Building a gazebo requires a lot of planning that begins with the creation of a strong foundation to support the roof. In addition, the gazebo foundation provides an anchor against wind and erosion, and helps distribute the structure’s weight. It also separates the wall or posts from contact with the ground to minimize the risk of decay due to moisture.
Things to Consider for Your Gazebo Foundation
Undoubtedly, the hardest part is building the foundation. One of the important things to remember is that the footing, which is the bottom part of the foundation usually made from concrete and reinforced steel, must be extended into solid ground. For those living in colder climates it is important to extend the foundation’s footing below the frost line. This will prevent frost heave or the swelling of soil in freezing conditions from disturbing the footing. A typical steel reinforced concrete footing must extend 6 inches below the frost line.
There are several ways to create a level gazebo foundation. The wonderful aspect here is you can build a solid foundation regardless of the type of ground the gazebo rests on. However, the first thing to remember is to follow all the requirements of your local building codes or homeowner association rules. For example, for wooden decks or cement slabs, the cement posts and footings must be a minimum of 10 inches square and set below the frost line. To ensure adequate support for larger gazebos you may want to consider a concrete pad or footings.
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Choose from a Variety of Materials
A variety of materials can be used to create a solid foundation for your gazebo. This includes crushed gravel, brick patio, wooden frame, or raised blocks, to name a few. It is always prudent to choose a material that is long lasting, depending on the climate. One of the major benefits of building a foundation is that it helps elevate the gazebo to the perfect height so that it becomes the ideal viewing platform in your garden.
Wood Floor Foundations
Many gazebos are designed with a wood frame floor, which can be placed on a concrete foundation or on skids and concrete blocks. Wood skids and wood floor foundations are the cheapest alternative where you can remove around 4 to 6 inches of earth around the gazebo area and replace it with 4 inches of pea gravel and then position the skids by nailing the outer floor joists to both the front and rear rim joists and the other joists to the skid.
Once the skids are in place you can complete the floor framing connect the floor joists to the rim joists. It is recommended to use tongue and groove extra grade plywood to make the floor stronger and more durable. The floor framing must be fastened to the floor joists with nails on center at the edge of the sheets and the center along the intermediate floor joists.
Pre-cast and Cast Concrete Piers
To create a stronger foundation for a gazebo you use concrete with the help of precast piers. You will need to die a footing of at least 14 inches wide and 6 inches deep below the frost line. Next, pour the concrete into the footing hole and spray the pier with water. The pier must be embedded at least 3 inches into the fresh concrete and twisted slightly to allow the pier and concrete to form a solid bond. It is pivotal to check if the hole has enough concrete. The next step is to attach the beam support posts to the pier or toenail the beams into the precast pier nailer blocks.
To construct the floor start at the outside joists and then move across to the cross support joints to complete the gazebo floor. One of the biggest benefits of cast concrete piers is that the framing can be attached to piers by various methods. Wooden blocks can be glued to the top of the pier or by embedding straps within the pier’s body. However, piers may not be a viable alternative in colder climates since they are subject to frost heaving.
When it comes to building a gazebo you could assemble one together from a gazebo kit, commission an original design or building one from a set of plans. The latter may require excellent carpentry skills and is recommended for the more experienced handyman. On the other hand, you can choose from a variety of kits from which you can assemble a gazebo.
These kits are inexpensive and can help you have a beautiful gazebo up in your backyard in a day. Prefab kits are one of the most popular options which consists of precut pieces with the roof, sides, and floor preassembled in sections. You will find a range of affordable kits made from fir or pine which is pressure treated in addition to higher end models made of weather and rot-resistant western red cedar.