How to Use a Concrete Pier Block: Your Ultimate Guide

Do you have a deck project looming on the horizon?

Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or a DIY enthusiast, knowing how to use a concrete pier block like a pro could help make your project successful. This guide will discuss the process of installing concrete pier blocks and concrete deck blocks and provide insights on pouring concrete.

What Are Concrete Pier Blocks?

A concrete pier block, also known as a deck block or deck pier block, is a vital element in the construction world. It’s a solid block of concrete designed to support structures like decks, houses, and railings. They are typically familiar to people who have taken on home improvement projects involving decks.

The Role of Concrete Deck Blocks

Deck pier blocks are vital in building a safe and secure deck. They serve as the foundation that supports the deck’s weight, ensuring it’s safe for use for years to come.

Deck blocks are easy to use and install, making them a popular option for many DIY enthusiasts. They eliminate the need for digging holes and pouring concrete footings, which means less labor and time in your deck project.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Concrete Pier Blocks?

Concrete pier blocks come with a variety of pros and cons. One of the pros is that they’re easy to install, typically less prone to rot and insects, and don’t require digging holes or pouring concrete footings, thus simplifying the process for many homeowners. On the other hand, one common con is that they may not be as strong or secure in areas with high winds, as their stability can vary depending on the weight they are supporting.

Here are other benefits and drawbacks of concrete pier blocks:


  • Cost-effective. Compared to the traditional concrete pouring method, pier blocks are relatively cost-effective. There’s less need for labor, materials, or equipment, reducing the overall costs of your project.
  • Flexibility. Concrete pier blocks provide a level of flexibility. If you decide to change the layout or location of your structure, these blocks can be adjusted or moved more easily compared to a poured concrete foundation.


  • Local building codes. In some areas, local building codes may not permit the use of pier blocks for certain types of structures. You may need to check with local authorities to ensure you adhere to all regulations, which could add a layer of complexity to your project.
  • Potential for uneven settlement. Pier blocks can settle unevenly over time, depending on the soil conditions and the structure’s weight. This could potentially lead to an unstable or unlevel structure. Frequent checks and adjustments may be necessary to ensure the structure remains level and safe.
  • Not suitable for heavy structures. Concrete pier blocks are typically not recommended for heavy structures or multi-level decks. The weight of such structures might be too much for pier blocks to support safely, potentially leading to structural issues down the line.

Choosing the Right Concrete Pier Block

Picking the right concrete pier block means considering the weight it has to support. The location of your structure, the building codes in your area, and the soil type in your yard are also essential factors. You can find a variety of deck blocks at local stores like Lowes. Pick one that’s best suited for your project’s requirements.


  • Weight. The block must handle the weight of the deck, house, or railings it supports.
  • Building codes. These codes vary from location to location, so familiarize yourself with local regulations before purchasing your pier blocks.
  • Soil type. The ground type may affect the stability of the blocks.

How to Install Concrete Pier Blocks

The process of installing a concrete pier block is straightforward and can be completed by following these steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Properly preparing the area before installing concrete pier blocks is critical in ensuring your structure’s stable and durable foundation.

  • Start by identifying and marking the location where each block will be placed according to your construction plan.
  • Clear this area of any debris, rocks, or vegetation that could obstruct the block’s placement. Using a shovel, level the ground as much as possible, removing any high spots and filling low areas with compactable gravel or soil. If your area experiences frost, dig below the frost line to prevent movement from freeze and thaw cycles.
  • Once leveled, compact the soil or gravel to create a firm, stable surface. You can do this using a hand tamper or a mechanical compactor rented from home improvement stores.
  • Finally, check the area with a level tool to ensure it’s flat. This thorough preparation will provide a solid base for your concrete pier blocks, ensuring they remain stable and secure for years.

Step 2: Position the Block

Once your site is prepared, place your concrete pier block onto the leveled and compacted area. Ensure the block is square with the planned structure to avoid later alignment issues. If using multiple blocks, measure from corner to corner in an X pattern to ensure they are positioned accurately.

