FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
From TuffSpigot's installation guide to our Shipping Policy, this FAQ will help you find the information you need.
TuffBlock Warranty: TuffBlock won't chip, crack, corrode or grow mould like traditional concrete blocks. We're so confident in the TuffBlock, we give you a twenty five (25) year manufacturers warranty from the date of purchase.
TuffSpigot Warranty: BuildTuff warrants that the product will be free from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of ten (10) years from the date of delivery following the original retail purchase.
Mildred Warranty: BuildTuff warrants that the product will be free from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of one (1) year from the date of delivery following the original retail purchase (collectively, the “Warranty Period”). The device needs to be manually tripped and rearmed once every six months. The unit should be tripped and all batteries should be replaced every twelve months. The device should be free of water, debris, swarf and contaminates in the lines that can obstruct the valve.
For more on our warranty information, please click here.
Feel free to skip to the part that's most relevant:
0:00 What is a floating foundation system?
0:31 How much weight can each TuffBlock support?
0:43 Are TuffBlocks UV resistant?
0:58 Can I use TuffBlocks on sloping ground?
1:14 Do I need council approval?
1:34 How do posts/joists sit in the TuffBlock and do they require fixing?
1:56 Can TuffBlocks be used on wet surfaces?
2:22 Can I use TuffBlocks on sand?
2:35 Will TuffBlocks sink into the ground?
3:08 Can I use TuffBlocks in high wind areas?
3:27 How many TuffBlocks will I need for my project?
3:57 What if I have ground movement in my area?
Please note BuildTuff offers this information as a general guide only. You should rely only on relevant building codes and standard industry established construction methods in any construction project.
TuffBlock is an ultra-light weight and versatile footing made from 100% recycled materials. TuffBlocks can be used as a footing for a number of projects including low-profile and slightly raised decks, patios, sheds, landings, walkways, cubby houses, dog sheds and more.
Deck blocks were introduced over 30 years ago in the USA and since then, instant foundation blocks have been embraced worldwide for creating strong and stable foundations for both professional and DIY enthusiasts. TuffBlock's are an extremely popular alternative to digging holes, carrying heavy concrete blocks, mixing concrete and waiting for it to set. TuffBlock's are a versatile utility block and the options are endless for how you can use them to make completing your projects a breeze.
The floating foundation system has been a tried and trusted building system in North America since the late 1980s with literally tens of millions of decks being built using the system. In fact, the floating foundation system was developed for grounds that were heavily affected by freeze and thaw. If your grounds are particularly unstable, the floating foundation system such as TuffBlock is possibly a far better solution for you to use. It also keeps your structure independent from any surrounding fixed structure, allowing it to move and settle independently.
TuffBlocks are made of high strength, closed loop recycled plastic. The plastic used to create our TuffBlocks is sourced from the ocean. The great thing about this is that TuffBlocks are designed to last decades, which means they can be recycled again in future.
In most cases, yes. Especially when you consider the time and effort taken to dig multiple holes and then mix the concrete to fill them back in, not to mention the cost of buying the steel post supports and bags of concrete in the first place. Generally a steel post support and two Bags of concrete will set you back around AU$35-45. So even if you use a few more TuffBlocks you are still well ahead of the old conventional footing method.
Made in Australia for professionals and home improvement renovators. Each TuffBlock is incredibly strong, with its vertical load designed so that an individual TuffBlock can support 770kg). TuffBlock's have also been break tested to 5,000kg.
TuffBlocks have been engineered to be stackable and only weigh 680 grams each. That's 19 times lighter than standard concrete and 11 times lighter than the Handi Block.
Joists & Bearers: Accepts 35-41mm or 41-47mm joists & bearers
Posts: Accepts 90x90mm or 100x100mm posts
TuffBlocks can be used for a number of outdoor projects. Whatever you do, make sure to use your TuffBlocks on level and compact ground. The TuffBlocks will be the foundation of your build. Build ideas include decks (low profile, raised and floating decks), garden sheds, landings, pathways, raised walkways, cubby houses, dog shelters and more.
The great thing about TuffBlock is that it's far simpler to install more TuffBlocks than it is to dig deeper, wider and more holes and fill them with more concrete. In fact the Floating Foundation System was developed for grounds that were heavily affected by Freeze and Thaw ground movements.
If your grounds are particularly unstable the Floating Foundation System such as TuffBlock is possibly a far better solution for you as it keeps the structure independent from any surrounding fixed structure allowing it to move and settle independently. Furthermore you can very easily install far more TuffBlocks to greatly increase the amount of support for the structure.
TuffBlocks should be installed on a stable, undisturbed grade surface, with well-draining sub grade material. If your soil is constantly wet and gets flooded, you would need to ensure that you prepare the ground by introducing drainage which can be done via gravel or additional drainage to remove the flooding. If the ground is particularly unstable, we would recommend increasing the number of TuffBlocks supporting your structure.
