Compare Aluminum Under Deck Ceilings to Vinyl Systems

Use this page to explore the differences between an all aluminum under deck system, and a vinyl under deck system

Vinyl Under Deck Systems Overview:
Vinyl systems lack the rigidity needed for a stable under deck water collection system. Snow, ice, water, and temperature fluctuations will all take their toll on the system within a few years, if not sooner. Even the vibration from walking on the deck above can cause a vinyl system to loosen and distort. Vinyl under deck systems do come in lots of colors, and can be simple to install. However, they are not great if you are looking for a long term solution to your deck drainage needs.
Aluminum Under Deck Systems Overview:
We use an aluminum alloy which doesn't expand or contract with changing temperatures, like vinyl does. Combined with our professional under deck installation, this means that our leak-proof under deck cover won't develop cracks, gaps, or any other flaws regardless of temperature fluctuations. Under Deck Oasis under decking is also strong enough to be used in areas that receive heavy snow and ice, which could tear down vinyl systems. This strength also allows our under deck system to support fans, lights and other accessories that can really make your outdoor room come to life.
Compare Function:
Vinyl Under Deck System
Aluminum System
Sags over time
GUARANTEED Not to Sag
Not water tight
GUARANTEED Not to leak
Not Approved for Heavy Snow
Strongest in the Industry
Mix of Vinyl and Aluminum Parts
All Aluminum System
Not Bird-proof
Bird-proof
Compare Aesthetics:
Vinyl Under Deck System
Aluminum System
Multiple Colors
7 Solid Colors
No Wood Grains
5 Wood Grain Finishes
Does not install well
Installs straight and square
Difficult to match existing materials
Matches existing exteriors
Compare Service:
Vinyl Under Deck System
Aluminum System
No Warranty
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Installers may not be certified
Factory Certified Installers
Usually made over seas
Made in USA

Vinyl Under Deck Systems Can Melt From the Grill

If you really ask yourself what the biggest difference is between Vinyl Under Deck Drainage Systems and Aluminum Under Deck Systems, it has to be the durability. But one thing you may not think of is how easily vinyl can, and does, melt. Seeing as one of the main reasons for an Under Deck Drainage System Installation is a clean dry place to grill year round, having a system that is apt to melt may not be a wise idea.

Melting vinyl siding from the grill is not exactly a rarity. Why would you trust a vinyl under deck system to cover your grill?

Grill fires are serious business. According to FEMA, over 6,500 grill fires happened in 2001 resulting in nearly $27 million in property loss. Is it really worth the risk or installing a sub-par under deck system, especially if you intend to grill under it?


Refuting Erroneous Claims About Aluminum Under Decking Product:

There is a lot of misinformation online about aluminum and vinyl under decking product.

Dealers of vinyl systems like to confuse the issue with obscure and non-factual information. With this in mind, we would like to shed some light on the most common arguments against an aluminum under deck system.

If something in this section is incorrect, or you would like to refute any of our claims, please email us at info@underdeckoasis.com.

  • 1: The Claim: “Aluminum systems are extremely difficult to remove after installation.”

    The Truth: Aluminum systems may be a little more difficult to remove, but that is because they are installed more securely to begin with, with the intention of lasting decades, not a few years. If your system is installed correctly there should not be much reason to ever need to remove the system. That being said, if you DO need to remove a panel of the Under Deck Oasis system, all you need is a siding tool, which you can purchase at any home improvement store for under 10 bucks. Here is a video that shows how.

  • 2: The Claim: “Aluminum systems do not allow access to clean any vents or fresh air returns, because they drop below the ledger board.”

    The Truth: With Under Deck Oasis, all vents are extended so that cleaning can happen. Also panels can be removed – see above.

  • 3: The Claim: “Aluminum is harder to cut, and has sharp edges.”

    The Truth: Aluminum is, of course, harder to cut than vinyl. Aluminum is metal... a stronger, more sturdy material than vinyl. Being harder to cut is not a bad thing. Under Deck Oasis panels are made out of .028 aluminum. Anyone can cut it with a pair of regular tin snips. Would you want an under deck system made of paper-mache just because it is easier to cut?

    As far as sharp edges go, after the system is complete and installed, there are no sharp edges and nothing to worry about. If you are installing the system yourself, please wear gloves.

  • 4: The Claim: “Extra fascia boards are needed to cover the outside edges of the aluminum hanging down.”

    The Truth: With our system, any aluminum hanging down from the sides is a finished piece of aluminum (the side cap). You CAN add extra fascia if you want, but you do not NEED to. One of the main reasons people choose Under Deck Oasis is because of the amazing finished look. We would not deal with an “unfinished” product.

  • 5: The Claim: “Water freezes on aluminum immediately, creating huge ice concerns for the system.”

