Deck Design & Architectural Concerns




Disclaimer/Notice Regarding Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials

I’m a big believer in education, so we do use some copyrighted materials from time to time, however, the law says we can, under certain instances, including purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. Oh, not withstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A of course.

So here’s the legal puke to help cover us…

Some articles listed on this website may be copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of construction, legal issues, manufacturer’s materials and technical information , etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to the:Cornell Law Website. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

By reading or subscribing to our website, you agree to use any information here for your own educational benefit and fair use. Happy reading!

I’ve collected links to articles written by other authors on the subject of waterproofing and deck coatings. Clicking these links will open a new window to another entities website. We are not responsible for these sites or the information they contain.


ROOFING/WATERPROOFING DETAILS and the Architects Standard of Care

By Colin Murphy  and Lonnie Haughton
Colin Murphy founded Exterior Research & Design, LLC (originally
Trinity Engineering, Inc.) in Seattle, WA, in 1986 and has since expanded the firm to include offices in Waterbury, CT, and Portland, OR. Colin is a Registered Roof Consultant and has been elected to the RCI Jury of Fellows. He also is a LEED® Accredited Professional, a certified EIFS Third Party Inspector, and an ICC-certified Building Inspector. Colin is the principal author of The Roof Construction Guide for General Contractors, published in 1998 by RCI.
Lonnie Haughton serves as a construction consultant for Richard Avelar & Associates in Oakland, CA, and is one of fewer than 400 individuals nationwide who has been certified by the International Code Council as a Master Code Professional. Lonnie is a LEED® Accredited Professional, a certified EIFS Third Party Inspector, and an accredited instructor for the InstallationMasters window/door installation
training and certification program developed by AAMA.

In the past, it was not uncommon for a project architect or specifier to pass a major portion of the design responsibility over to


the building contractor by simply calling out “flashing” on a typical wall section or roof plan within the project documents. We have seen construction drawings in which 
the designer’s entire guidance for proper flashing and weatherproofing of the exterior wall and roof covering systems consisted solely of the brief specification, “Comply with applicable code requirements” inserted into the General Notes. In these cases, the project’s design professional quite simply is stating that while it is his/her general “design intent” that the building envelope shall not leak, it is up to the contractor to figure out how to carry out this broad mandate.

However, the referenced new I-Codes2 now make it completely clear that the final responsibility for a detailed and effective design for the building envelope remains with the project’s designated design professional

and/or the qualified roofing and waterproofing design professionals assisting the project. Prior to issuance of the building permit, the construction documents must include comprehensive waterproofing details:

“… including flashing, intersections with dissimilar materials, corners, end details, control joints, intersections

at roof, eaves, or parapets, means of drainage, water-resistive membrane, and details around openings.”

Further: “The exterior wall envelope shall be designed [bold emphasis added] and constructed in such a manner as to prevent the accumulation of water within the wall assembly by providing a water-resistive barrier behind the exterior veneer…”

“Roof coverings shall be designed [bold emphasis added], installed, and maintained in accordance with this code and the approved manufacturer’s instructions such that the roof covering shall serve to protect the building or structure.”

Note in the code language quoted above the addition (new to the I-Codes) of the short phrase “be designed,” which advises the project’s design professional that his/her standard of care typically will include project-specific detailing (typically during the pre-construction process) of the wall and roof covering systems and their associated flashings. No longer should it be argued that these critical tasks can simply be passed on to the contractor and his/her subcontractors.



 By Joesph L Crissinger
Mr. Crissinger is a construction materials specifier with 22 years of experience. As a partner with McMillan Smith and Partners Architects in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Charleston, SC, he evaluates new products and develops all written construction specifications for the firm. His responsibilities also include facility assessment, field investigations, and the coordination of internal training programs. Mr. Crissinger is a Certified Construction Specifier and a Certified Construction Contracts Administrator.

Volumes have been written about moisture and its movement. This discussion will inform the reader of the various ways that moisture can move in and take up residence in a building cavity (assembly),such as the space between the exterior and interior walls.


Moisture movement occurs when it moves from one state or one point to another.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? How does this happen? Well, let’s review a few simple rules regarding moisture movement:

• Moisture flows downhill.

• Moisture looks for an opening.

• Moisture follows the path of least resistance.

• Warm air holds more moisture than cool air does.

• Moisture moves from a higher humidity to a lower humidity.

• Moisture moves from warmer temperature

to a cooler temperature.

• Moisture moves from higher vapor pressure to a lower vapor pressure.

Put another way, just think high to low, like the evening weatherman showing a high pressure moving to a low pressure.

Beginning with water in its solid state (ice), if enough heat is added, it changes to water. If more heat is added, the liquid changes to a gaseous state. Removing heat causes the reverse to occur. Therefore, it can be said that heat or the absence of heat is the mechanism that allows water to change states.


David Reed is a seasoned professional with over 25 years experience in building construction. For over 20 years he has specialized in waterproofing systems. As a water intrusion consultant, David understands building science and the physics of water and building materials. He has worked with architects, builders, contractors, subcontractors, inspectors, homeowners associations, property managers, the military, and municipalities for design and remediation of waterproofing.
The 2007 California Building Code went into effect at the first of this year, and with it came important changes affecting how architects and builders prevent water intrusion in buildings. Few in the industry, however, understand how drainage planes work and how to implement them, which is essential to effectively address section 1403.2 of the revised building code.
Creating an effective drainage plane for a building is designing a way to drain water, which enters the building envelope, to the exterior.
In the past, the building industry addressed water drainage rather minimally, since people believed that water did not accumulate in a typical frame wall assembly with a typical water-resistive underlayment such as No. 15 building paper. They assumed that sufficient water migration on the face of the underlayment would carry the moisture downward to drain at a…
By David Reed
In building science water is rarely controlled by gravity. The assumption that building leaks are caused by water falling from the sky is what sets apart the homeowner, adjuster, contractor, architect, mold hygienist, etc. from the building scientist.
To tread dangerously back into high school physics, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, offers these principles;
•Moisture moves from areas of higher concentrations to areas of lower concentrations
•Moisture travels from areas of higher air pressure to areas of lower air pressure
•Moisture moves from warmer areas to cooler areas.
Thus buildings suck! Moisture that is.

Stronger Post-to-Beam Connections

These critical joints must be designed to resist more than just the force of gravity


Joist Layout for Stronger Decks

Consider span, spacing, and depth to build beyond code for a small upcharge





%d bloggers like this: