Category Archives: Recommended Reading

Excellent Q&A From Frank Woeste via Journal of Light Construction – Drainage Problems on Low Slope Roof Decks

I’ve had this Q & A page at JLC online on my to do list for a while now to post up here for you all…while the discussion is about drainage problems on low slope roofs, the photo they use is a deck over living space with tile on it and ponding water. And of course, decks over living space with tile or pedestrian traffic coatings on them are roofs as well, just that we walk on them too.

Frank discusses how a roof deck can pond water even when it’s “built to code” from loads placed on the deck. Recommended reading for designers, architects, builders, waterproofers and anyone interested in increasing their knowledge and skills.

Drainage Problems on Low-Slope Roofs

By Frank Woeste

Q. Can deflection of a low-slope roof cause ponding? How can this be avoided?

A. Frank Woeste, P.E., professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, responds: Historically, structural designers and builders have assumed that a design slope of 1/4 inch per foot (1:48) is sufficient to prevent ponding action, thinking that the installed roofing system will maintain at least a 1:48 slope in-service as required by some roof covering systems. However, in many cases and for different reasons, ponding on limited areas of low-slope roofs is common. That’s due to roof deflection, which over time can cause water to collect in some areas of a roof where the design slope for drainage is not adequate, and in fact changes from a “positive” drainage slope to a “negative” slope (see photo below).

  DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE. (666.96 KB)

ATTENTION HOA CUSTOMERS OF THE COMPANY FORMERLY KNOWN AS WANKE INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL, YOUR SB 326 BALCONY INSPECTION REPORT MAY BE FRAUDULENT!

Consumer Alert! Attention all Southern California HOA managers, reserve study specialists, HOA attorneys, CAI and CACM

Update, 2/18/22, Board of Professional Engineers has Opened A Complaint Against Raffi Abkarian

For immediate release !

DeckExpert.com,  after investigation and information provided by anonymous sources has formed the opinion that HOA/condominium balcony inspection reports signed off on by Deck Inspectors Inc. may be invalid and fraudulent. The company, owned by DM, who also owns the company formerly known as Wanke Industrial Commercial Residential, is performing balcony inspections for condo and apartment complexes in the Southern California area.

Continue reading ATTENTION HOA CUSTOMERS OF THE COMPANY FORMERLY KNOWN AS WANKE INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL, YOUR SB 326 BALCONY INSPECTION REPORT MAY BE FRAUDULENT!

What Deck Flashing Is For (Hint, It Ain’t for Waterproofing)

Here at DeckExpert.com, I often hear someone say “the flashing leaked and the deck failed”. I always ask, how did the flashing leak? In my opinion, if the deck waterproofing system is installed in such a manner that the entire piece of flashing, the horizontal piece nailed to the deck and the vertical leg that goes up the wall is completely embedded in waterproofing, the flashing basically cannot leak. Drip edges covering the building materials below won’t leak unless the coating has lost it’s bond with the metal. I often find that happens when gutters are nailed through the drop of the drip flashing and the metal is deflected.

The misnomer in my opinion in the industry is to think of flashing as “waterproofing”. It is not primarily waterproofing. What the flashing is for is to provide a termination point for the deck waterproofing system to end to. Metal flashing is simply what we use to do that.

Now let me clear, the flashing’s still must be integrated properly into/with contiguous weather resistant barriers that are being installed by other trades-where building paper comes down and over the flashing for the deck. Sequencing is essential when it comes to installing weather barriers and typically the low slope roof and deck areas are weathered in first.

Edge/drip flashings still must be installed in a manner that they are placed over building materials below them so water runs over, away and off.

Flashing materials are commonly galvanized/bonderized metals, copper and stainless steel. When using any of these, proper preparation of the metal is essential prior to terminating the coating to it. Bright shiny galvanized I don’t recommend at all as it’s very difficult to clean and prep properly in the field for our work’s requirements. I recommend “bonderized” metal flashing instead. It’s basically clean so it usually just needs to be wiped down with a damp rag to remove dust and contaminants. Copper and stainless steel both require being sanded heavily to “etch” the metal. I use a 4″ grinder with the sanding flappers in a 50-36 grit paper to cut into the metal. I then prime the metal with a liquid based mix of the base coat so it’s loose with polymer and I brush it out onto the flashings. I then use fiberglass and resin to finish waterproofing the vertical legs of the wall to deck. See picture below for an example. Completely encasing the L flashing makes sense to me, it eliminates the possibility of water sitting at the wall and finding metal to attack. I’m also seeing this detail in Pli-Dek and Duradeck’s details, and I hope to see other manufacturer’s follow suit if they haven’t already.