Use a carpenter’s level on top of the block in multiple directions (side-to-side and front-to-back) to confirm the block is level. If not, adjust by adding or removing small amounts of soil or gravel underneath until the block sits level. Remember, a block that is not level can compromise the structural integrity of your project, so take the time to ensure each block is correctly positioned and level before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: Secure the Block

Once your concrete pier block is properly positioned, the next step is to secure it to ensure it remains stable and level over time.

If your region experiences frequent high winds or if the block will support a substantial weight, you might need to use additional methods to secure it. One common approach involves the use of rebar. Drive a long piece of rebar into the ground through the pre-drilled hole in the center of the pier block until it hits solid ground beneath, anchoring the block in place. You can also use concrete adhesive to bond the block to a solid concrete base if you’re using one.

If the block supports a vertical post, ensure the post fits snugly into the pier block’s opening. Once placed, the post can be secured with brackets or strong construction adhesive for added stability. Remember, each block’s secure placement is essential in creating a safe and durable structure.

Step 4: Attach the Post

Attaching the post to your concrete pier block is the final critical step in the installation process. Concrete pier blocks are typically designed with an integrated bracket or an opening in the top to accommodate a wooden post.

  • Start by placing the post into the opening, ensuring it fits snugly. The post should be cut to the correct length based on your project requirements before putting it into the block. Use a level to confirm that the post stands perfectly vertical (plumb) in all directions.
  • Once it’s properly positioned, you can secure the post to the block. Depending on the design of your pier block, this could involve using specific fasteners, metal brackets, or construction adhesive.

The connection between the post and the block must be strong and secure to support your deck, house, or other structure.

What Is Pouring Concrete for Foundational Support?

Pouring concrete footings is another option for providing foundational support to structures. This process involves digging holes in the ground, placing forms in the hole, and then having the concrete poured directly into the forms. The forms are removed once the concrete has been set, and a concrete pier is left to support the structure.

Pros of Pouring Concrete for Foundations

  • Strength and durability. Poured concrete foundations are known for their strength and durability. They provide a sturdy and secure structure base, supporting heavier loads than other foundation types like concrete blocks.
  • Resistance to elements. Poured concrete foundations offer excellent resistance to fire, water, and wind. They are less likely to move during high winds or floods, and they don’t readily burn, enhancing the safety and stability of your structure.
  • Customizability. To pour concrete, it can be molded to fit any shape, allowing for customization according to the specific design of your structure. This versatility is a significant advantage when constructing buildings with unique or complex foundations.
  • Low maintenance. Poured concrete foundations require minimal maintenance, as they are less prone to leakage or structural damage over time. This durability can lead to cost savings in the long run.

Cons of Pouring Concrete for Foundations

  • Time-consuming. Pouring a concrete foundation can be a time-consuming process. It involves preparing the ground, setting up forms, pouring the concrete, and then allowing it to cure properly. This process can take several days to complete, which can delay the progress of your construction project.
  • Requires professional skills. Pouring a concrete foundation involves technical steps that typically need professional skills and experience. Doing it incorrectly can lead to structural issues, making it not the best option for DIY enthusiasts.
  • Cost. Pouring concrete can be more expensive compared to other methods, like using concrete blocks. The costs include the materials and labor for setting up, pouring, and curing the concrete.
  • Permanent. Once the concrete is poured and cured, it becomes a permanent fixture. If any changes need to be made, it can be difficult and costly. It’s vital to get the design and execution right the first time.

Wrapping Up

Learning to use a concrete pier block is valuable, especially if you’re keen on DIY projects. Whether you’re building a deck, setting up railings, or providing additional support for your house, understanding the proper use and installation of these blocks is crucial. Be mindful of local building codes, assess the weight your pier blocks need to support and follow a careful installation process. It’s all about making the right choices and following the proper steps.

So, grab a cart, head over to your local hardware store, and start on your journey to create a structure that is not only secure and safe but also a product of your hard work and determination.

Not confident of your skills? Give us a call now, and we will help you out.

Photo by ALTEREDSNAPS  on Pexels

Leave a Comment