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3 Ways to Create Waterproof Dry Space Under a Deck

The spaces between decking boards on outdoor decks are meant to serve an important function—namely, drainage. They help to prevent puddles from forming and enable the surface to dry more quickly after rain and snowstorms.

deck waterproofing system

[/media-credit] Recover useful storage or utility space beneath a deck by utilizing a deck waterproofing system. Photo: SpreadRadio

Along with routine waterproofing application, spacing between boards helps to prolong the useful life of the decking material. But if you want to use the space beneath a deck for additional outdoor living or storage space, it’s better to install a barrier that prevents water from draining to the surface directly below.[GARD align=”left”]

 

 

Deck Membranes and Downspouts

The dominant solution for waterproofing areas below decks is to drape plastic membranes within joist spaces below decking to form troughs. The Trex RainEscape deck waterproofing system, shown below, is an example of a membrane-and-downspout system.

deck waterproofing system

[/media-credit] The Trex RainEscape membrane, which comes in rolls, is fastened loosely to the top edge of deck joists. The downspouts can be oriented to fit between joists spaced 12 or 16 inches on center. Decking boards are then installed over the top. Butyl tape is applied to seal all seams. The only tools needed for installation are a utility knife and a stapler or hammer tacker.

Trex RainEscape deck waterproofing

[/media-credit] Wood or synthetic decking is fastened to the deck frame over the drainage assembly, and soffit or ceiling systems can be fastened to the bottom of deck joists for a finished appearance from below.

The Trex RainEscape troughs divert runoff to downspouts positioned near the joist header. A length of gutter is attached to the structure just below the downspouts to collect water and lead it away from the protected area.

Under-Deck Ceilings

A number of recently introduced under-deck ceiling systems use corrugated aluminum or plastic panels designed to catch water that drains through decking and channel it away from the area below. Among the newest is the RainTight system, introduced at Deck Expo 2014.

RainTight panels are made of heavy-gauge aluminum. The seamless panels are custom-fabricated, based on the size of the deck. They lock together along their long edges to form leak-proof joints.

raintight deck waterproofing

[/media-credit] RainTight panels, made of aluminum, lock together to create waterproof joints.

A perimeter frame and graduated spacer-nailers are fastened beneath the deck joists so that the plane of the ceiling slopes slightly (at least 1/4 inch per foot) away from the house toward the joist header. A system-compatible aluminum trough is fastened below the joist header to carry runoff to one or more downspouts that drain to the ground outside the protected area.

Under-deck ceiling systems provide an all-in-one drainage and ceiling finish that is particularly suitable for areas beneath a deck that are high enough off the ground to provide a sheltered outdoor living space below. Special framing and moisture-protection measures can provide mounting points for overhead light fixtures and ceiling fans.

Waterproofing Decking Flanges

Simpler than membrane and ceiling systems, waterproof decking flanges offer an effective means of diverting water that would otherwise drain through conventionally spaced deck boards. Dexedry flanges are designed to act as spacers between boards and also as mini-gutters to channel water toward deck edges. The rubber flanges are pounded into decking edges with a rubber mallet.

dexedry deck waterproofing

[/media-credit] Dexedry rubber flanges fit into flanges grooved into the edges of decking boards.

Dexedry flanges are available in a number of sizes that match the edge grooves found on major synthetic decking brands. The edges of wood decking boards can be milled with a dado blade, shaper or router to accommodate the flanges.

Whether you use gutters, flanges or an under-deck ceiling, creating additional patio or storage space under your deck can add to your enjoyment and to the functionality of your home.[GARD align=”right”]

 

Michael Chotiner is a home-improvement expert who has owned his own construction business and who is also a master carpenter. Michael writes on homeowner DIY projects and how-tos for Home Depot. For a selection of tools you might use if you are planning to install waterproofing on an outdoor structure, you can visit the Home Depot website.

 


Pouring a Concrete Slab

A concrete slab may be cast at the same time as footings or after the footings have set up. The slab’s overall dimensions are determined by the size of your new structure.

Pouring a concrete slab

Pouring a concrete slab

Before casting a concrete slab, first place any plumbing or electrical conduit that will run under or through it. After casting the slab, do not allow the surface to dry too quickly or it may crack.

Spray it with a light mist of water, cover it with plastic sheeting, and allow it to cure for three days (longer in cold weather). Begin by marking the slab’s placement on the ground with powdered chalk, or stretch mason’s lines between batterboards to determine the perimeter of the foundation.

A rectangular slab should have corners at precise 90-degree angles. To ensure the corners are square, lay out a triangle with sides 3 feet, 4 feet, and 5 feet long.

Excavate a flat-bottomed hole for a 4-inch-thick slab; in areas where frost or drainage may be a problem, the slab should be poured over a 4- to 6-inch gravel bed, so dig deep enough to accommodate this.[GARD align=”right”]

Build temporary forms from scrap lumber nailed securely to stakes. Make sure the top edges of the forms are level to expedite finishing the concrete later. Pour the gravel bed.

Reinforce the area as required by code (typically with 1/2-inch reinforcing bar around the perimeter and 6-inch-square N. 10-10 welded-wire mesh within the slab area). Support the mesh about 2 inches above the base with small pieces of brick or block.

