The System

American Dry Deck is an underdeck watertight ceiling system that keeps the area below your deck dry and usable. The ceiling displays an attactive finely textured multi-paneled cathedral style surface. All of the engineered components are made of weatherable, stain and mildew resistant, highly durable polyvinyl alloy that can withstand heavy snow, ice and high wind loads. The ceiling system itself is engineered to be maintenance free, but you will have to flush out the debris in your gutters once a year.

The best way to understand this system is to envision it as a continuous sheet of structural vinyl that consists of snap-interlocking modular sections. It effectively is a "drop" ceiling which can be set at any elevation. It may be oriented in any direction under any deck's structural framework. The entire ceiling system is fastened to furring lumber that attaches to the bottom of the joists in rows spaced a maximum of 36" apart. If an obstacle such as a girder is encountered, a choice must be made to either create 2 independent watertight ceilings, one on either side of the beam or create a drop ceiling grid framework using 2x4 & 1x4 that adjoin into and flush to the bottom of the girder. This framework creates a single mounting plane which will provide American Dry Deck a single continuous ceiling system below girder level. 

In standard intallations the ceiling system attaches level relative to the to the bottom of the deck. It does not matter if the deck twisted, or slightly pitched.  Water and debris are flushed away by fast moving "rivering" V channels located on either side of the arched ceiling panels. The high concentration of fast moving water acts as a strong "river" current which carries away all dirt and debris in their paths. The rivers build up quickly in vertical height which generates the head pressure the flush all water and debris to the ends of the ceiling. These patented V channel rivers dump out into gutters located at both ends of the system. The ceiling may also be pitched if necessary requiring a minimum of 1/4" per foot slope. The ceiling occupies only 3 1/2 inches in total height. 

The drop ceiling system is a "Double Open Ended" system, which permits  large amount of air to freely circulate or cross-ventilate  throughout, over and around the entire ceiling system. When you have moisture, you must have large volumes of air circulation to absorb that moisture and carry it away. The American Dry Deck system allows for the elimination of residual moisture after a rainstorm.

The system is also used as a canopy, for applications such as large boats coverings for docks. In these applications, the system generally does not utilize guttering thereby allowing open run-off at both ends.


The Material

All of the engineered components are made of a weatherable, stain and mildew resistant, highly durable structural polyvinyl alloy. This high-strength polymer provides excellent color, and gloss retention under severe outdoor conditions. It also delivers high impact resistance, chemical resistance, fire retardancy and offers exceptional cleanability. The system is engineered to withstand the Florida high wind rating, the ice and snow ladens conditions from the extreme north and intense heat loads in the southwest. The ceiling may be pressure washed with detergents or wiped over with any cleaner. We use straight lacquer thinner slovent to clean up a job after an installation. This solvent will clean up any scratch, remove any stain and make it beautifully clean.

The American Dry Deck Parts

The ceiling system consists of basically 3 components: Ceiling Panels, Stringers, and Locking Caps. These are the components that self-interlock to form the continuous watertight ceiling. Other parts are the End Stringers, End Caps, (basically quarter round parts designed to fit up to a flat surface) and Splash Shields (basically an engineered flashing which directs the water into the gutters). All components, except for the Splash Shields, are available in 10', 12', 14',16', 20' and 24' lengths. Splash Shields are only available in 12 ft. lengths. Longer parts are available through special order, such as 30+' long parts like used in boat canopy applications.

The Installation

American Dry Deck will fit any size or shape deck no matter how the framework is constructed. Sketch up your deck with dimensions and send it to us via fax (336-299-9949) or email. Our Customer Service will use our CAD software to create an Installation Layout for your deck. We then perform a material take-off to determine the optimized parts you will need. You will receive your new Installation Layout drawing, a typical sectional drawing and the complete material worksheet including shipping back to you normally within the hour.

If you want to figure out the material you need for yourself: Measure your deck from underneathfrom the house wall out to the inside of the posts. This will be the length of the part less 6". The 6" is based on a standard installation whereby you have 2 GMBs, one along the house wall and the other along the insde suface of the supporting columns. Then take the width of the deck and divide it by 16" to get the number of Ceiling Panels you will need. Always get an extra CP, MS and MC for cutting errors or ceiling panel adjustments near the end of the deck run. The Ceiling Panels are precut in width to fit 16" o/c spaced Dry Deck Stringers. The majority of the Stringer spacings are controlled using the Spacer Sticks. Start from the 1st Stringer installed and Spacer Stick on towards the other end. When you reach the end, you will usually run across an oddball spacing distance. Back up about the last 47" or so and divide out for Ceiling Panel spacings. Never make a spacing less than 12". This last bit of area is where you will need to "Balance Out" the look of the Ceiling Panels, so make it look good. Now you know how many Ceiling Panels you need.

For straight-shot decks, subtract 1 from the number of CPs and this is how many Main Stringers & Main Caps you will need. You will always use 2 End Stringers & 2 End Caps at the ceiling ends. The Splash Shields are only available in 12' lengths, so take your width measurement, double it, and divide by 12'. Splash Shields go on both the front and the back of the ceiling system in standard installations. Use a 2" overlap or more joint on the Splash Shields. When ordering the American Dry Deck parts you need, remember everyone makes cutting mistakes, so be on the safe side...shipping is expensive.

After you measure your deck and figure what American Dry Deck parts you need, you will need to figure the amount of 2x8 treated Gutter Mounting boards and the quantity of whatever thickness treated furring lumber that you will need.

