Free Deck Plans
Free Deck Plans
Choose from hundreds of permit ready designs. Our deck plans include a detailed framing plan, footing layout, material list and typical details. These plans are free to download as pdf files that can be printed to 1/4" - 1' scale on 11x17 paper.

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Wood Support Post

We recommend using 6x6 pressure treated posts for deck supports.  In the past 4x4’s were commonly used for support posts but 6x6’s are preferable because they are much stronger, more stable and offer a larger surface area for supporting beams and contacting the ground.  We have seen a 4x4’s bow as much as 6” causing the entire deck to sag 1”.  Yikes! Many building departments won't allow you to use 4x4's if you are building more than 60" off the ground.  If the deck is over 12' high we strongly recommend installing bracing to stabilize bending moments. 

Compression strength for 6x6's (wet to dry)
Douglas Fir: 1300-1700 psi (lbs per square inch) 
Pine 960 - 1200 psi

Buried support posts or installing posts in direct contact with the ground require using .60 RET ground contact rated pressure treated wood to prevent rot and decay.  You want to purchase support posts that are as straight as possible because long wood posts have a tendency to twist and bow.    6x6 rough sawn cedar posts can also be used for supports but are very expensive and should never be buried in the ground.  Wood support posts are prone to checking and cracking because they tend to dry out unevenly because of their thickness.  The higher the moisture content the more severely the posts will crack.


Comments, Questions and Reviews


We are building a free standing deck. 12x28. We are using 2 in.x24 in. patio blocks and 6x6 treated posts cut to 9 1/2 inches high. We are using beams made from 3. 2x10 x 12 foot. Then we are putting 2x8x10 as the floor joist and then across that 2x6x12 for the deck floor. Is this enough support? We will also be putting bracing on the posts for strength. What do you think????.

posted by Suszanne Jones at 8/1/2015 7:50:48 PM

I plan on adding an upper deck on top of a lower deck that is already in place. Can I mount 6x6 posts directly to the lower deck or do I need to cut holes in the lower deck and somehow find a way to dig holes below the current deck? Want to build a deck that comes off of the 2nd floor bedroom. Is there anything stronger than 6x6 posts that I could use to limit the amount of posts obstructing the lower view?

posted by mustang01apr00 at 7/22/2015 12:01:33 AM

I need to make a couple of 2" x3" notches in a 6x6 pergola post to accomadate railing for my deck. Will this cause a problem?

posted by DannyH at 7/16/2015 8:18:22 PM

how much can you notch a 6x6 post

posted by DannyH at 7/19/2015 7:10:06 PM

I will be building a ground level deck. My plan is using concrete piers with 4x4 spanning the piers. I want to use 2x6 as for the Joists. is the plan feesable

posted by James461 at 7/8/2015 11:58:04 PM

I have a pergola over my deck. It has 6x6 posts. One of these posts is partially in line with my deck posts. I want to replace my railing with a different kind but it would require me to notch out 2" out of the pergola post. Is this okay?

posted by DannyH at 7/16/2015 2:50:17 PM

plan on using 40" - 46" dia. white pine logs for 3 of 4 corner posts of a tree house. Any suggestions on treating logs?

posted by jdub at 5/18/2015 9:34:06 AM

I also saw this under gazebo construction. "We recommend using continuous 6x6 posts to support the deck and roof structure. In order to do this you will need to notch out the posts to accept the deck beam and roof header." I would have thought the deck beam notch in the 6x6 would make the upper pergola posts less stable but perhaps I am mistaken and this is the ticket.

posted by markhusbands at 12/16/2014 10:06:22 PM

I''''m interested in building a ground level or near ground deck with a pergola. In this case is it better to mount the 6x6 pergola posts directly to the deck footings, and attach the deck beams to the sides of the posts with carriage bolts, or mount the deck beams to short notched posts (on footings) and then mount separate pergola posts on the deck surface?

posted by markhusbands at 12/16/2014 10:05:52 PM

We are building a deck on top of a steel shipping container. We were planning on using 4x4''s to frame the entire thing, instead of using 4x4 posts and 2x6 wood for the inner skeleton. Is using 4x4''s for the entire skeleton a bad idea? Are they going to bow? Please help before we make a big mistake! :)

posted by ym333 at 8/4/2014 11:24:21 AM

I would need more information about the size of the frame and the number of posts to answer your question.

posted by mike at 8/5/2014 8:59:04 AM

It wouldn''t be typical to use 4x4''s as joists and beams.

posted by mike at 8/5/2014 9:00:15 AM