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How To Use A Concrete Pier Block With Wood Cap

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Concrete pier blocks with wood caps are footings that support structural beams or posts. You might need them for a building project at home and wonder how to use them. Don't worry because we have done the research to provide you with everything you need to know about using concrete pier blocks with wood caps.

Concrete pier blocks with wood caps are similar to concrete deck blocks in their function and use. The wood cap makes it easier to attach wood to the concrete block. Below is a simple guide you can follow when using concrete pier blocks with wood caps.

  1. Plan the location of the concrete pier blocks.
  2. Prepare the area where you will install the pier blocks.
  3. Install and secure the blocks.
  4. Attach and secure the structure's foundation to the wood cap of the concrete pier blocks.

There are a number of ways you can use a concrete pier block with wood caps. It depends on the project you are working on. Continue reading as we discuss all the essential information you will need when using concrete pier blocks with wood caps in your building project.

How Do I Use Concrete Pier Blocks With Wood Caps?

A shot of a cement deck block foundation installed on the ground

Concrete pier blocks with wood caps are similar to concrete deck blocks. Both materials serve the same function to support a standing structure.

Concrete pier blocks with wood caps and concrete deck blocks are lugs that hold up posts for either a deck or a patio cover. The difference between the two materials is that concrete deck blocks do not have a wood cap.

Concrete pier blocks should not be confused with precast concrete piers. A precast concrete pier is a construction element that has the same function as a concrete pier block. However, a precast concrete pier block is larger and heavier.

While concrete pier blocks are also precast, they are much lighter and can be easily used in small home projects. The size and weight of both materials are different, but they have the same function.

Below is a simple guide you can refer to when using a concrete pier block with a wood cap.

Plan The Location Of The Pier Blocks

The number of pier blocks you will use depends on your project. If you are building a deck, refer to the overall length and width of the walking surface. From this measurement, distribute the pier blocks four to six feet apart.

It is important to note that four to six feet between each concrete pier block is not a fixed distance. The distance will change depending on the weight of the deck, the function of the structure, and how much weight your pier blocks can support.

Not all concrete pier blocks have the same size and degree of sturdiness, so you should consider all of these variables when planning out how many pier blocks you will need. Once you have figured out how many concrete pier blocks you will use, you can plan where each will sit under the structure.

Prepare The Area

As we mentioned earlier, concrete pier blocks with wood caps are similar to concrete deck blocks. This means that the method to follow when using a concrete pier block is similar to using a concrete deck block.

To use a concrete pier block, you will need to dig holes where the blocks will be situated. The block should be buried at least 12 inches under undisturbed soil. Undisturbed soil refers to soil that has not been excavated.

Concrete pier block on the construction with wooden pillar, How To Use A Concrete Pier Block With Wood Cap

It is important to note that this depth level for burying concrete pier blocks is also not fixed. Various factors can influence the actual measurement that you should use when burying a concrete pier block.

The type of structure, the type of soil, and the climate in your location should all be considered when digging holes for concrete pier blocks. You should contact your local building authorities to find out how deep concrete pier blocks should be buried in your area.

Once you have figured out the correct depth for the concrete pier block, you can prepare the area by digging the holes in which the concrete blocks will be installed.

Install And Secure The Blocks

Cement deck footing installed

Secure the concrete pier block in the ground by filling up the surrounding space with soil. You need to make sure that the object is securely in place. This will help prevent the materials from moving too much due to a lack of stability.

Structural foundations can move due to soil erosion, extreme weather, or other natural causes. However, you can reduce the chances of your structure moving by building it on solid ground.

As we mentioned before, the type of soil in which you put the concrete pier blocks should be considered when preparing holes for the blocks. This is because some types of soil can hold a concrete pier block in place better compared to other soils.

Grainy soil is the best type for burying concrete pier blocks. Grainy soils with sand or gravel do not retain a lot of moisture compared to clay soil.

This well-draining characteristic of sand and gravel soil allows them to keep their shape better during frost or rain. When the soil keeps its shape well, the concrete footings of the structure will be prevented from moving.

Attach The Foundation

Cement deck block installed in grass

After securing the concrete pier blocks in place, you can attach the foundation of the structure you are building. From here on, the foundation will depend on the project you are working on.

The biggest difference between a concrete pier block with a wood cap and a concrete deck block is that a wood cap is installed on top of the block. With a concrete deck block, you only have notches at the top, where the foundation will rest.

The downside of a concrete deck block is the susceptibility of the foundation to shift and move by uncontrolled external forces. The notches on top of the material can only hold the foundation in place, not permanently secure it.

On the other hand, a wooden foundation can be easily attached to concrete pier blocks with wood caps. You can do this by installing structural screws or metal brackets to connect the foundation to the wood cap. This increases the bond of the post with the pier.

Watch the video below for details.

How Do I Use Adjustable Concrete Pier Blocks?

Adjustable concrete pier blocks

An adjustable concrete pier block is a concrete block that can be used for building decks or patio covers. It is a variety of concrete pier block that is different than a precast concrete pier.

You can use an adjustable concrete pier block the same way you use a concrete pier block with a wood cap. The only difference between the two is that the adjustable concrete pier block does not have a wood cap—it has an adjustable metal post bracket instead.

Below is a simple guide you can follow when using a concrete pier block.

  1. Create a hole in the middle of the concrete block that is 1 inch wide and 3 1/2 inches deep.
  2. Insert the adjustable metal post bracket into the hole.
  3. Use a wrench to adjust the nut on the bracket until the desired height is reached.

Make sure that you are following the local building codes when deciding on the height of the metal bracket.

Once you have attached the adjustable metal post bracket, you can follow the guide we provided for using concrete pier blocks with wood caps. The only difference is that you will attach the post directly to the metal bracket instead of the wood cap.

Can I Use Concrete Pier Blocks Instead Of Footing?

You can use concrete pier blocks instead of concrete footing that is cast on-site for the construction. This is because concrete pier blocks are also considered footings.

The only difference between the two is that concrete pier blocks are pre-cast. This means that they are shaped into lugs before construction. The soil goes around them in the hole, unlike with traditional footing, which involves pouring wet concrete into the hole.

Concrete pier blocks are useful for small home projects, or if mixing concrete on-site is not an option. Remember to comply with your local building codes when using concrete pier or deck blocks.

To Wrap Up

cement deck block foundation installed on the ground

Concrete pier blocks with wood caps offer a stable anchor for the wooden posts of decks or patio covers. They are similar to concrete deck blocks in their function and use.

In this article, we discussed the process of using concrete pier blocks with wood caps. We also discussed how you can use concrete pier blocks with adjustable metal post brackets. Make sure to use the best material for your building project.

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