When it comes to below-ground support structures, necessity is clearly the mother of invention. Two unique products were born after their manufacturers saw opportunities to keep support posts for decks, docks, fences, and other structures secure and well protected.

“I once had a business partner who had a project installing 16 posts for a deck,” remembers Jack Fickes, president of Bigfoot Systems. “He built an 8-inch-thick wood form around the base of each post, and he always ended up with a cold joint and a 90-degree turn.” Deciding there had to be a better way, Fickes' partner turned a flower pot upside down at the base of the fence post for extra support. Today, the resulting high-density recycled polyethylene Bigfoot bell footing has been anchoring concrete supports for more than 10 years.

Bigfoot bell footings (left), add stability to concrete footings, while MFM's Post & Pole protects wood posts from moisture and insect degradation.
Bigfoot bell footings (left), add stability to concrete footings, while MFM's Post & Pole protects wood posts from moisture and insect degradation.

Easy to use, Bigfoot comes in four sizes to accommodate concrete forms for many applications. Simply match the tube to the correct size Bigfoot, screw them together, and pour the concrete to fill the tube. Compared with building a wooden box support, Fickes says Bigfoot saves 90% of labor costs, and also guards against uplift so footings, and the structures built on them, are secure even in high winds.

Meanwhile, in wooden-post applications, such as fence installations, MFM Products offers the Post & Pole moisture barrier. “Some co-workers and I noticed the local power company digging up the area around their power poles and wrapping roofing paper around the portion that would be underground,” says Tod Windsor, director of marketing for MFM, of Post & Pole's inspiration.

The product itself is a tear- and puncture-resistant rubberized asphalt protective wrap, much like the roofing underlayments and other protective barriers the company manufactures. Post & Pole is used to wrap the portion of wood posts that will be buried in the ground, and the material protects the lumber from moisture degradation and bacteria. Moreover, Windsor says using Post & Pole between ACQ-treated wood and metal fasteners helps prevent corrosion.

Simple to install, Bigfoot and Post & Pole can help you ensure that building supports are well-protected, even in places you and your clients can't see.