If you have a deck and plan on enjoying the outdoors, you want to keep your deck and under-deck area dry. You definitely want to avoid wood rot, mildew, and all of the bad things that accompany rain and water pooling. Luckily when it rains heavily, a deck drainage system is key to helping keep your deck dry. Several systems are well known and are effective at diverting moisture and water. Here are some comparisons of deck drainage systems by an expert deck builder.
Under Joist vs. Over Joist
What are joists? Joists make up the framework of your deck. Whether you have wooden boards or composite ones, the joists support them. Then beams will brace those. Keeping this framework area dry is very important. You don’t want to have this degrade and weaken your deck.
When considering a drainage system, you want to install one above the joists rather than below. Why is this? The below-joist system allows water to trickle through to the joists and beams and then to the drainage system that collects and channels the water. When water and moisture leak through repeatedly, the wood will eventually mold and rot. An above-joist system works differently because it is under your deck boards but above the joists. As a professional deck builder, we know this type of system is better because water will not seep through to the wood.
Deciding which materials might be beneficial for your drainage system can be confusing. There is vinyl and PVC, but what about HDPE and EPDM? EPDM is ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber which is often used in weather stripping. While it is a durable type of rubber compound and resistant to heat, certain oils and solvents can break it down.
HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is recognized for its high strength-to-density ratio. HDPE is used to make plastic bottles, milk jugs, fasteners, and piping systems, among other things. HDPE has incredible strength and is one of the most widely used plastic products in the world. Chances are you come into contact with it multiple times each day.
Vinyl, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), EPDM, and HDPE are all used in drainage systems. Which one is best? While EPDM has some material flexibility, HDPE has been repeatedly proven to be one of the most long-lasting materials. There are many options for keeping your deck dry and having effective drainage under your deck, so it’s best to do your research or ask a professional deck builder.
Ease of Installation
Which system is easiest to install? We compared DEK Drain, Zip-Up UnderDeck, and DrySpace to Trex RainEscape. Trex RainEscape requires the least amount of tools, thus making installation a breeze. Other systems require more work and more tools and don’t have the 25-year warranty that Trex RainEscape offers.
Additions and Upgrades
Of the added extras, Trex RainEscape and DEK Drain can accommodate electricity for lighting and ceiling fans. If watching the game, using the computer, having lights, and better ventilation are priorities, then you want to contemplate that in your decision. Again, it’s about being diligent in your analysis and educating yourself on all the choices of drainage systems.
There are a variety of other measures that you can take to help ensure your deck and surrounding areas stay waterproof. For example, adding bricks and stones underneath your deck and around your patio is a good way to redirect water. This is even more functional if it can be sloped and with a drain positioned.
A rain barrier, such as flashing tape or under-deck sheeting, is also a beneficial way to keep water and moisture out. We recommend butyl tape since that is the most durable and best for the job.
Additionally, waterproofing your deck by sealing it will lend itself to added protection. This coating will give your wooden deck boards or composite another barrier against damaging wetness and moisture. Waterproofing your deck will go towards lengthening your deck’s life.
To Sum Up
You can do many things to help support your deck throughout the years. Extreme weather, wet weather, and time all work together to wear down your deck’s substructure and surface. Some wear and weathering is inevitable, but some can easily be prevented.
We love to see beautiful decks which last a long time. However, we want to help you keep yours in pristine condition. Maintaining it by installing a drainage system and diverting water away from it will ensure your deck stays dry and free of decay. Remember, taking care of your deck and the area below it will guarantee many more years of outdoor enjoyment.