The Splash Shields attach to the GMBs. A typical furring strip layout is described as follows: Place the outer rows of furring lumber across the width of the deck joists starting with the outermost rows. Place the edge of the furring strip 2.5" from the face of the GMB. Now, divide up the distance in between the outer rows and place rows of furring no more than 36" apart. The boards in each row need to be butted up to make it continuous. Eyeball across the bottom of the furring and remove any major ups or downs.

Install the GMBs, Splash Shields, Furring lumber and additional aluminum flashing that may be required to redirect all water on top of the Dry deck ceiling system. tihs is the preparation stage which means it is of vital importance to start off right. You must be sure the Splash Shields seat up against the house wall and seal nicely so that no water from above seeps behind the boards and runs down the wall. The idea is to direct all water from above onto the ceiling system or into the gutters if you want it to be dry underneath. For irregular surfaces, use a butyl gutter and flashing sealant, urethane or silicone to "pot in" soft rubber Splash Shield flange. When installing the Splash Shields, use our stainless steel screws placing them in-line with the Stringers so they will not be seen, and be sure they securely fasten the Splash Shields to the GMB. Locate the screws about 1" down from the top of the GMB. This will apply pressure to the soft flange seal of the Splash Shield to the vertical wall.

Next, the Stringers of the system are installed to furring strips. The Stringers are cut to length 1-1/2" short from each of the opposing GMBs. For the straight-shot deck, begin at one end of the deck and Spacer Stick to the other until you need to stop when closing in on the oddball area dividing up the last 47" or so. Install the first Stringer "stringline straight" (very important). Then use our spacers sticks to progressively align and install the rest of the Stringers. Keep checking your Stringer straightness using an orange stringline up against the bottom flange of the Stringer. The Stringers use 3" deck screws for fastening up through the bottom into the furring lumber. **Definitely use an "auto-feed screw drill" if possible! Working above your head all day is tough enough, so put the screws in straight and fast while holding the Stringer accurately in place. Make sure the Spacer Stick is held square between the adjacent Stringers and the Stringer is held flat to the furring. At each end of each Stringer, make sure your deck screws are secure because this is where the initial hammering occurs when installing the locking Caps...and is also where the pry bar (Cap removal tool) is used to unsnap the locking Cap from the Stringer during disassembly.  Do not crush the Stringers with the screws! Do not spead the gap that holds on the locking Cap! Loosen the screws a touch!

Next, install the precut width Ceiling Panels. Cut these Ceiling Panels to length 1/2"  to 3/4" longer than the Stringers. When installed, you will set the Ceiling Panel to overhang the Stringer 1/4" to 3/8" at each end. This creates a knife-edge for the water to run off the top of the ceiling. For the oddball Stringer spacings at the end of the deck, cut the Ceiling Panel so that the crest of the arch of the ceiling panel makes a nice uniform arch as the others, this normally reveals the crest about 1/2" below the bottom of the furring strip. Make many of the 6-7" wide TEST Ceiling Panels to trial and error this proper arch CP width, then transfer this width to the Ceiling Panel that is to be cut. Use a sharp utility knife and a straight edge to score then break the panels. 

Next, install the locking Caps to the Stringers. For  the standard install, cut the parts 1 1/2" short from each end of the Stringer. Make a pencil mark 1 1/2" from the end and insert the locking arrowhead of the part into the Stringer. You must be careful when smacking the locking Caps into the Stringers because they will tend to slide away from your pencil mark. Smack the Caps straight up vertically to keep the part from sliding. Now, snap on the Waterbreak parts on the ends of the Stringers. These parts are made from scrap Cap leftovers. You will have a 1/2" air gap  between Cap and Waterbreak.

After installing the American Dry Deck ceiling system, call the Gutter Man to install the gutters. The Splash Shields go inside the gutters. Use standard gutter hanger brackets that require a screw. Screw through the hanger, through the Splash Shield, through the back wall of the gutter and into the GMB. Hold the srew drill basically level to the top of the gutter and run the screw in straight. If you have alot of continous gutter to install at once, use our "Helping Hand sliding fixtures". These are definitely the trick to install the gutters, for joining them together and sealing them up at the joints. They hold the gutters at an accessible height distance to permit good quality work, then slide the gutters up tight to just touch the locking Caps. Keep the gutters tight to the Caps! Use as many downspouts as possible. The ceiling system catches alot of water, its a roof.

For Ceiling Fans, Lights and Porch Swings, you will have to install very secure lumber blocking between the joists to carry the vertical load. Align the bottom of the blocking to the bottom of the furring lumber. Follow the procedure listed in the "CONTRACTOR'S CORNER" link in this website for details. This involves drilling a 9/16" hole (using a hole saw) in the center of the crest of the arched ceiling panel. A 5/16" ID rubber grommet is then inserted to accept both the 5/16" eyebolt and the round electric cable for ceiling fan/light installations. For swings, use the 3/8" eyebolf and grommet. This grommet use a 5/8" hole saw.

Also see the downloadable Installation Layouts and Sections to see many examples of American Dry Deck Installations.

The Cost

The American Dry Deck is sold by the part not by the square foot. For all sales, please give us a call at the Customer Service Tech Support Group (888-416-7168. Parts are shipped via LTL freight carriers across the US and Canada. When your order is shipped from a warehouse, you will receive a shipment notification via email/fax with the tracking number (PRO number), carrier name, telephone number and carrier website address.

The Warranty

The American Dry Deck has a limited lifetime warranty against all American Dry Deck parts.

For all questions, just give us a call at the Customer Service Center. We offer complete technical support M-F 8am-6pm EST. We also have a full engineering group if you you like to discuss any type of application. If you require brochures, T-shirts, hats, displays, signage, etc. please contact our Printing Group at