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Extend your living space by using the area under your deck.

Deck Drain Systems

One of the challenges that we often face with higher walk-out decks is the long large staircase that is needed.  When a deck is 7’ to 9’ above grade the staircase can be 16’ or longer so locating the staircase needs to be done carefully so it does not affect the desired flow of the backyard.  Often, we try to place the staircase so it will act as a privacy screen since it’s a bulkier structure.

The upshot of a high above-ground deck is that you can easily double your living space.  By this, I mean that you can finish the area under the footprint of the deck and you have double the square footage.  The deck area would be the sunny portion and when it gets too hot you can move downstairs to the covered area for shade. But what about if it rains?

But the best part is that you can waterproof the area underneath the deck.  We can install a waterproofing layer that will be in the framing area and that will divert the water away from the house into a gutter.  There are a few systems out there.  Trex Rain Escapes is one of them, see http://www.trexrainescape.com/.  We prefer the membrane type of systems that are installed “before” the decking is screwed down. 

We only use membrane systems for the following reasons.

  • They are more customizable to fit different shapes of decks
  • You can add can lights, fans, speakers to the ceiling.
  • You can choose the ceiling finish and the product that you would like.
  • The deck surface remains level and does not need to be pitched
  • Ceiling remains level and does not need to be pitched.
  • You can install the membrane system now and not finish the ceiling until later date or never if you choose not to.
  • It tends to work better and gives our clients more options.

If you have a walk out basement, this is a great way to add more space to the underside of your deck and give you additional dry space.  Now you can be outside even if it begins to rain.  Your furniture with cushions will not need to be moved.

Keep this option in mind if you have a higher deck even if you don’t plan to use the area underneath at this point.  Leave yourself the option to do it down the road if you choose to.

Keep in mind all these systems are intended for outdoor use.  They are not a 100% watertight flat roof system.  They work really well and will keep 98% of the water out.


Steve Stelkic

Owner / Sales

About the Author

I founded Woodland Deck in 2000 to create decks and outdoor spaces to be enjoyed for generations. As a deck-building company, we are always looking for ways to better our products, services, and ourselves. We are passionate about life outside and believe that enjoying God’s creation is a rich gift to us.


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We are looking to understand your dream and vision for the outdoors, but we don’t stop there. What are your likes and dislikes? How and when you are looking to use the space?

We start with a phone or email consultation to gather preliminary info that will help us in providing effective deck construction solutions. We are interested in learning as much as possible about the specifics of the project. Not sure what the scope is? We can help!

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