What is Underdecking?

We have built so many 2nd story decks over the past 15 years and so many of them create a space underneath them that is dark and uninviting. To keep that patio space under your deck dry and give it a finished feel then you need underdecking.

Underdecking is a system of panels, channels, or chutes that are designed to catch the water that leaks between the decking and joists of a deck. The water is directed to gutters and downspouts. Underdecking creates a finished look and feel, effectively creating more livable space under a deck.

If this sounds like the solution your deck needs to make that patio area a usable one, then let’s dive into what makes up an underdecking system and what this project will cost.

mobile-fort-collins-wood-deck-underdecking

What do you put under a second-story deck to keep it from dripping onto a patio below?

Well, underdecking of course! So the underdecking systems that we install are made up of a few main parts:

  • The Track 
  • The Outer Frame Pieces (g and j channel)
  • The Gutter (and downspouts)
  • The Panels

How do you install Underdecking?

To start the underdecking project, we will first assess all of the different variables surrounding your deck. We will of course already have the materials in hand so we are not trying to assess what we need, but rather exactly how to install in with your current deck setup.

The first thing that needs to be figured out is fall; as in, water-fall. We need to decide which direction we want the water to flow, towards the house or away from the house. Now some of you might be thinking, why on earth would you want to direct water back towards the house? 

A scenario where you would potentially want something like this is when the house has gutters leading down the house into underground PVC. This ‘system’ for directing the water underground and away from the house would be a great place to tie into so in this instance, we would recommend channeling the water toward the house and into the underground system.

After the gutter location is decided, measurements have to be taken to make sure that the whole system will have enough fall to direct water into that gutter. Some things to note at this stage are things like deck framing lumber. Meaning, what framing material did they use to build the deck? If the frame is smaller material like 2×6 for instance, you will have less material under the deck to attach the outer frame to. In fact, some material may need to be added like framing material or even fascia material to hide the sides of the system if it hangs too low.

Putting up the tracks

After the plan is finalized the tracks can start to go up. The tracks are these really long (12ish feet) black metal pieces that have small teeth built into them that hang down from the ceiling ready to grab the panels. These teeth are designed for the finished panels to snap into.

The number of tracks that you put up will depend on your project but you will essentially be putting up supports to hold the panels and should they start to get weight in them, ie water, it will get heavy out there in the middle of the deck. For a smaller deck, you may only need 1 or 2 rows of tracks where a larger deck may need 2 or 3 rows.

Each row of tracks will have to start at the same place so that they are all lined up perfectly. The rows will also have to be at different heights from the ceiling depending on the fall needed for your specific project. These are generally held up with a 3 to 4-inch screw that’s hanging down a bit so that you can adjust the whole track up and down.

Creating the frame

Now the frame pieces are coming out of the boxes and onto the job site horses. These pieces are aluminum that feature a faux wood finish of your color choice. They are also very long pieces, somewhere in the 12-16-foot range, and have a couple of different shape profiles.

The two different shapes can be seen looking down the ends of the frame channels. One looks like a G and one looks a J. These different shapes make up the side panels and back panels of the frame and the fourth piece of the rectangle would be the gutter.

Every deck can be so different so this process really is a custom one. Ideally, you want the gutter to be one seamless piece covering the outside edge of the deck. Then two side panels what are cut down in just right into the gutter back to the house with the last part of the frame across the siding. What can get tricky is if you have large columns and/or if you have stone! Now you are freestyling with your frame creation skills.

The gutter needs fall from the middle of the deck towards the outsides in most cases. Make sure you have a 4-foot level handy and can make sure that water will actually leave this system. Near both ends of the gutter, you will want to drill/ cut out for your downspout inserts. These plastic inserts and the end caps will need to be installed with the help of some gutter sealant.

Getting the tracks and the frame installed are the most time-consuming parts of the entire project. There is so much calculating and the material that does go up doesn’t really cover anything, it’s just the skeleton so far. But after you get to this point, this is where the project really starts to fly.

Putting up the panels

Now all that’s left is to put up the aluminum panels that make up the finished ceiling. These panels are also an area of color choice with the faux wood or plain white. We will use special saw blades to cut them to just the right length and account for any custom shapes.

The panel goes in up and over the gutter, and then are pulled into place inside the outer perimeter’s ‘C’ channel. Once that first panel is installed into place, the rest go up with amazing speed. The panels have a lip that goes into the black metal track we installed earlier and then we just snap the other side closed into the teeth.

The metal teeth snap-in system makes for a no-fastener, very beautiful finish that can also be taken back apart if necessary.

Now it time to just let everything seal and set and then test it out. After the gutter sealant has complete cured you can grab the hose and start spraying down the deck with water while someone is watching underneath the deck to see if there are any trouble spots. If so, reassess with caulk and if not, enjoy your new space.

If you would like to talk to someone right now about a quote for your specific project goals, then give us a call at 970-663-2868.

At TNT Home Improvements we’ve been building decks, patio covers, pergolas, and installing new windows and siding since 2005. Please give us a call or visit the contact us page to learn more about getting underdecking installed under your deck.

What Is the Difference Between a Deck, Patio, Porch, Covered Roof, and Sunroom?

picture of a huge deck and cover built in Loveland, CO

When it comes to home improvements and additions, it helps to know the difference between some of the different options before you start hiring contractors to begin working on your property. You may want to add things that will increase the value of your property while giving you more space to do some of your favorite things, such as grilling, sunbathing, or simply relaxing outdoors.

