjust the...

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Suspended slab under construction, with the formwork still in place.

Suspended slab formwork and rebar in place, ready for concrete pour. On reinforced concrete blockwork supporting walls.

A concrete slab is a common structural element of modern buildings. Horizontal slabs of steel reinforced concrete, typically between 4 and 20 inches (100 and 500 millimeters) thick, are most often used to construct floors and ceilings, while thinner slabs are also used for exterior paving. Sometimes these thinner slabs, ranging from 2 inches (51 mm) to 6 inches (150 mm) thick, are called mud slabs, particularly when used under the main floor slabs[1] or in crawl spaces.[2]

In many domestic and industrial buildings a thick concrete slab, supported on foundations or directly on the subsoil, is used to construct the ground floor of a building. These can either be "ground-bearing" or "suspended" slabs. In high rise buildings and skyscrapers, thinner, pre-cast concrete slabs are...

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17 Best ideas about Low Deck on Pinterest | Low deck…

See more about Low deck designs, Backyard decks and Decks. . See More. LowDeckTT12 DIY Steps for Building a Deck Over a Patio Slab: The Low Down on.

low deck designs | How to Building a Deck on the Ground :…

Outdoor , Grabbing Exterior Beauty with Small Backyard Deck Ideas : Simple ... LowDeckTT12 DIY Steps for Building a Deck Over a Patio Slab: The Low Down.

Decking for back patio over concrete…

Explore A Yard Deck Patio Gazebo, Low Patio, and more! . DIY Deck Planter Boxes Bench Plans PDF Download tools cabinet free plans. Decks Porches Patios.

framing - What are the best practices for a low deck built…

18 Oct 2010 . The bottom of the door sill is ~11 1/2" above the existing slab, and ~12" . a plan view of the existing concrete patio and proposed deck below. . Since the deck is so low to the ground, I plan on building it directly on the slab,.

How to Build a Deck...

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How to build a deck over an existing patio slab with low clearance.

Hey, some of you have been ignoring our great deck how-tos because you think you can’t build a deck over your patio slab. Check this out: My uncle kept bugging me about building a deck in his backyard. I tried to explain to my uncle that he didn’t have enough elevation at the door to build a deck over his patio. Even if we removed the austere concrete slab, the patio door threshold was barely above grade. But because of his persistence his patio area took on a remarkable transformation, and we came up with a solution that can be a benefit to many who would love to have a deck in place of their concrete patio slab. Here’s how:

Left: Measure from the existing patio to the threshold or bottom of the door frame. Allow for the thickness of the decking material. Right: Sight down the board to determine crown. Turn the board so that the convex edge is against the...

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Not only can termites enter through little cracks or fissure, one of the first visible indications of termites is often seen as small vertical tubes made of mud running on the surface of the block or concrete footer wall from the ground up to the sill plate. In this case it would not matter whether the structure has a basement or is on slab.

With the current trends in homebuilding the claim that a slab is harder on your feet and back is totally silly. Consider the type of activity we perform in each room. For the most part out activity in the living room, great room, dinning room, bedroom or family room is primarily sitting or lounging so we are not on our feet, and for those brief periods that we are on our feet, we opt for padded carpet in those areas. In those areas such as kitchen, laundry or bathroom where we are on our feet for extended periods we opt for tile or various natural stone materials thus duplicating the conditions of a slab underfoot, so the argument...

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Preparing a solid level Cedar-Built Foundation

Foundation Options-

TIMBER FOUNDATION: (most common)

To start you will need: 3/4" drain rock or crush gravel, 4x6 pressure treated timbers, dimensions as per your Cedar-Built Foundation Plans.

- Place foundation timbers in trenches on a bed of gravel so that the top of the timbers will be flush height (or slightly higher) with the surrounding ground in your yard.

- After foundation timbers are securely fastened together, backfill around the timbers with gravel and fill the remaining floor area with gravel also. See pictures below for great ideas clients have for finishing walkways.

- You may lay down landscape cloth in the floor area prior to placing gravel, to impede any weed growth.

- Tamp down all gravel until compact.


Many clients place their greenhouses on existing decks.


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Building a ground-level deck is by far the easiest option if your available space is flat and sound enough to take it. There are no real foundations to create, not posts to fix and you won’t usually have to worry about creating steps or balustrade. It could potentially even be taken with you when you move house! If you are organised and plan it well, there is no reason why one person could not finish this type of deck in a single day. This guide is based on building a square or rectangular ground-level deck.

