A Diamond Pier footing head can be placed in a shallow hole, because deck loads aren’t actually supported by the soil beneath it. Instead, loads are transferred to the soil by pins driven through the pier.
The pins are covered with plastic inspection plugs. They can be removed, allowing a building inspector to measure the pin’s insertion depth with a tape and verify that the installation conforms to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once the pier head is pinned to the soil, a post base or other metal hardware is fastened to the pre-installed bolt embedded in the concrete.
Given suitable soils, a single worker can set all the piers for a typical residential deck in an hour or two and be ready to start framing.
The pier heads come in various sizes. The DP75 piers used on this project weigh about 75 pounds each and can easily be handled by one man.
Fine adjustments can be made to the pier’s position after the 2-inch-diameter galvanized-steel pin pipes are inserted into the guide holes in the pier head.
The pin piers come with plastic end caps that help the pin penetrate soil without filling up with dirt.
A sledgehammer is used to start the pins. In fact, it’s possible to fully drive the pins with the sledgehammer in this relatively soft sandy soil.
With a demolition hammer and special pin driving bit, it takes less than 10 minutes to fully drive all the pins for a pier.
The installer works his way around the pier head, driving each pin about a foot at a time before moving on to the next pin.