Thoroughly dampen the soil or gravel. Then, beginning at one corner, place and spread the concrete. Work the mix up against the form, and compact it into all corners with a shovel or mortar hoe by pushing (not dragging) it. Don’t overwork the material or the heavy aggregate may sink to the bottom.

With a helper, move a straight 2 by 4 across the top of the forms to level the concrete, using a zigzag, sawing motion. Fill any voids with more concrete and re-level.[GARD align=”left”]

To smooth the surface, move a darby (which you may want to rent) in overlapping arcs and then in overlapping straight, side-to-side strokes. Keep the tool flat—don’t let it dig in. After the water sheen disappears from the concrete, but before the surface becomes really stiff, smooth it once more with a wood or magnesium hand float.

While the concrete is still plastic, install anchor bolts where required by your plan, typically every 3 to 4 feet.

Get a Pre-Screened Local Concrete Installation Pro

How to Mix Your Own Concrete

If you want to mix concrete yourself in small batches or you are unable to find a company that will do it for you, you can rent an electric-powered concrete mixer.

Portable electric cement mixer. Courtesy Red Lion.

Transporting the sand, gravel, and bagged cement requires a pickup truck with a bed that seals tight.

To mix your own concrete for footings and piers, use 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts clean river sand, and 3 parts gravel (maximum of 1 inch diameter and specially washed for concrete mixing). Add clean water, a little at a time, as you mix.

The concrete should be plastic, not runny. You can also use dry mix or transit mix, which contain the same proportions of cement, sand, and gravel detailed above. Tumble, adding water slowly for two to three minutes, and then pour. Concrete hardens because the powder-like cement and water form an adhesive that binds the sand and gravel together.[GARD align=”left”]

Too much water thins or dilutes this adhesive paste and weakens its cementing qualities; too little makes it stiff and unworkable. If the batch is too stiff, add water one cup at a time and continue mixing until it’s right. If it is too soupy, add small amounts of sand and gravel. Keep in mind that concrete changes consistency radically when you add even small amounts of any ingredient.

Get a Pre-Screened Local Concrete Installation Pro

What is a Batterboard?

When you’re building a deck or pouring a patio, how do you keep everything square and true during the necessary trenching? With the help of batterboards.

Batterboards Layout

These temporary guides are typically cobbled together on site from five wood scraps: three stakes driven into the ground in the form of a right angle and two horizontal lengths joined to the stakes.

Batterboards are placed just beyond the corners of the proposed building site (so they don’t get in the way). Strings are tightly stretched between batterboard pairs and fastened to partially driven nails or notches cut into the horizontal members. The strings, which indicate the proper alignment of foundations or walls, are easy to adjust back and forth until everything lines up perfectly.

Batterboards are so named because they were originally used to check the batter, or receding upward incline, of a masonry wall.[GARD align=”left”]

Decks & Porches

Expert advice on decks and porches, including decking materials buying guides, installation instructions and DIY deck repair, cleaning and refinishing help.

Barbecues, birthday parties, sunbathing, outdoor relaxation—outdoor activities like these are the essence of outdoor living when the seasons permit and, to do these activities, we rely upon decks and porches.

Wood and concrete blend together to form an expansive rear-yard retreat.

These kinds of structures set the stage for outdoor entertaining, relaxing, play, and much more. They provide flat surfaces that, in some ways, are like an extension of a home’s floors into the yard and garden.

What is the difference between a deck and a porch? In some cases, not much. A porch is basically a raised exterior surface just outside the front or back door, often including walls and a roof. A deck is usually made of wood or a composite wood look-alike and may be placed anywhere, either connected to the house or freestanding in the yard.

In the articles listed below, you will find plenty of helpful articles and information on building and caring for decks and porches.[GARD align=”left”]

NEXT SEE:

Planning a New Wood Deck

• Refinishing & Cleaning a Wood Deck

• Wood Deck Maintenance

• Installing Decking & Concrete Patios

• Installing Porch & Deck Screens

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Deck or Porch Construction Contractor



Decks & Porches

Expert advice on decks and porches, including decking materials buying guides, installation instructions and DIY deck repair, cleaning and refinishing help.

Barbecues, birthday parties, sunbathing, outdoor relaxation—outdoor activities like these are the essence of outdoor living when the seasons permit and, to do these activities, we rely upon decks and porches.

Wood and concrete blend together to form an expansive rear-yard retreat.

These kinds of structures set the stage for outdoor entertaining, relaxing, play, and much more. They provide flat surfaces that, in some ways, are like an extension of a home’s floors into the yard and garden.

What is the difference between a deck and a porch? In some cases, not much. A porch is basically a raised exterior surface just outside the front or back door, often including walls and a roof. A deck is usually made of wood or a composite wood look-alike and may be placed anywhere, either connected to the house or freestanding in the yard.

In the articles listed below, you will find plenty of helpful articles and information on building and caring for decks and porches.[GARD align=”left”]

NEXT SEE:

Planning a New Wood Deck

• Refinishing & Cleaning a Wood Deck

• Wood Deck Maintenance

• Installing Decking & Concrete Patios

• Installing Porch & Deck Screens

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Deck or Porch Construction Contractor



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