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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am preparing to build a free standing deck. I am planning on notching 6X6 boards to sit my beams on before bolting them to the post. However, since the deck is going to be built on a slope, the front is going to be level with the ground and therefore does not require a post. Is it okay to pour the footer, put on a post base connector and it the beam in the post base connector? Or do I need to dig out a couple of feet so that a beam can be used?
 

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Yes, for decks build at very low heights, it's common to have the beams rest directly to the footing without a post. This is often preferable to having very short posts which are prone to splitting.

You'd typically still use something like a post base to make the connection as it provides some uplift resistance, and prevents water from wicking into the wood. A 6x6 post base will work with beams made up of triple-2X members, while a 4x4 post base will work with beams made up of double-2X members. Either way, you'll need to shim between the post base and beam to account for the difference in thickness (1" difference with a triple beam and 6x6 base, 1/2" for a double beam and 4x4 base)
 

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retired framer
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Depending on where you are the bottom of the footing has to be below frost depth.
If the beam is going to be close to the ground the would wants to be rated for ground contact. Not sure what inspectors would say about your question.
 

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retired painter
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I've never been fond of decks built close to the ground as that limits air circulation and shortens the life of the deck. How high of the ground is the other end expected to be?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.
@red92s - That was what I was looking for. Thanks!
@Nealtw - So am I understanding correctly that beams that are close to the ground (not touching) would still need to be rated for ground contact?
@mark sr - Unfortunately, the way my property is almost necessitates it. From my back door, I have about 15 ft of flat area. Then there is a very steep hill over which I am going to be building this deck. At the front (closest to my house) it can almost be even with my yard. In the back (24 ft from the front), it is going to be at least 10 ft off the ground.
 

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Naildriver
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Depending on where you are the bottom of the footing has to be below frost depth.
Not only that, if up against the house the footer for the deck must be at the same depth as the footer of the house, so if you have a basement below this, it could be problematic.

Check, too, to see what your building dept. will require for footers on the high end. Here in our mountains, we must run continuous footers across the entire deck support system. No sonotubes, and no digging single holes. 24" wide 24" deep full of concrete and rebar.
 

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retired framer
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Thanks for the replies.
@red92s - That was what I was looking for. Thanks!
@Nealtw - So am I understanding correctly that beams that are close to the ground (not touching) would still need to be rated for ground contact?
@mark sr - Unfortunately, the way my property is almost necessitates it. From my back door, I have about 15 ft of flat area. Then there is a very steep hill over which I am going to be building this deck. At the front (closest to my house) it can almost be even with my yard. In the back (24 ft from the front), it is going to be at least 10 ft off the ground.
If it helps, you could cantilever the end of your deck some. I don't know how the rules for that apply for decks. In some cases it can be 1/4 the length of the joists.
 

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@Nealtw - So am I understanding correctly that beams that are close to the ground (not touching) would still need to be rated for ground contact?

It would be good practice to use ground contact rated lumber even if they have a bit of separation. As leaf litter and other detritus accumulates under the deck they'd likely end up in long term contact with organic matter. I think Home Depot and Lowe's are moving most of their treated lumber inventory towards GC rated products. If you buy a treated 2x8 or 2x10 from my local Home Depot . . . it's ground contact rated. They don't even stock the non-contact stuff any more.
 
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