So what’s your thoughts? Comment below please.

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Waterproofing the vertical leg with fiberglass & resin.

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Prime all metal flashings before installing coating system!

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Impossible to waterproof this termination! Deck waterproofing MUST extend up the vertical leg, behind the stucco paper.

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A door is already in, the deck can’t be waterproofed correctly. The door must be removed for the flashing to be installed.

California Adopts Emergency Regulations Governing Balconies and Walkways

6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.
6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.  REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage Photo used under Fair Use Doctrine-education.

Following the collapse of the balcony in Berkeley, that killed 6 and seriously injured 7 others, the California Building Safety Commission adopted me regulations on building and waterproofing Elevated Exterior Elements EEE for short.

The adoption of these emergency regulations will increase balcony safety standards by increasing load design, using decay resistant wood and Inspections of waterproofing before covering with other materials, such as a concrete overburden.

Testimony from the Irish families and victims has helped cause these changes. Jackie Donohue, mother of one child killed in the collapse has been leading the charge in bringing changes to  balcony construction along with requiring inspections.

After Berkeley adopted ordinates requiring inspections, over 800 balconies in that city alone have been found to be deficient.

https://www.dgs.ca.gov/dgs/Newsroom/tabid/72/ArticleID/146/California-Adopts-Emergency-Building-Standards-Regulations-Aimed-at-Preventing-Repeat-of-Berkeley-Balcony-Tragedy.aspx   REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage photo used under Fair Use Doctrine-education

Thinking About A New Deck? Consider the Benefits Waterproof Walking Decks Offer

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As winter starts heading into spring you may have looked out at your deck and heaved a sigh knowing you have a choice to make this year…replacing that old rickety wood deck or the fading, sagging composite deck that was supposed to last 30 years. What to do what to do? Go back to a wood deck using exotic Ipe and hope that lasts longer and has less maintenance? Use the newest and “greatest” composite?

While the wood and composite markets currently dominate the deck market, the end user is getting tired of the limited color choices of composite decking available at lumber stores and doesn’t want to wait for a special order with it’s various requirements and doesn’t really like the thought of the maintenance that wood decks require. The newest choice available is actually a choice that’s been around for a long time, it’s just that not many knew about this choice til now.

The new “choice” for decking is rapidly becoming solid surface walking deck systems installed over a plywood substrate on conventional doug fir or pressure treated framing. Solid surface decking systems offer many advantages over it’s wood and composite competitors. Some of those advantages are

  1. Waterproof! These decks can waterproof and give you a walkable surface on a roof deck, dry in a patio below, keep a storage area dry underneath. Increases your homes value!
  2. Cost competitive. Framing costs are the same as for decks receiving wood/composite decking. Plywood and the waterproof coating system often costs less than composite decking and almost always less than exotic hardwoods.
  3. Less Maintenance! No sanding, staining and sealing every year. Most waterproof deck systems require resealing every 3-5 years. Clean them off easily using Simple Green, water and a hose and brush.
  4. Unique Looks! Waterproof decks can look like anything you want-wood (yep), tile, stone, brick, stained, stamped…the designs are virtually unlimited!

Look at our deck finishes, you’ll see some of the many various finishes available that can set you apart from the rest of the pack.

Looking for a manufacturer? Find one here

 

Builder of Collapsed Berkeley Balcony Accused of Failing to Follow Plans by CSLB!

The balcony that collapsed in June of 2015 in Berkeley, killing 6 and severely injuring 7 other Irish students has been found, after analysis by forensic scientists,  to have been constructed improperly. As a result, the Contractors State License Board has filed through the Attorney General’s Office an accusation against Segue Construction, the general contractor.

The allegations are serious, not following plans without an architects approval will land you in hot water with CSLB.  It has also resulted in 6 dead people and 7 injured. The weight of that alone would crush me, yet these people running Segue are conscienceless snakes that sought to blame the victims. How do they look in a mirror?

The accusation lists out specifically the contractors failures, from not using pressure treated materials, to using OSB board where their project manual said it was specifically not acceptable, to failing to cover and protect the deck until it could be waterproofed to failing to waterproof it properly.

Read the accusation by clicking here.  Alternately you can read the specific allegations below. The accusation is a public document and the CSLB has posted it as a public service to help warn consumers, as they feel that Segue is a threat to the public. Segue is afforded due process and can defend against the accusation, including even if/when their license is suspended or revoked. Another case I’m familiar with has dragged on since October of 2013 and still proceeds today so justice may take a while here too.

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6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.
6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.  REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage Photo used under Fair Use Doctrine-education