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  by Bob Matheson  
   
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Low cost Under Decking Ceiling System

I have a nice 14 x 36 foot deck above my walkout basement sliding door.  I have always wanted to turn my deck into a nice roof and thereby turn the area below the deck into a great porch to sit out on during a thunderstorm and still keep dry.  This "How To" will describe a low cost under deck ceiling system that is easy to install and helps solve wasp problems as well!  The design of this ceiling system under deck should help prevent wasps ( paper wasps ), nesting just under your deck surface.  This under deck roof is very modular so removing small sections for deck maintenance is easy.  In most cases if you drop something through the slots on your deck it will tumble through this under deck ceiling system but, if not, at least this low cost design will give you easy access.  A rough estimate of cost is 0.43 cents per square foot, about $217 to do my deck.  Continued below ...

12/5/2005 I do have a completely revised design installed in a 12 x 16 area under my deck.  I am checking how well it does in winter conditions and so far it is excellent!  I created a really unique and flexible suspension design, the plans are coming soon.  (Sorry I guess I have said that before, but now I am really close with a design I am pleased with!)

5/25/2004 Well I have two of 8 panels in place.  Please see the photo below.  I am just doing a 16 x 14 foot area for now.  I have made several mistakes and learned a lot, mainly about the quirks of the materials involved.  The work pace is accelerating.  I have received a lot of mail about this topic, and many more site visits; Thanks!  Again sorry for the delays, there are just a lot of things going on.  I had one panel up for several days with no rain, you should have heard all the junk that feel down when I took it down.

Read on about an excellent material suggestion, certainly a great choice I overlooked considering;

From John Sevinsky: "Hmm, interesting. I was thinking of using 12" wide solid vinyl soffit. (Not the vented type, obviously.) I have a 12' x 20' deck, and soffit conveniently comes in 12' sections. First, I would rip some 2x4s into pieces of varying thickness. I would attach them to the underside of the deck running perpendicular to the joists (parallel to the house). The thinnest one would be closest to the house, and the thickest one would be furthest away. They would be spaced about 2' apart. This is to create a slope away from the house. The soffit pieces would be installed parallel to the joists (perpendicular to the house). The soffit would collect the rain and drain it into a gutter on the low end, away from the house. I figure it might cost between $200 - $300 for my 12'x20' deck. I am hoping that when things fall through the deck, I should be able to pry the soffit pieces apart to clean out the area above it."
"As for my soffit idea, it is possible to pry the pieces apart and let them "flop down" for cleaning and access to the space above them. I was thinking of attaching them with screws instead of nails to allow them to be completely removed if necessary."

You typically would use solid vinyl soffit for a porch ceiling and vented soffit for the eves of your home so both should be readily available.  12" wide by 12' could be inconvenient but it is not that big of a deal, depends upon your goals.  Do not forget the the Vinyl Siding institute: http://www.vinylsiding.org/, they have an excellent PDF document providing many details about vinyl siding installation: Vinyl Siding Installation.

I still want to be able to retrofit a "wasp abatement" system so I will be sticking to this removable panel design.  John's ideas might help some of you jump start your projects!  Thanks, Bob


5/7/2004  My deck ceiling is under construction and looking good so far.  I will ultimately publish two designs, one for aesthetics, and one purely functional for low clearance locations.  Both are low cost.   The functional design should meet the 43 cents per square foot, and it looks like the aesthetic design will come in at 75 cents per square foot.  I will be publishing the aesthetic design first.  The wasp abatement will be implemented in the functional design and I will probably publish a separate document independent of the deck ceiling design.  When published I will probably call these prototype designs because they will not have been tested over the long run or with winter weather.  Bob.  

Most of the manufactured systems I reviewed below tend to be expensive and tie up the useful space between your deck joists.  Also one of the big problems of installation with some of these systems is the mandatory stabilizers that must be put between your deck joists preventing easy installation of the manufactured system.  Also if you drop something through your deck slots it may be lost in the manufactured under deck drainage system.  Please review their design details thoroughly!

Consider the building codes

Adding a overhead structure, one that could fall in high winds, or earthquakes, should take into consideration current building codes, (and permit requirements).

I apologize if you have reached this page before I have completed the "How To".  With the internet ( if you want to keep things economical ) there is always a large lead time before published information like this "How To" is accessible to you through search engines.  This time can be several months so I try to anticipate my completion times and have the "How To" ready when the search engines are ready.

Thanks,
Bob

Hopefully I will have some reviews in the future but in the mean time hear are some useful links:

WebmasterWorld on lazy members

GoodROIPow.com WebmasterWorld members

Under Deck Ceiling System Manufacturers:

All of the above systems look great but are also far more expensive than my Do It Yourself solution.

Sources and References

 

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BHT Created: 23 Aug 2003

BHT Revised: 31 Jul 2014

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Copyright 2003-2014 Robert Matheson  All rights reserved.

 

Copyright 2003-2014 Robert Matheson.  All rights reserved.  Email Bob at BobsHowTo.com - . 

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