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Currently, the porch uses tongue and groove boards that are painted. I think they might be original to the house. Whenever it rains hard, water will get on the porch. The water sits there in puddles. I'm assuming some makes it down underneath.

The porch wood needs replaced. I cut up a corner of the porch where the wood was sagging and the top 1.5in of the 2x10 joists is rotted away. I'm assuming that the water puddling is leading to the decay of the joists.

Underneath the porch is just dirt with some construction trash from when the house was built. There are two vents on either side of the porch built into the brick.

My question is: would it be ok to replace this wood with a decking type material with a gap between the boards?

My concern is the water that makes it down underneath. It makes it down there now because the wood is in no way stopping it but would having gaps somehow exacerbate the issue?

  • hould be fine,you've got a roof over the porch your gareden's going to flood before your underfloor. – Jasen Mar 31 '18 at 0:45
  • What state (or country) is this house located in? – Jasper Mar 31 '18 at 5:15
  • Located in Ohio USA – vini_i Mar 31 '18 at 10:33

You can and should have a gap for the water to drain away, and any water that does make it below, will have air in the "cavity" to dry it faster. If it is dirt, you shouldn't have so much water that it fills your "cavity" and floods, it should soak into the dirt and disappear. If it was any other material like concrete or wood, underneath, you could have other issues. But you said dirt, so no issues. When you have a deck on a house, attached or floating, you usually don't have a solid wall, but could have skirting, and the water drains to dirt below. Now if you had a concrete patio, and installed a deck over that, without proper drainage, you could have some potential issues. Again, you said dirt, so you are safe.

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    It helps if the under-porch dirt slopes away from the house. – Jasper Mar 31 '18 at 5:16

As long as there is a path for the water to escape if there's too much for the dirt below to handle, you should be fine with gapped boards. As stated by others, it helps more if this dirt also slopes away from the house.

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