Creating the Frame

Check your measurements and cut all of the bearers you need to create the outer frame for the deck. Lay all four pieces out flat on the floor, in their correct positions, and fix them together using butt joints at the corners. You should use screws at least 150mm long to fix the bearers together, and at least two for each corner. Measure diagonally across the frame (both directions) to make sure that it is square and then nail a batten across...

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Find out the soil type where the slab will be constructed. Check with people who have slab foundations in the area to find out what soils they encountered. In many cases, it is a good idea to hire a geologic engineer to assess the soils and make recommendations regarding the correct foundation to use. Soils with high clay concentrations need to have the water retention tendency of the clay mitigated with a layer of gravel between the clay and the slab.

Check the soil conditions. Note any surface drainage that may cause undercutting to the slab so you can plan on either locating the slab out of the path of the water or rerouting the flow to avoid the slab. Stony soils may limit the depth that the edges of the slab can be turned down, and that may affect the location of the slab if surface drainage poses a threat of undercutting the slab. Soils with high water content will require drainage along the perimeter of the slab.

Find out the local building code...

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Posted by : Ecohome | Mike Reynolds

Traditionally, home construction starts with a concrete basement foundation. Depending on the situation there are other options that can be more durable and affordable that will better protect your home air quality.

The first factors to consider when designing the foundation of a home are lot size and soil conditions. When space is limited (with total footprint and height restrictions) a basement foundation may be the best option, but if space allows there is a strong case for avoiding basements altogether with a slab-on-grade.

Related pages:

Concrete foundations:

For a modest sized home, a concrete foundation will cost you easily between $20,000 and $30,000. Factor in a subfloor and finished flooring, you’ll be lucky to stay under $40,000. Building basements ‘just because’ invites unnecessary costs, potential humidity problems, and greater environmental consequences.

The production of one ton of...

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First, let's examine the PROS of concrete slab foundations.

Concrete slab is one of the cheaper, yet sturdy foundation options. It is also relatively quick to install.

Slab-on-grade foundations are more common in warmer climates. They are also common in locales with expansive clay soils.

It is important for the ground to have proper soil compaction prior to pouring a slab foundation so that cracking or settling will be minimized.

Potential Slab Advantages

Some claim that termite issues may be less of a concern with this type of foundation, because of a lack of wood supports and empty spaces leading from the ground to the house itself. Keep in mind, though, that if you have wood siding extending to the slab, those critters would have easy access to your new home.

In warmer climates, temperature extremes are rare, so there may be no need for heating ductwork underneath the flooring. Ground freezing in these locations would be unlikely,...

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Essential to a Strong, Long Lasting Porch

We normally don't think much about front porch foundations because usually they are not visible. But when it comes to foundations, what you can't see can hurt you.

I'm sure you've passed a house or two where the porch was literally falling off or sorely in need of porch repairs.

There could be several reasons for this but a poorly built foundation may be the major culprit.

Footing, pier, and post foundation for front porch Porch foundations aren't that much different than foundations for homes. A foundation has to safely bear not only the weight of the porch substructure but also the roof, railings, columns, and more as well.

Download a free "

How to Square Your Porch or Deck"


Details below


Before Building Your Front Porch

Consider the following: Geography: Where do you live? Unstable water or soil conditions may require deeper porch footings, thicker walls, or...
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Q: I was wondering when you start laying the bags is there any footer under them or do you start laying them directly on the ground? Also, how deep do you dig to start laying them?

A: Earthbags don't really need a conventional foundation; you can fill the first course or two with gravel to keep water from wicking upward. And you can dig the first course into the ground a few inches to make sure that it has a good "toe-hold". If your soil drains poorly and there is a danger of frost upheaval, then it is a good idea to dig a deeper rubble trench, and possibly install a French drain, to guard against this.

Q: Can you give me any information on the type of footer I would need for an earthbag building? What about a stemwall if you are building in a wet climate?

A: There are several options for making a foundation for an earthbag building, depending on the type of soil and climate in your locality. One of the simplest is to make a "rubble trench foundation", which...