Whether you want a deck, patio, porch, or something else added to your home, it helps to know the difference between these options before you officially pay to have anything done. So, what is the difference?

A deck is a wood framed platform that is commonly attached directly to your home. A patio is usually a cement slab in the backyard right up against the house. A porch is most commonly a covered deck with screens for walls. A Covered Roof (or sometimes referred to as a hard cover) is a shade covering for a deck or concrete patio and is commonly made from the same roofing materials as the house. And lastly, a sunroom is similar to a porch except made from as much glass as possible.

pic of a wood deck built in Loveland featuring built in seating and lighting

What Is a Deck?

A deck is a structure composed of wood that does not have a roof attached to it. As a homeowner, you can get a deck installed on any specific area of your home. Some people like to have a deck in their backyard, while others prefer having a deck that is off to the side of the property. It all depends on the location of your home and the amount of space you have available to get this type of addition constructed.

Decks come in all different sizes and shapes. Before getting a deck installed, you would need to have measurements taken to determine how much space you have available to work with in the first place. You may want a large deck to have plenty of room for a grill and chairs that you will have out for guests to sit on when they visit you. In addition to getting a deck that is the perfect size for your personal space, you will also need to decide on the shape, style, and color of the deck.

You can have a deck built with different types of materials. While wood is the most common goto for decking, decks made from wood-plastic composite have become extremely popular. No matter what you plan on choosing, you will need to decide on the species of wood that you would like used based on its longevity and general appearance. You want something that is going to look good and last a long time while not requiring nearly as much maintenance as some other options.

What Is a Patio?

Many people often confuse a patio with a deck or porch, but these are three entirely different things. While the patio is an outdoor area like a porch and deck, it is typically a paved area that is outside of the home and not attached to it. When constructing patios for clients, it is common for contractors to use concrete, bricks, and even assorted stones that were selected by the clients.

The purpose of having a patio is to have an outdoor area where you can sit, eat, and relax. Many people with patios like to host parties and gatherings with their loved ones where they are preparing food and serving it outdoors. Once there is the patio, homeowners may invest in items for those patios, including outdoor furniture, that they can leave outside and use whenever they want to sit outdoors.

Not all patios look the same, and some are much bigger than others. It does depend on the space available to the homeowner. One thing that most patios have in common is that they are found in the back of the home and may even be situated near a deck.

What Is a Porch?

The porch is an open structure that has breathable walls, but protection above it. Because there is a cover or roof above the porch, you can comfortably sit outside in any weather without worrying about dealing with the rain, sun, snow, and other elements. The porch is often added to the front of the home. There are several reasons that homeowners choose to get a front porch installed if they do not already have one. It gives them a safe and comfortable place to sit out while enjoying the weather and chatting with their neighbors.

There are different types of materials used to create sturdy and reliable porches for those who would like them. Some of the most commonly selected porch materials include plastic, PVC, wood, aluminum, and solid stone. The materials, colors, and overall style picked for the porch will vary from one home to the next and will typically depend on the personal preference of the homeowners.

You can choose from various porch options. For example, you may want an open-air porch that does not have walls, or you may prefer having a porch with screened walls. These are some of the things you will need to think about before you get this type of addition to your home.

covered deck shingled roof stone pillars all covering a hot tub

What Is a Covered Roof?

A covered roof often goes along with a patio. While patios are usually out in the open and provide a space for dining and relaxing with friends, some people choose to invest in a covered roof that gets installed directly over the patio. Having a covered roof comes in handy for potential rainstorms and other weather elements that could get in the way of an outdoor event. The closed roof also provides additional protection from the sun when sitting outside for extended periods.

Before getting a covered roof installed over the patio, professionals must first take measurements. It is necessary to make sure that the roof will provide the maximum amount of coverage for the patio. If you are thinking about getting a covered roof, you must also decide how much coverage you want. Some people like to have a portion of the patio covered while leaving a separate part open because that allows them to soak in the sun if they would like to do so.

What Is a Sunroom?

The sunroom is a sheltered room that is attached to the home. It is an added room to the house that has more windows than the average room, allowing plenty of natural sunlight to soak through. Property owners often like adding assorted plants to their sunrooms because that is the perfect room to get plants to thrive because of the added sunlight. Those who want to enjoy the benefits of the sun without sitting directly outside where they would end up dealing with insects may enjoy having a sunroom available to them.

Sunrooms are often smaller than the average size of a living room or bedroom, but they still offer an adequate amount of space. While the location of a sunroom may vary from one home to the next, it is common for homeowners to have a sunroom attached to the back of the house. There is a common misconception that a sunroom and back porch are the same thing, but this is false. These two home features are different from one another.

It is quite common for people to confuse decks, patios, porches, covered roofs, and sunrooms. Many people believe these home additions are all the same, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. Each addition has something unique to offer. If you are thinking about adding something extra to your home, you should make a list of your wants and needs and then decide which of these different options are the best for you.

Once you decide which additions to add to your home, you can start choosing materials, styles, and colors. You can go over these details with a professional contractor by giving us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit the contact page to send us a message. Also, if you want more info please check out our DECK and PATIO COVER services pages.

timber frame sun-room with amazing mountain views built by TNT Home Improvements