Cutting and Raising Posts
The posts support the beams which support the joists, so the tops of the posts
have to level with each other for proper stability.
of variations in the height of the footings, the length of each post should be
determine a post's height, set it temporarily in place on its footing.
a 2x4 long enough to extend from the ledger board past the post, and set one end
in a joist hanger.
the other end of the 2x4 alongside the post, and set a level on top to hold it
in a level position.
a second level to make sure the post is plumb, and then mark where the bottom
of the 2x4 crosses the post. That transfers the height of the bottom of the ledger
board to the post.
Use a square to draw a straight line through the mark, if the post will be supporting
a flush beam.
OPTION: If the post will be supporting a dropped beam, measure down from the
mark representing the bottom of the ledger board a distance representing the height
of the beam (9-1/2 inches for a 2x10 beam) and then draw a straight line through
drawing the first straight line, move the square to the next side of the post,
line it up with the first line and draw another line on that side. Do the same
on the remaining 2 sides to create level cutting lines all the way around the
Use a circular saw to cut along the lines on all 4 sides of the 6x6 post.
your cuts lined up, use a square as a saw guide.
circular saw blade doesn't quite reach the center of a 6x6 post, but you can finish
the cut with a hand saw.
Posts can slide off their footings in high winds so codes will often require some
kind of anchoring system.
One option is to use 6-inch drift pins, cut from 1/2-inch steel bars.
a half-inch drill and a half-inch masonry bit to pre-drill 3-inch holes centered
in the tops of the concrete pier blocks and set the pins in the holes. Use a hammer
if necessary to drive them in all the way, leaving 3 inches exposed.
matching holes in the bottom of each post.
Before raising the posts into position, spread exterior glue over the tops of
the pier blocks for solid adhesion.
fill the drift pin holes in the bottoms of the posts with glue to anchor the solidly
in each one.
raise the posts up, line up the holes with the pins and lower the posts down onto
the pier blocks. On
a tall deck, the posts will be long and may require two people.
sure that there's a positive connection between the bottom of the post and the
concrete, especially in windy or earthquake prone areas.
NOTE: Rest only the UNCUT end of a treated post on the concrete because that'll be
the most resistant to decay. If it's not possible, re-treat the ends with a chemical
mixture available at home centers.
Using Anchor Brackets
A variety of galvanized steel brackets are available to anchor posts to concrete footings or pier blocks. The best will allow you to adjust the position of the post on the footing, in case your footing isn’t EXACTLY where it needs to be.
A “standoff” anchor will hold the bottom of the post slightly above the surface of the concrete. The advantage of this is that the bottom of the post won’t absorb moisture if the footing gets wet from rain or snow.
and Bracing Posts
a couple of 1x4 braces and a couple of stakes standing by for each post you raise
so you can plumb and brace them immediately.
- After setting a post on a pier block, screw the braces into the post on perpendicular
sides, loose enough to flex the braces a bit.
- Drive the stakes in where the braces hit the ground, so they're ready to anchor the
the level on the side of the post facing one the first brace and shift the post
as needed to make it plumb.
- Then screw the brace into the stake while holding
the post plumb.
the same steps on the side facing the other brace and secure that one to the stake.
the braces in place until the deck framing is done.