Staying Dry Beneath an Underdeck
Ask anyone with any kind of decking in their yard if they’re glad they had it installed, and it’s a given they’ll say yes. Ask them if there’s one thing they’d like to fix, however, and there’s a good chance they’ll mention the wasted space beneath, particularly if they have a second-story deck.
That dark, dank space beneath a deck, made even more unpleasant after a heavy rain, has long been the bane of many homeowners’ existence. Advances in decking, however, have made it possible to transform that wasted space into an enjoyable living space, a gathering place for parties or a handy storage area.
What’s an Underdeck?
An underdeck is a vinyl construction that attaches to the underside of your deck to create a closed system with positive drainage that directs rain runoff away from the decking infrastructure. It provides a functional “ceiling” for the space beneath your deck and offers several benefits:
- Less moisture damage. By redirecting water flow away from your deck, an underdeck helps prevent moisture from seeping into the foundation and forming mold. Sturdy vinyl components are attached to the joists underneath the elevated decking to create a network of angled surfaces that directs runoff water. The water gently falls below to the collector panels, and is passed through to the joist gutters that allow the water to exit away from your decking.
- No more icy deck. An underdeck carries away extra water and prevents it from puddling on the surface of your deck. The positive drainage flow instantly removes excess water from the system, water and snow won’t collect and freeze inside the gutter system.
- Protection from mold and sun. Underdecks are built with a reliable vinyl construction designed for exterior use. Each 42mm-thick vinyl component is treated with fungicides and anti-bacterial additives to prevent mold and bacteria from forming. Added UV protection means the sun’s rays won’t dull the exterior or weaken the structure, even after years of heavy exposure.
- Convenience. Because they’re made of vinyl, underdecks are maintenance-free. The components are easy to remove and reinstall.
- Deters bees and other pests. How many times have you had to deal with bee, wasp or hornet nests settling in below your deck? Because bees find the underdeck’s vinyl structure much less appealing than wood, removing nests or hives will be a thing of the past.
- Adds living space. You can use an underdeck to immediately create a new patio, add screens on all sides to build an airy porch, or convert the room into an extra outdoor storage area. With dripping water no longer a concern, you can furnish the new space for an even homier feel.
- Can be wired for electricity. An underdeck allows you to install ceiling fans or other lighting to brighten up the space. You could even install a home entertainment system.
Installing an Underdeck
The underdeck is engineered to fit any kind of deck design, so you can incorporate one into your new decking project or add one to an existing deck. The customizable nature of its construction allows it to fit snugly with any joist spaces ranging from five to twenty-four inches on center, and the vinyl components can easily be trimmed in order to fit your deck’s unique architecture. Underdecks are designed for simple installation for the do-it-yourselfer, and the process typically takes about five hours for a standard 12-foot-by-12-foot deck.
With the help of an underdeck, you can reclaim that uninviting space beneath your deck and transform it into a usable living area.