Y’all ready for this? Our new 3 to 4 minute video series will focus on best practices building and waterproofing decks over living spaces. I’ll be talking about framing, sloping, sheathing, flashing, drains and much more! Watch for our posts coming soon.
“The deck that we had off the house,” she said. “It was a two-tiered deck, and it was redwood, and that’s what brought down our house.” Corey and Danusia Larsen of Malibu CA of the Woolsey Fire that burned over 600 homes.
I’m still trying to find it but I remember seeing a quote from a firefighter in California describing wood decks as organized kindling. That quote sticks in my head and won’t budge. I’ve reviewed hundreds of pictures of homes that are burned and often you can see the outline of a wood deck or the remnants of…
To me the ideal fire resistant home would be stucco or concrete or Hardie board with a metal of concrete roof any decking on it would be a division 7 traffic coating that is fire rated for use in California fire zones.
This article describes the new house that was built by the Larsen’s after the Woolsey Fire. https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/wildfires/2021/05/21/malibu-couple-fireproofs-home-after-losing-everything-in-woolsey-fire
It is my opinion that Cal Fire and other fire authorities will not specifically say or seek to ban wood framed and wood decks as the deck industry would be up in arms. However I will say that wood decks and wood framing exposed does not belong anywhere on a building particularly in a high fire hazard zone. Decking manufacturers will say that their products have passed tests under ASTM standards that is required by ICC-ES to get a report… My counter argument is let’s take an aged outdoors 5 years wood frame deck with wood boards or composite boards and put it into a real life type situation IE ember storm, fire wood stacked underneath the deck, plant growth around it etc and let’s see if that deck really is fire resistant. I will say outright that it is not.
Wood decks and composite decks are not your friends in fire country. If you are in fire country the only thing that will help you in my opinion are concrete decking systems and systems that rely on concrete backer board for their fire rating.
This article won’t make any friends in the deck industry that sell composite and wood decks but I’m just truth telling here.
“Leys makes a good argument that even the other groups identified in the draft bill—general contractors, architects, and engineers—aren’t qualified to perform these inspections, despite their skills and training.”
Andrew Wormer Editor Professional Deck Builder Magazine
If California’s Senate Bill 721 is adopted without modification by that state’s legislature, periodic inspections of enclosed balconies and similar structures on multi-family buildings that are higher than 6 feet above the ground would be required statewide. This is a common-sense measure, especially in light of the Berkeley balcony collapse in 2015 that killed six students. But as Bill Leys points out in an interesting post on PDB’s LinkedIn group, one of the groups that would be authorized under the law to perform these inspections, make repair-or-replace recommendations, and certify that repairs have been properly completed are structural pest control licensees.
Read the rest of Andrew’s editorial by clicking here
Read my opinion by clicking here
The deck waterproofing industry needs to speak up!
From the California Building Standards Commission-
Notice is hereby given that the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC), Exterior Elevated Element (EEE) Subcommittee will solicit technical expertise on the items listed in the attached agenda and the link below. The public is invited to attend and provide their input or comments. For questions on this notice, please contact CBSC at (916) 263-0916.
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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.