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Here in Holland they are becoming increasingly popular. The average house stands already 6-7 feet below sea level. Some places in the country sit 7 meters or 21 feet below sea level. When flooding occurs your house will be underwater. Securing the floating house on giant pylons is necessary for keeping the house in one spot. The biggest drawback is external water and sewer installations. And not to mention a cold floor in the winter months. The paybacks are enormous. While everyone is underwater your high and dry.

In Texas in dangerous flood areas, the government is considering cancelling flood insurance, especially in Houston. They use giant slabs of foam in the foundation for extra buoyancy and insulation, and as

an extra safety measure if a leak in your foundation occurs. It displaces the air pockets.

In the future, as more and more flooding occurs, these houses will become more...

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Choose what surface your decking is going to be laid on. There are two options when building on soft ground:

add concrete pads for extra stability or lay straight onto the ground for a simple project

We recommend adding concrete pads as they're not only great for stabilising your deck; they'll ensure your decking lasts longer.

If laying straight onto the ground, jump to Step 3b.

If you’re adding concrete pads

It's key that the concrete pads are positioned in the exact places and that they're all square for the deck joists. For help on this, head to the 'How to square a site' section of our How to build a raised deck article for more advice.

Read How to build a raised deck

Work out where exactly the pads are required and dig holes roughly 150mm square and 150mm deep at intervals of 1.2m around the deck.

Fill the holes with a quick-drying, ready-to-use concrete to just above ground level. Use a spirit level and straight edge to check...

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A basic open stair is all that’s necessary on a low deck, but for higher ones you’ll need handrails. Be sure to check the most up-to-date Building Regulations.

The easiest way to build steps is to buy pre-formed kits that include two stair risers (side panels) and step treads. They're available in three, four and six step options.

Alternatively, build your own with two risers (side panels) and as many separate step treads as you require. We're going to take you through this process for timber deck boards. If looking to lay solid composite decking steps, follow steps one and two below and then jump to the section 'How to fit solid composite stair treads'.

If building your own steps, we suggest:

A step tread width (the width of the steps) of 900mm - it should not be less than 760mm. Stairs wider than 900mm will need to add a central step riser to support the steps and prevent them buckling. A step depth (the vertical distance between each step) of...
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Deck Framing is part 2 (of 7) steps describing how to build your own deck (a 10' x 10' deck example).

Framing is perhaps the most important phase of deck building. If the structure is not designed to carry the required load, or if the framing is unlevel or not square, building the remaining deck features like railing and stairs will be frustrating and difficult. It is much easier to build a deck correctly from the start. Use the diagram below as reference while reading through the framing phase of deck building.

Deck Framing Detail

Building the 10 x 10 Deck Frame

The 10 x 10 Deck Frame

The following tutorial explains the tools, materials and procedures required to build the 10 x 10 deck frame shown above.

Deck Framing Tools you will need:

The tools that you will need to frame your deck are listed below. The list is broken down into the tools that are


necessary, and the "nice to have"...

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Ground level decks less than 12" above grade are generally easy to build because they don't involve climbing on ladders and usually don't involve installing guard rails and stairs. They are also easier to blend into the landscape, but there are some unique issues you need to address before you get started.

The first issue is clearance. If your door is very low to the ground you may not have enough room to install deck framing and decking without excavating. Digging a few extra inches of soil and grass away will allow you the room you need to build your frame. Building a low profile frame is necessary. You will need to use a flush beam which is set at the same level as the joists as opposed to a cantilever beam. If the bottom of your deck frame is less than 6" above the ground or partially buried you should use pressure treated wood that is rated for ground contact. The higher level of preservative will prevent the wood from rotting and decaying better than standard pressure...

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How To Install Pre-cast Concrete Sidewalk / Patio Slabs

These instructions only provide a suggested method of installing slabs - Freiling Innovation Inc. takes no responsibility for content accuracy or actual installation results by following these instructions.

Bedding & Levelling:

The layers that provide a critical smooth and level surface to place the slabs upon. The material used for these layers are either a single layer of medium-fine sand, or, two layers of a coarse construction sand and a fine play sand.

Precast Concrete Slab "slab": The top layer of pre-cast concrete slabs that are placed upon the leveling sand. The slabs are placed adjacent to each other in a desired pattern to provide the visible desired path. Narrow gaps (approx. 3/16") are placed between all the slabs to allow for the "jointing" material to fill these gaps and protect the slabs from future damage due to shifting.

Jointing: The fine material that fills the narrow gaps...

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