Q: What is an underdeck system?
Bowman: It is a ceiling system that goes underneath an elevated deck to keep the space below it dry, increasing your living or storage space in the process. It goes with the whole outdoor “staycation” concept.
Q: How much clearance do you need beneath a deck?
A: It depends on how you plan to use the space. You want a minimum 8-foot clearance for an entertainment space that includes a fan, can lighting and speakers. If you’re using the space for storage or to keep your lawn mower dry, the clearance could be as little as 5 feet.
Q: What do underdeck panels look like?
A: They are flat aluminum panels that are available in three different textures: smooth, beaded or wood-grain embossed. There are 27 different colors to choose from. The most popular colors are wicker (beige) and musket brown (dark chocolate brown). Musket brown goes well with a lot of the decking materials that are available on the market.
Q: How about maintenance?
A: If you ever have to clean out our underdeck system, you don’t need to dismantle the whole thing. You could take two or three panels down on an average size deck. How frequently a system needs to be maintained depends on factors like how many trees you have or how many animals are running around your deck. Check it every three to five years. You can simply pull out a panel to see if your system needs to be washed down.
Q: How much should I expect to pay for an underdeck system?
A: If you don’t want can lights, a fan or speakers, you should budget around $9 per square foot of coverage. If you want to dress it up with a lot of options, you’ll probably pay $12 or $13 per square foot. Installing a simple rectangular deck usually takes one or two days.
Q: Can I install an underdeck system myself?
A: A lot of the DIY materials aren’t contractor grade. If your underdeck system is professionally installed, there isn’t a learning curve. A professional can access your space and quickly give it the quality look it deserves.
Heath Bowman works with Southeastern Underdeck Systems, www.SoutheasternUnderdeck.com. Metro Atlanta-based Southeastern Underdeck Systems serves residential customers throughout the Southeast.