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When you’re planning an outdoor project, whether it’s a deck, balcony or island, your project’s longevity is only as good as its foundation. But when there are so many options to choose from, which one is best for your project and situation? Here’s a quick overview of some common options, including which ones are best in which situations.

Porch Piers

Porch PiersWhen you need solid piers for your project that do a great job of spreading out the weight of your porch in a single, monolithic piece of concrete, porch piers provide you with a great base. Because they’re pre-poured, they can be used to quickly set up a foundation, allowing you to immediately begin building. However, these pre-cast piers are all the same size at 5′ tall, and either require digging to bury them to the right depth up-slope or a level site to place them. Because they are one pre-cast piece of concrete they can be rather heavy to move, requiring the use of either a crew to move them into place or heavy machinery to make the job easier.


SonotubesWhen you want the advantage of cast-in-place concrete without the mess of forms, Sonotube’s round columns make the process much easier. If need be, you can cut the tubes down to shorter heights, allowing you to adapt the height of the tube to the slope of the land where your project is located. Designed to be buried, they give you the option to get below the frost line, while still being able to extend up to three feet above grade, providing you with some level of flexibility. The tubes are constructed from layers of high-quality fiber, spiral wrapped for strength and reinforced with a laminated layer of heavy-duty adhesive.


EZ-TubesIf you want the benefit of pre-cast concrete allowing you to work quickly without the heavy weight of piers, EZ-Tubes provide an excellent alternative. A pre-cast footer can be used to begin each column, spreading out the weight of the structure, while each short pier section may be stacked up to a maximum height, giving you the versatility of Sonotubes without having to wait for concrete to set before beginning construction. Finally, a threaded rod passes through the entire assembly to ensure it doesn’t shift with use.

Floating Deck Block

Floating deck blockA floating deck uses pre-cast deck blocks on top of a layer of compacted stone dust upon which the deck will sit. These lightweight blocks are relatively easy to transport, but are primarily used for either decks that are very low to the ground or that can be supported using wood posts on top of the deck blocks. They are typically buried so that the slots for the rim joist or posts are around an inch or two above grade. Posts will need to be either naturally rot-resistant wood or pressure-treated wood for structural stability.

Each of these options has benefits and drawbacks, but by considering your specific situation and project, you can find the perfect solution to create a solid base that will allow your investment to last for years to come. If you need help finding the right solution or have additional questions about these products, Poulin Lumber is here to help. Please feel free to reach out today to get started.

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