    The Truth: We searched the internet trying to confirm this, and could not find any information to back it up. In fact, the exact opposite seems to be true. Ice actually melts faster on metals than on plastics. Metals conduct heat much better than plastics, which allows for ice melting faster. If you put an ice cube on a metal surface, and an ice cube on a plastic surface, the ice cube on the metal will melt faster. Here are some links:

    http://www.thenakedscientists.com

    http://science.blurtit.com

    Of course if it is cold enough, water will freeze on anything. We all know what temperature water freezes at...

    Concerning ice issues, Under Deck Oasis was developed in Grand Rapids, MI, and we know winter. Our panels are specifically developed to handle Michigan's insane snow loads. When weight pushes down on the system from above it actually pushes into the carrier system and makes it stronger. The bottom line is, aluminum can actually handle snow weight, and will slightly expand and contract accordingly. Vinyl becomes brittle when it freezes and can split or shatter.

    Another thing to understand, is that most vinyl systems still use a standard aluminum gutter, so water would then freeze in the gutter immediately anyway, which is the worst place you would want it to freeze.

    If anyone has other information about ice freezing immediately on aluminum, please email us.

  • 6: The Claim: “Aluminum systems need to be installed by a professional, and are not "DIY.”

    The Truth: We can't speak to other aluminum systems, but Under Deck Oasis has always been available for the Do-it-your-selfer. Or we can install it for you, or we can even come out and train you how to install it. There are a full series of videos on how to install it here on our site, and we are always available by phone for questions.

  • 7: The Claim: “Aluminum dents and scratches easily.”

    The Truth: Aluminum will dent and scratch if you bang into it with something. Vinyl becomes brittle over time and will break, even without touching it at all (if the systems even lasts that long).

  • 8: The Claim: You will lose 8” to 12” of head room installing an aluminum product.

    The Truth: We start with our carrier system that adds 2 inches, plus another inch with the installed panel. (3 inches to start with.)

    The system will then drop only 1/8” per linear foot across the length of the deck for proper water drainage.

    In order to lose 8 inches of head room your panel would need to be 40' long, which includes the original 3 inches. In order to lose 1 foot of head room after the original 3 inches, your panel would be 72' long!

    That would be one massive, massive, second story deck. If you have a deck that big, then hey you are probably not worried about losing a little head room....

    Where head rooms is an actual issue, we also have a low clearance carrier that is only 1/2” to keep the head space to a maximum.

  • 9: The Claim: “Aluminum systems will rot out treated lumber over time.”

    The Truth: The process in question here is called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolysis

    And in regard to building materials:
    “When dissimilar metals are in contact with one another in the presence of an electrolyte, galvanic action occurs, resulting in the deterioration of the metal with the lower galvanic number. The electrolyte may be rain water running from one surface to another, or moisture from the air containing enough acid to cause it to act as an electrolyte.”
    (Source)

    For our concerns, electrolysis is a small electrical current passing between 2 unlike metals, facilitated by the presence of water. So in this case, the aluminum under deck product and the metal in the treated lumber.

    This is a well known process and any distributor of aluminum building materials is going to be aware of it. How does Under Deck Oasis deal with such an issue?

    There are only two places the aluminum is in direct contact with the treated lumber; at the “G-channel” and “Side Cap.” Both of these areas are sealed with Geocel sealant so they are water tight, making the issue moot. No other component touches the treated lumber.

    Also keep in mind that any deck made out of treated lumber that is over 5 years old will no longer be potent enough to create a problem.

  • 10: The Claim: “Water will sit in the system.”

    The Truth: No water will sit in the system. If it is installed correctly, all water will drain into the gutter system and out. Any water left standing after a hard rain fall will evaporate naturally.


Compare Aluminum Under Deck Systems to Steel Systems

There are 3 main reasons that an aluminum system is superior to a steel system:

Strength to Weight Ratio

Aluminum has a better "strength to weight" ratio. In other words, while it is not as strong as steel, the fact that it weighs less than half as much makes up for its lower strength. This is why most airplanes are made of aluminum. 

Corrosion Resistant

Aluminum is more corrosion resistant than steel. Remember, steel rusts and aluminum does not.

Versatility

Aluminum is easier to cut, saw, carve, drill, and machine than steel, so it is the ideal material to use on your home due to its versatility.

Longevity and Intended Use

We constantly run into homeowner installed steel systems, usually made out of corrugated steel roofing material. Because this kind of steel sheeting is not intended to be an under deck ceiling system, it usually only lasts a year or two before it fails. Steel sheeting easily leaks at the seams.


Compare Aluminum Under Deck Systems to Wire Mesh

We have seen wire mesh under deck systems used to keep birds and bugs out of the deck beams. We have also seen plastic put up to keep the water content down, but it is impossible to get water tight. Either way, it is not very attractive and doesn't do the job. Under Deck Oasis under deck drainage system was designed to specifically solve all of these issues.