How I Turned the Space Under My Deck Into a Covered Patio
Our deck was in good shape structurally but was not aesthetically pleasing. You may remember from my earlier blog post that I painted the deck above with solid stain. Converting the space underneath was the next project. We had pavers there but the ceiling/joists from the bottom of the deck looked weathered and ugly, plus water would get through during rain.
This is the before. Additionally we built the railing but that was a past project that I didn't document. Before that there was a 2 foot drop to the grass below which was dangerous for small children and also again not aesthetically pleasing.
Here's a close up of the weather boards underneath the deck. I wanted to create an additional livable space that was beautiful and also protected us from the rain. The demensions of our deck were 10 x 25 feet.
The 1st piece of this project was to put in the gutter. We had 25 feet in length so we had to buy 3 pieces of gutter since they each come 10 feet in length and cut the 3rd piece in half.
We connected the 3 peices with the brackets and added the end piece on one side, all of which was available at Home Depot.
We used screws to secure the gutter to the back of the large joist and sloped it so that the water would travel downward to the open end. The left most point was 5 inches higher than the right most point.
We then got 13 pieces of PVC roofing panels also from Home Depot. Each panel was 2 feet in width so we needed 13 peices for the 25 feet of deck. Unfortunately they only came in 12 or 8 feet in length and we needed 10 feet so we had to utilize the larger pieces and cut each panel with scissors. The panels come in both clear and white but I think that white is the way to go because it hides any debris and leaves that might fall through the cracks of the deck boards.
Each panel was held in place every 3 feet. The one side closest to the house was screwed directly into the joist. And the other side layed on top of the gutter. We used the gutter as a guide of how much each panel needed to slope. Not only was the gutter sloped but the panels also sloped down into the gutter so that the water would be directed into and then out of the gutter. In between the house and the gutter we had 2 sets of screws with spacers every 3 feet. So all together each panel was held with 6 screws and ended lying on the gutter.
As we laid each panel, we cut spacers out of 1/2 inch PVC tubing and put in screws through the bottom of the panel then through the spacer into the boards underneath the deck. Instead of using wood which I initially considered as a spacer, we used PVC piping and cut it with a tube cutter because it would not suffer any rot or deterioration due to water in the long term.
Each spacer had to be measured and cut separately because as mentioned earlier we wanted the panels to slope so the 1st spacer was longer than the last spacer. For example, the spacer all the way at the right of the ceiling was 2 inches at the 3 foot mark and 5 inches at the 6 foot mark. Then on the left most part of the deck the first spacer was only 1/2 an inch and the second spacer was 3 inches.
To clarify further each 10x2 panel was secured to the decking underneath by 6 screws. The 1st pair went straight into the joists closest to the house. The next set of screws had a 1/2 to 2 inch spacer and was 3 feet from the house. The final pair of screws had a 3 to 5 inch spacer and were 6 feet from the house.
The final 2 screws that secured each panel had to be 10 inches long, these were each $2 by themselves but necessary in order pass through the spacer we needed.
The finished space was exactly as I had envisioned, a 3 seasons area that we could enjoy. In the future I might also put up bug netting to make it even more of a finished 3 seasons room but we have our yard sprayed for mosquitoes so that hasn't really been too much of an issue.
Another view of the finished space. You can tell that the gutter is slightly slanted and that's all you need just a gradual slope for water to travel.
A few days after completing the project it rained and put the system to the test! The water came out the gutter exaclty as we wanted it to!