How Much Does An Under-Deck Ceiling Cost?
With an elevated deck, you can install many options underneath the deck. We even have an inspiration gallery that’ll be sure to pique your interests and have you considering a deck drainage system.
Whatever project you have in mind starts with waterproofing your deck above. Then, with a high-quality drainage system such as Trex RainEscape, you can turn the space into a home office, a fully furnished sunroom, extra storage space, and more.
If it’s for storage, you are finished. However, if you intend for the space to be livable, you’ll need to add an under-deck ceiling. Let’s look at several different styles and break down the cost for each. Turn a weekend into a worthwhile home improvement project with this guide.
How Much Does an Under Deck Ceiling Cost?
Of course, there are many factors to consider that significantly impact the total cost. Materials, lighting, space size, and whether you choose to use a contractor or DIY will all affect your net cost. The region you live in can also affect these factors, as labor costs tend to vary.
Providing your own labor will always be a great way to save about 25% on your total costs. For example, the Chicago Tribune reported that while it would cost about $2,436 to hire a professional to install a 14×20 foot underdeck ceiling, buying the materials and installing it yourself would cost $1,750.
Saving money for a do-it-yourself installation also allows you to invest money elsewhere in the project, such as on the materials. For example, this helpful chart shows the price of purchasing a deck drainage system. The cost of one square foot of materials is between $6.00-$8.00.
You will also need a few tools for any underdeck ceiling installation. If you haven’t got them already, you’ll have to add the costs of these to your DIY checklist as well:
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill
- Drill bit set
- Safety glasses
Pre-made ceiling systems are also available that require sizing to fit your space. If you’re planning on closing the area off entirely–for a separate room, such as a pool house–you can also use large ceiling panels for the ceiling. There are many options for this step, including a zip-up underdeck ceiling system, vinyl or aluminum panels, and more.
Underdeck ceiling: Available options
There are a few different material options to choose from when designing an underdeck ceiling. Most homeowners choose an aluminum or vinyl / PVC ceiling because these are less costly and easy to install. Here’s a quick comparison.
|Aluminum benefits||Vinyl benefits|
|Superior durability that will not rot, chip, crack, or rust||Very low maintenance|
|No repainting required||Resistant to insects|
|Highest ventilation efficiency of any product||Less expensive than most other options|
|Easy to clean and maintain||Very versatile – lots of choices in colors and textures|
|Highly flexible and less rigid than vinyl||Highly durable – will not rot or corrode over time|
|Water and fire-resistant||Water repellant|
|Can withstand most weather conditions|
Your preferences for color and texture will also inform the ceiling finish you choose. Some homeowners prefer a beadboard look, while others desire a more smooth ceiling.
Besides the two frontrunners, there are also some alternatives you can pursue. However, these bring their own sets of challenges and advantages. For the easiest self-installation options, stick with the two above, but if you’re interested in what else is available, here is a great guide.
What material is used for an underdeck ceiling?
Under deck ceiling systems are also commonly referred to as soffits. Aluminum and vinyl are most popular for a soffit because they’re inexpensive and easy to install, but there are also other options. Aluminum’s primary advantage is its durability, as it won’t chip, crack, rust or warp. Vinyl ceilings are thinner and tend to sag over time under the weight. They’re also more vulnerable to weather conditions like rain and snow, and temperature fluctuations can warp and fade the panels.
Vinyl systems are also not watertight, meaning they’re a no-go if you’re planning to install any electrical fixtures or use the area when it’s raining. Vinyl also requires more general maintenance as time goes on and will probably need to be replaced multiple times. It’s a lot less cost-efficient than long-lasting aluminum.
Aluminum is also effortless to clean and maintain and doesn’t require repainting. Because of its structural integrity, it’s an overall smarter choice for protection for the area underneath your deck.
What are the benefits of an underdeck ceiling?
Besides protecting your new addition underneath your deck, an underdeck ceiling has a few extra benefits to enjoy:
- It makes your backyard and home more attractive
- Increases your home value with more useable dry space
- It eliminates the rafter space where wasps and spiders love to breed
- It fights mold growth and makes it easier to clean
However, installing an underdeck drainage system is priority number one before you think about a ceiling. Keeping your wooden substructure dry is critical, meaning you will need an over joist drainage system to protect the deck joists, beams, and posts from getting wet.
Some websites recommend adding a roof to your existing deck, but this will not prevent the substructure from getting wet. Water will still drip through the deck boards onto your joists and beams. Over time, this will exacerbate the water damage, especially in more humid climates. Moisture can significantly damage or ruin your substructure within 8 to 10 years after construction. This video is an excellent illustration of the importance of a deck drainage system.
Trapped moisture between your decking boards and the roofing or ceiling does not allow for adding electrical wiring for lighting or a ceiling fan.
Several different drainage systems are available, including Trex RainEscape, Under Deck, DrySpace, Dek Drain, Zip Up, and TimberTech. The basic idea is to create a downspout and gutter system that diverts water from the substructure during construction. Along with pricing, be sure to consider ease of installation, material, and warranty.
With an underdeck project, there are tons of possibilities. You can enjoy having a patio and a deck area by converting the space below or opt for an indoor extension such as a sunroom or screened-in porch. Adding a deck roof or pergola to the second-story deck can also boost the attractiveness of your home quite a bit and take your outdoor living space to the next level.