The TuffBlock product is based on the floating foundation system, designed to ensure the structure is able to move slightly if the ground was to move. This is what makes the floating foundation system so safe. The structure is able to move slightly and independently of other structures as natural ground movement occurs. The TuffBlock construction method therefore avoids stresses that would otherwise see an extension from an existing structure fail. The system was originally designed for regions where the annual freezing and thawing of the ground meant that either: 1) the ground was too hard to dig, or 2) with the constant shrinking, expansion, and movement of the ground many fixed structures failed due to inability to cope with the movement they sustained.
Of course (as always check with your local building authority). Some TuffBlock users will use TuffBlocks in combination with concrete-in-ground footings to ‘tie-down’ their project (e.g. in each corner).
Yes. Simply level the ground under each TuffBlock and then level the structure above using extension posts supported in the pocket of the TuffBlock below (refer to the installation guide for more detail). Alternatively, if the impenetrable surface is sloping at a severe angle it may be worth considering using an alternative support/footing/foundation.
Yes. Use them on concrete, soil, gravel and everything in between so long as it meets the “stable ground” criteria. What is stable ground you might ask? Basically put them on any substrate which would be an acceptable base for concrete-in-ground footings, is the ground is not compact just clear away a few layers until you find compact earth.
You cannot anchor down an individual TuffBlock, but you can anchor down the entire structure with a single point in the middle or at each corner. Some methods include concreting down steel chain into a hole or you can use earth anchors which you can hammer down into the ground.
Generally the posts/joists/bearers simply sit in the TuffBlock without requiring fixing to the product. It is very easy, however to fix the block to the timber if required. As for the post staying upright, this is a function of the deck build itself. Your structure should be adequately designed and reinforced to ensure the posts are structurally sound and cross-braced.
UV stabilisers have been included in the manufacturing process which means TuffBlock is manufactured to the highest standard of any plastic product for use outdoors. However, like any plastic product we recommend TuffBlock is not installed where it is exposed to direct sunlight as this will reduce its service life below 25 years.
This is exactly where the Floating Foundation System was developed for areas in the north (USA) where freeze and thaw ground movement is a major issue for traditional "dig a hole and pour concrete" structures. So TuffBlock is a perfect solution for their application.
If you intend on using bearers on top of TuffBlocks, joists on top of bearers, and then decking or finishing material/sheeting – less TuffBlocks will be required.
As an example, a low level 3m x 3m deck would require bearers to be supported say every 1.5m, bearers would be spaced every 1.5m to support the joists, so 3 x TuffBlocks per bearer, 3 x bearers = 9 x TuffBlocks.
The above measurements are a basic guide only, refer to the TuffBlock installation guide and your material supplier to ensure correct spacing is maintained for structural integrity.
Like anything you will need to prepare the site well and ensure there is no issues with erosion or wash away (no different to if you used concrete footings). Although it is very site specific, if you are worried about erosion then we recommend reinforcing the base material. That said sand is a great substrate as long as erosion isn’t an issue.
No. As TuffBlocks support the structure well above the soil line and the blocks themselves wick moisture away from the timber there is no reason for the timber to rot or for termites to attack the posts.
Plan and understand your project and seek professional advice if needed. BuildTuff strongly suggests you make your own enquiries through appropriate bodies and professionals before any work is carried out. Some questions you may need to address are:
- Is the site going to need protection from wood boring insects?
- Has the deck got potential for water pooling or constant exposure to water?
- Is there a need to install drainage due to potential soil erosion?
- Are there any trees growing near the project whose roots could upset foundations or branches create a hazard?
- Are you building on solid ground (Eg. not reactive soil)?
- Will you need electricity, gas, water or other services to your project in the foreseeable future?
- Are there any height considerations (Eg. Fencing, balustrade and handrail needed to comply with codes)?
- Do you need an engineer to specify and detail construction drawings and methodology?
- Are there fire regulations I need to follow?
You may need approval depending on size, structure and height. Your local council or authority may also have certain building rules and regulations.
Contact your local council to confirm requirements, regulations and permitted sizes. If in a fire prone area, you may need to factor in specific requirements to meet regulations. As building guidelines change from shire to shire, we always recommend checking your local guidelines before commencing construction, we always suggest you get the thumbs up before starting your project. Unfortunately there is no single or “golden rule” answer. That being said, most countries have an exemption for structures that are less than a certain size (Eg.108 ft). Therefore, if your structure or deck area is less than specified, you may not need to seek any approvals.
For more information about building a deck in your region including which project do not require approval, contact the Australian Building Codes Board.
You may need approval depending on size, structure, height and your local council or authority.Contact your local council to confirm requirements regulations and permitted sizes vary by region. If in a bushfire prone area you may need to factor in specific requirements to meet regulations.
