When you add a deck to the exterior of your home, you are doing more than just giving yourself a place for enjoying the outdoors. The value of your home benefits, and the amount of space you have to work with increases. However, don’t miss one of the greatest opportunities you get from installing a deck; if you don’t make use of the area below the floor of your structure, you are cheating yourself of valuable square footage.
What you do with the under-deck area depends on the distance of your deck from the ground. Although the most opportunities for creativity come with a raised deck, a deck joined to a ground-level floor is not without its own merit.
Any deck that has at least 30 inches between it and the ground can provide you with your own personal storage unit. The simplest kind of outdoor storage space is one designated for wet storage. While such a space limits what you can store to weatherproof items, it requires little extra effort on your part to set up. With lattice, wood, or siding walls, you can tuck away all your outdoor equipment and gear.
A dry storage unit is more complicated to construct but is also more versatile. Requiring complete enclosure, it needs a waterproof roof with a draining system, solid walls, and a floor to keep out moisture. Aluminum panels with troughs serve well overhead, allowing the water that falls through the deck boards to flow to the ground. Likewise, a floor made of concrete or even plastic sheathing will seal the bottom of the structure.
If you have a raised deck, you have a rich array of options for your under-deck space.
One choice which makes your space ever versatile is to create a screened-in porch. This will give you an extra room that you can use most of the year without ordinary outdoor nuisances, such as bugs. Even more, if you opt for retractable rather than permanent screens, you can alternate between having a semi-interior room and a totally exterior space.
Screened or not, the area under your raised deck is perfect for outdoor cooking and dining. With stairs joining the levels, you can separate the two activities while at the same time conveniently juxtaposing them for an enhanced experience. If your cooking area is below the deck, it could even become an outdoor kitchen, complete with appliances, counters, and sink. In either case, however, there is no need to confine your outdoor recreational space to the limits of the deck, and extending the pavement beyond the covered area will give you a commodious and varied multi-level outdoor living and recreational space.
A Valuable Asset
Do not let the square-footage under your deck go to waste. Whether you simply create more room for your possessions or construct space for entertainment, you will get so much more out of your deck if you explore all its possibilities. Thoughtful planning extends the value of a deck far beyond its ostensible purpose.