Under-deck Enclosure - Part 3 of 3
Made of weather-resistant vinyl, this under-deck system creates an attractive, maintenance-free ceiling that keeps the space below dry throughout the seasons.
Second-story walk-out decks can be a mixed blessing. On top, you have an open, sun-filled perch with a commanding view of the landscape. The space below the deck, however, is all too often a dark and chilly nook that is functionally unprotected from water runoff. As a result, an under-deck area often ends up as wasted space or becomes a holding area for seasonal storage items or the less desirable outdoor furniture.
But there’s an easy way to reclaim all that convenient outdoor space—by installing a weatherizing ceiling system that captures runoff water from the deck above, leaving the area below dry enough to convert into a versatile outdoor room. You can even enclose the space to create a screened-in patio room.
The under-deck system featured in this project is designed for do-it-yourself installation. Its components are made to fit almost any standard deck and come in three sizes to accommodate different deck-joist spacing (for 12", 16", and 24" on-center spacing). Once the system is in place, the under-deck area is effectively “dried in”, and you can begin adding amenities like overhead lighting, ceiling fans, and speakers to complete the outdoor room environment.
The system works by capturing water that falls through the decking above and channeling it to the outside edge of the deck. Depending on your plans, you can let the water fall from the ceiling panels along the deck’s edge, or you can install a standard rain gutter and downspout to direct the water to a single exit point on the ground.
How to Install an Under-deck System
If collector panels are misshapen because the joist spacing is too tight, free the panel within the problem area, then trim about 1⁄8” from the side edge of the panel. Reset the panel in the rails. If necessary, trim the panel edge again in slight increments until the panel fits properly.
Working Around Beams
For decks that have joists resting on top of a structural beam, stop the joist gutters and boundary gutters 11⁄2" short of the beam. Install a standard rain gutter along the house-side of the beam to catch the water as it exits the system gutters. (On the opposite side of the beam, begin new runs of joist gutters that are tight against the beam and stop 1⁄4" short of the rim joist. The joist rails and collector panels should clear the beam and can be installed as usual.) Or, you can simply leave the overhang area alone if you do not need water runoff protection below it.