If you are building a decking structure in a bushfire prone area it is important to comply with building codes and the Australian Standards AS 3959. The standard covers construction in Bushfire prone areas and applies to new and retrofitted structures. Prior to construction, it is important to establish the bushfire attack level (BAL) of a home. Once BAL is established refer to the relevant section of the Australian Standards AS 3959 for a guide to the the steps that should be taken during construction or retrofitting of your project. Compliance with Australian Standard AS 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas is part of the BCA requirements for Class 1 Buildings.
These are broken down into 6 categories; BAL Low, BAL 12.5, BAL 19, BAL 29, BAL 40, and BAL Flame Zone. These levels are based on:
- The region where you live.
- The vegetation type around your property.
- The distance from your home to individual vegetation types.
- Slope on the property.
Simply click this bushfire attack level calculator link to establish the level for your construction.
Utilise dense timbers in construction of both sub floor and decking boards. The following timber species have been tested and found to meet the required parameters without having to be subjected to fire retardant treatment: Blackbutt, Merbau, Red Ironbark, River Red Gum, Silvertop Ash, Spotted Gum andTurpentine. Composite materials are also available with a BAL up to 40.
- Make sure that gaps between each board measures between 0 - 5mm. Any more may result in vulnerability to ember attack.
- Enclose the subfloor of the area using mesh or bushfire resisting timbers
- Remove leaves and twigs from the roof and gutters.
- Utilise non combustable decorative stones and more fire resistant plant species as landscaping around the structure. Avoid flammable shrubs like eucalypts and media like woodchips as these just become fuel for a fire
- Keep your verandah well maintained by sealing timber with a non-combustible seal.
- Fill in small gaps around the deck structure where an ember might be able to lodge - larger openings can be fitted with ember guards (such as perforated mesh with 2mm openings).
- Contact your local fire authority for more information.
You can buy TuffBlocks right here on our website OR via our other retailers.
Australia in-store: To purchase TuffBlock in-store, please use the Store Finder to search for your local store.
New Zealand in-store: To purchase TuffBlock in-store, please use the Store Finder to search for your local store (including: Bunnings NZ, Mitre 10 NZ, Placemakers, ITM, BuildLink, Stratco and Carters).
The BuildTuff composite fence TuffSpigot is the culmination of more than 5 years of intensive research and development by the multi-award winning team at Evolve Group. Produced using the highest quality and highest grade of engineering composite materials, the BuildTuff composite fence TuffSpigot has been tested by NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) and meets design compliance certification in accordance with AS 1926.1-2012 Swimming pool safety Safety barriers for swimming pools.
All TuffSpigots are manufactured in a state of the art ISO accredited manufacturing facility in Brisbane, Australia.
The composite (plastic) fence spigot is designed specifically for on-ground glass fencing applications and due to its non-conductive composite construction, does not require bonding to earth to comply with AS/NZS 3000:2018 Clause 126.96.36.199 equipotential bonding.
- Strictly for use on ground level installations.
- It is advised that prior to installation you familiarise yourself with any applicable local codes or building regulations.
- Suits 12mm thick glass applications.
- Tested on glass pool fence panels up to 2000mm.
- NATA tested in accordance with Australian Standards (AS 1926.1-2012 Swimming pool safety Safety barriers for swimming pools).
- Meets Equipotential Bonding (EB) requirements under AS/NZS 3000:2018 Clause 188.8.131.52 and international EB standards.
Produced using the highest quality and highest grade of engineering composite materials. TuffSpigot is ultra-robust, UV stabilised materials.
Trade and fencing customers can purchase TuffSpigot from Trade Glass Depot.
- Suits 12mm thick glass applications
- Tested on glass pool fence panels up to 2000mm
- Designed for ground level installations
2 x Composite Spigots
2 x Easy-Fit Dress Plates
2 x Friction Supports
8 x Varied Height Adjustment Shims
4 x Grub Screws
We are looking into offering these items, however they are not currently available.
No, the surface will not react with grouts.
No. Also note that our cover place is far easier to install post grouting.
Yes, TuffSpigot can be painted. The TuffSpigot comes in Satin Black only, however it can be painted at home. Follow the standard 'How to paint plastic' instructions. We also recommend giving the outside a light sanding prior to applying a primer coat.
The amber light signifies that the batteries are running low. An audible alarm should accompany the amber light - it will sound repeatedly advising you that batteries are low and need to be replaced immediately.
The Red “TRIP” L.E.D will flash and an alarm will sound repeated when the valve has been tripped (activated by water contacting the brass pins on the puck sensor). If it occurs contact your plumbing professional immediately.
Make sure a plumbing professional installs your Mildred Valve to your internal hot water system.
Please note: BuildTuff.com.au offers this information as a general guide only. You should rely only on relevant building codes and standard industry established construction methods in any construction project.