Deck Drains for Waterproofing Systems: The Options Available

You’ve likely learned by now that standing water on your deck can cause some serious issues if you don’t waterproof your deck. If you haven’t realized this by now, you’re probably taking your deck for granted. Maybe you assume the plywood or concrete you’ve used on your deck can hold up under extreme weather.

In truth, if you never bothered to apply a waterproof coating, you’re going to experience standing water eventually. Those of you who live in overly rainy climates are most vulnerable, particularly if you haven’t created an effective drainage system.

During construction, did you think about how water would drain off your deck? This is something easily overlooked if you think water drains off naturally or dries fast. Think about this when you have a waterproofing coating applied. Here are some drain options, including customized designs.

french deck drain

The French Drain

One of the oldest drainage systems in the world is the French drain that cleverly guides water away from places where it typically accumulates. While this drain evolved considerably over the centuries since France developed it, many of the same materials are still used.

HGTV gives clear instructions on how to build a French drain. It involves installing slotted pipes, using filter fabric, and gravel. Despite the French not using fabric or gravel in the original design, it’s mandatory today. Without it, your drain could become clogged with dirt over time.

Before you install French deck drains, you’ll need to analyze where you’ll place the pipe near your deck and yard space. A downward sloping route is the best bet, though needs clearance from any obstructions.

spot deck drain

Deck Drains Around Pool Decking

Perhaps you’ve built a deck around your family swimming pool recently, yet haven’t installed any appropriate drainage systems. Avoiding this creates a problem going beyond mere rainfall. All the water splashing on your deck from the pool can accumulate and eventually cause deterioration. Over time, this could cause a dangerous situation if the plywood starts to rot away.

Installing drains around pool decking has become a popular option to avoid these problems. The slope is just as essential with these as with French drains. You’ll want a slope about one-quarter of an inch per foot in order to make the water properly drain out.

Common drains in this scenario are strip drains and spot drains. With the strip kind, you’re basically installing a long narrow grate. They’re perfect if you have a valley near your deck. With a spot drain, it’s possible to place one directly on or near your deck. Water drains underground with PVC pipe.

under-deck drain

Under-Deck Drainage Systems

One newer drainage option available is under-deck drainage that uses some real ingenuity in routing water away from your deck surface. When built properly, these systems divert water to the gutter at your deck beam. Or, you can drain the water at your outer band joist.

Either way, these drains allow the space under your deck to stay dry. Many people use this under-deck area for storage.

Variations exist here, with drains built above the joists using rubberized membranes. Drains built below the joists use metal or vinyl panels retrofitted to the underside of each joist.

Incorporating Drainage into the Deck Design

Nowadays, those who build decks smartly integrate drainage as part of the design process. If you’re building a deck this spring and summer, take some time to work with this since the creative options are numerous.

Contact us at Pli-Dek Systems so we can help you with your waterproofing needs with our specialized coatings. We’ll help guide you with deck drain options as well.