A guide to installing a drain on your deck

October 28, 2014

Here are a few tips on how you can drain water from your deck to prevent premature rotting and damage.

In some North American climates, where there can be a constant barrage of rain, thunderstorm and snow, clearing a deck can be tiresome if no drain was inserted. Once a deck has been built, installation of a drainage system can be difficult.

A guide to installing a drain on your deck

Why drain the deck?

Adequate deck drainage is necessary since any standing water can lead to rust and damage to the deck foundation, provide a breeding place for mosquitoes and flies, and make the floor slippery. You can avoid all of this by choosing the right way to install water drainage.

How to drain the deck

The easiest way to drain the deck is to just let the water soak through the gaps in the wood. However, this may take a long time and can contribute to rot and water damage.

When building any deck, it is recommended that it be built on a slight slope and in the right direction to help drain the water. For homeowners who are deciding on installing a drain, it is important not to rush. Wait for a rainy day, and determine where the water accumulates and how it disperses. Once this type of planning has been done, installing a drain should be easier.

A major advantage of installing a drainage system in an existing deck is that one already knows beforehand where the water collects and how it drains. The next step is to make sure that the drain is placed in a suitable location so it drains the water away from the deck and not into the home.

If the deck is erected on a higher level, the drain has to be routed via a channel into a sewer or a drain. The pipe selected to drain the water should be the proper size. Too small, and it can be clogged with leaves and other debris.

Drain options

One can install French drains just underneath the deck that connect to the main drain. Another method is to have a channel running across all sides underneath the deck that can catch all the water. When this channel is inserted properly, it may appear as part of the deck. The deck channel can be connected to the main drain in a closed fashion, or by burying it into soil or the foundation of the deck. Connection to the main drain may require some work if it is not located nearby.

Another option is construction of a dry-well to help drain water from the deck. This can be combined with the French drain for more efficient results. The dry-well can be constructed out of a barrel filled with sand and gravel and can actually be installed under the deck base.

Once a drain has been installed, the only way to know if it will work is to wait for a rainy day.

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