5 Best Ways to Finish the Underside of Decks & Porches
There are numerous options to consider, so we have boiled it down for you
With all the design selections to be made for your deck and porch, the underside finishing is typically an afterthought. Knowing your options and tradeoffs upfront is important. Even if you decide to add underside finishing at a later time, you want to be setup for success from the start. Below are our 5 most popular solutions for underside finishing.
1) Natural Finish
Most clients choose to leave the underside of their decks and porches unfinished, which is a fine decision. Your main focus should be on how you want the living area of your outdoor space to look and feel. When budget allows, then you should consider your options for dressing up the underside. One of the reasons we use higher-grade framing lumber is to help improve the appearance when a natural finish is chosen.
The easiest and least expensive option for underside finishing is aggregate. We install landscape fabric, edge containment and roughly 2” of your preferred stone. The most popular choice is grey gravel, followed by earth-tone gravel and then River Jack. We will explain the advantages, disadvantages and costs of each so you can decide which works best for your design, yard, lifestyle and budget.
3) PVC Wrap
Wrapping the underside support posts and beams is another great choice. PVC is an attractive, durable material that is virtually maintenance-free. PVC wrap will conceal the natural imperfections of the framing lumber and is especially impactful when you plan to spend time below your deck or porch. This option isn’t necessary for lower-elevation structures where you can barely see it or benefit from the expense.
4) Lattice Skirt
The industry-standard lattice skirt is made of either PVC or vinyl and is available in limited colors. While these skirts are inexpensive, they can swell on hotter days and are quite frail (one well-kicked soccer ball can smash it to bits). That’s why our go-to skirt is a painted pressure-treated pine. This may sound counterintuitive, but it is a superior choice because it is strong and not impacted by heat. It can also be painted any color and only needs repainting about as often as your home trim.
5) Hardie Skirt
If you have more contemporary tastes—or if you want more privacy or security—you might prefer a Hardie Panel skirt. These skirts are solid, can be painted any color and typically have an exterior security door for access. Aside from costing more than pressure-treated pine skirts, Hardie Panel skirts also reduce airflow which is something to consider based on a host of related factors.
There are certainly other choices to consider, but these five materials should give you some inspiration about the direction of your project. If you’d like to talk with one of our designers to learn more, please Contact Us and we will gladly show you how to achieve your dream outdoor living space.