Precast Concrete Piers
Written by Todd Fratzel.
Precast Concrete Piers
In a previous posts I wrote about Porch and Deck Pier Footings and I highlighted a really great construction product, the precast concrete pier. Precast concrete piers are really great and we use them exclusively for porches and decks when we build new homes.
On a recent project, Total House Construction Series – Foundation to Finish, I wanted to point out how we used precast concrete piers. The new house has a front porch and rear deck for a hot tub so we installed the precast concrete piers to support the structural framing.
Old School = Sonotubes
Traditionally you would dig a hole in the ground, install a sonotube and then pour concrete into the hole. In theory that works pretty well but my experience over the years has been nothing short of frustrating when it comes to building piers with sonotubes. If the weather goes bad, which it does around here all the time, then the sonotubes can get wet and collapse before you get the concrete in them. Then you also face the issue of whether or not you have sufficient bearing capacity.
Precast Concrete Pier Benefits
They have a very large base for increased bearing capacity. The piers have a threaded insert cast into the top so you can connect your porch or deck posts to them. And the best part is you don’t have to worry about the weather.
Now the flip side of this is these are really only good when you have an excavator to dig a large hole and something to pick them up with.
The piers are 54″ tall so you can have the base at 48″ (depth of frost protection here in NH) and still have 6″ above finished grade. Be sure to come back and continue to follow this series as we build this new home.
Where To Buy Precast Piers
Since writing this article quite a few people have inquired about where to buy precast concrete piers. We purchase them from a local precast concrete supplier that makes septic tanks, manhole structures and misc concrete products. Some of the local building supply companies are also starting to carry them. As the popularity of these increase they are likely to be more common place.
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