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.

Whether Big or Small, We Have Commercial and Residential Deck Services Guaranteed to Fit Your Needs!

pic of a three story triple deck w/under decking built in fort collins, co

A custom deck can be the touch that ties together all the design elements in your home, or even in a commercial building such as an office or restaurant. Having a place where people can enjoy the outdoors together also makes your home or commercial building more useful and friendly to everyone who spends time there.

There are lots of deck builders out there, but if you are looking for a deck builder in Loveland, CO, you don’t want to rush into anything. Instead, you want to ensure that you’re doing business with the best.

Why we’re the best

TNT Home Improvements is a locally owned and operated small business in the Loveland, CO area. We have a licensed engineer who oversees all of our projects and helps provide insight on every project, both large and small. You should do business with us because we are fully insured and licensed, so you’ll never be stuck with any surprises. We have years and years of collective experience on staff, and additionally have been in business for over 13 years. We provide free 3D CAD designs to help visualize your finished deck before we start working on it, so there is very little room for surprise! We also offer free estimates, so you won’t spend a dime unless you hire us to be your deck builders.

We have a large portfolio of successfully built and beautiful decks, and we can turn our significant experience and expertise toward your project to guarantee an attractive deck at the most competitive price.

How it works

We do both residential and commercial deck building projects, and remember, we offer free estimates! When we begin work, we’ll first get a rough idea of what your vision is for your deck. Then we’ll study your home or building, and help visualize a style of deck that matches the existing architecture, getting an understanding of the scope of the project with the help of our on-staff engineer. We’ll get an idea here of what sort of decking material you need, the square footage of the decking, the style and any problems we’re likely to run into during construction. If you decide to work with us, we work hard, and are good at staying on time and budget. We work efficiently because we put a premium on excellent communication between our team and you, the customer. And when we’ve completed our work, you’ll have the most elegant deck in the neighborhood.

Schedule today

If you think you would like to work with TNT Home Improvements, because quality workmanship, honesty and expertise matter to you, give us a call today to request a free estimate and learn more about our services. Don’t worry if you still have questions you’d like answered before moving on. Our friendly, expert staff would be happy to address them!

Contact a deck builder in Loveland, CO

TNT Home Improvements has been a reliable, high-quality deck builder in Loveland, CO since 2005. We are fully licensed and insured, with an engineer on staff who oversees all of our projects. We have many specialties, including building patio covering, roofing, siding and of course our extensive work as deck builders and much, much more. We’ve built our name on exceptional service, professionalism and quality craftsmanship, and we are very proud of our work. Please call today for a free estimate. We can’t wait to hear from you!

The Numerous Benefits of Wood Decks in Fort Collins, CO

pic of a multitiered deck w/under-decking built in Fort Collins, CO

There are many quality decking options available in the marketplace today, but one certainly stands out above the rest. If you have been on the fence about adding a wood deck in Fort Collins, CO, consider a few of these hidden benefits that might help make your decision easier:

  • Cost efficiency: The price of natural wood is substantially lower than most decking alternatives, with composite materials sometimes costing twice as much. Although there will be variations in the price of wood due to the wide variety of options, it is still the most cost-effective material currently available. Not only does the material cost less, but wood decks are also cheaper to install than some of the composite alternatives. Oftentimes, with less durable material, hundreds of dollars of reinforcements are needed to strengthen a deck. Because wood is naturally more sturdy, these expensive additions aren’t necessary. In addition, composite decks are made up of several different materials, which drives up manufacturing costs. With minimal manufacturing needed, the production costs of wood are much lower, which allows customers to procure it at a better price. One of the most affordable options in decking material is pressure treated wood, which has a natural resistance to the effects of both weather and wood-eating insects, thus extending the lifespan of a deck. With a deck that could potentially last much longer, you will be able to get the most out of your investment.
  • Stay cooler during the summer: During the summer months, natural wood does not soak up the heat from the sun, which means that the time you spend on your deck will be comfortable and enjoyable. Some of the other decking options absorb so much heat that the deck becomes unbearable to stand on, which might force you back inside on an otherwise beautiful and sunny day. In fact, some of these decks retain so much heat that it is eventually radiated onto your windows and deck doors, which could potentially heat the walls in your house and nullify the effects of your air conditioning. With natural wood decking, your family will be able to enjoy a cooler deck that doesn’t project heat onto your house, no matter how hot it may be.
  • Quality material: Although some of the composite decking materials might come close to achieving the same look as natural wood, there is no substitute for the warmth and comfort that real wood provides. And while the aesthetic can be mimicked, there is no denying the look of authentic wood. No other material can evoke the same feelings that the smell and feel of natural wood do, and this serenity encourages you to spend more time on your deck enjoying nature. Your natural wood deck will be a part of your home for years to come, and the wood can be used for many other things after its time as a deck is complete. Twenty years from now, when you are upgrading your deck, you can repurpose the used wood for fires or small projects around the house.

With so many benefits, it is easy to see why wood decks in Fort Collins, CO are the preferred option for so many consumers. If you are interested in adding wood decking of your own, call the best in the business at TNT Home Improvements to get a free estimate for your project.