How many homeowners have a porch or deck that is elevated off the ground? Is the area under the porch used for anything?
It is the perfect place for storage!
We have just moved into a new home that has a substantial front porch. The front porch is elevated off the ground by over 6 feet and has a tremendous amount of covered space that is not used for anything. The space under the front porch does taper down to less than 3 feet, however, there is substantial area beneath this porch. How many of you have exactly this?
Why not make this space a usable area for storage?
Is it waterproof?
In some cases, the area below the porch is totally waterproof due to the existence of a roof over the porch. If this is the case, you are very lucky and the space is begging to be used.
However, in many instances, there is no roof over this porch or deck area, which means that you will need to waterproof the space.
We will assume that a waterproofing solution will be needed, and you do not have a porch roof or a waterproof area beneath your deck or porch.
The following is suggested:
There are several different products that are available that can be installed below an open deck or porch to channel the water to the perimeter. Prior to creating a usable area below an exposed deck or porch, this type of waterproof product will need to be installed. In most cases, this product can be suspended from the existing deck supports. Each situation will need to be custom evaluated, however, for a usable storage area, the water needs to be stopped and re-channeled.
Doorway & Access
Access is important in the creation of any type of under porch or deck storage. Usually the end of the deck or porch is the most accessible. The area that is the highest above the adjacent grade is recommended.
You will need to be somewhat creative with the access into the space. If there is room for a double door, then the door must be framed and installed. The construction of the doors can be totally custom, or they can be purchased exterior doors from the local construction supply store. In addition, there will need to be some type of ramp or firm surface to access the entry to your new storage area. In our case, we will use a stone and rock base to access the doors into the storage area.
Adding a Floor
The floor of the space will have to be established. In most instances, the existing ground is only dirt or gravel. You are lucky if it is gravel, then at least this surface could be used. If the ground is simply dirt, I would suggest that gravel be placed to reduce the dirt and create a more usable floor for your storage area. Once again, water and moisture is an issue for proper storage, so the elimination of a ground cover that promotes water or limits drainage must be corrected. Water must drain from the area if it is to be used a a sensible storage area.
My best suggestion for establishing a usable base for your storage area is to install a plywood floor in the space. This would need to incorporate the positioning and leveling of some framing, such as 4 X 4 timbers to create a framework for the plywood floor. The additional expense of installing a substantial floor in this storage area is recommended.
Once you have established a usable area, illumination is important if you want to access this storage area in the dark. My suggestion is inexpensive LED motion detector lighting that can be mounted to the underside of the deck or porch. This will reduce the amount of electrical work required and will illuminate immediately, once you access the space.
Cost effective storage solution
This type of storage area is a very inexpensive area to create. It is already in existence and merely needs some creative, ambitious input to establish a very usable storage area.
With the price of storage facilities and the need for homeowners to create areas for outdoor furniture, exterior tool storage as well as basic homeowner storage needs, the underside of porches, decks and other similar structures should not be overlooked.