Ground Cover Under the Deck

(A Curious Homeowner)

We have a large deck we need to fix up on an old house. What kind of ground cover under the deck do you recommend. What should you put under the deck to cover the dirt?

Would stones or wood chips work?

We are worried about mold as the place is by water and always seems to be damp.

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Oct 04, 2014
Not helpful
by: Anonymous

Wanted to know types of stones or rocks, sizes, etc to use!

Editor's Comments
River stone that is colorful and rounded can look very nice. It is available in small 1"-2" sizes all the way up to 6" and larger.

Otherwise rinsed or washed gravel stone is much more plain but also looks clean. It is much more common to see it in the smaller dimensions only. It is typically used for road construction.

Those are pretty much your options.

May 27, 2010
No Organics Under Deck
by: JW

I would think twice before applying organic ground cover. Organic materials are invitations to wood destroying insects (i.e. carpenter ants, termites, etc.), fungus, vermin, & other things you probably don't want under your deck. Especially if it will be hard to access after the deck is built. Organic materials (i.e. wood chips, leaves, saw dust etc.) make good food & nesting materials for what you don't want.

Jul 26, 2009
Covering Ground Underneath a Deck
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

Using wood chips as ground cover under your deck might be fine in a drier climate but I would be concerned that with the moisture you describe and the lack of light you might be creating a great breeding ground for mold and fungi. So probably stay away from wood chips in this situation.

Small stones are a nice idea. You can get all kinds of stones and usually they are native to your landscape and geography so they naturally enhance the look of your deck.

But I would recommend that you lay down a sheet of landscaping fabric under the deck, properly overlapped. Then place the stones over top.

This will reduce or entirely prevent weeds and errant strands of grass from taking root and should be as maintenance free as possible.

The lower the deck is to the ground and the tighter the deck boards are spaced the less light can filter through the deck to the ground. As a result most plant life will not grow.

But the higher the deck is above the ground the more light will filter below and the great chance of plant life taking hold. So that is what I think would be your best options for ground cover under the deck.

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