Snow Weighs an Average of 15-20#’s per cubic foot.
Failure to Clear off Decks of Snow Blamed for Many Collapses
Repeated Loading/Unloading Can Cause Great Stress to Framing
Deck Expert Bill Leys Recommends Getting Decks Inspected as Weather Permits Before Spring & Summer Use
Record breaking snow falls, especially out west have created havoc on buildings, especially roofs and decks. Snow has been credited with collapsing roofs and decks after heavy buildups that overload the decks and roofs weight carrying abilities. According to a Google search, snow weighs an average of 15-20#’s per cubic foot.
Decks on the other hand, are often designed to handle 50#’s per square foot of area. So a deck of a size 10′ x 20′ or 200 square feet, should hold 10,000 pounds. Now pile on 4 feet of snow at 80#’s per square feet using 20#’s per cubic foot. At 80″‘s per square foot, that 200 square foot deck may have 16,000 pounds of snow on it. While it might remain standing, the question becomes, what happens with repeated loading and unloading of huge amounts of weight?
That’s really going to depend on a number of things-like how old is the deck, has it been maintained etc. A newer deck is probably better equipped to handle the huge stress placed on it. Older decks with some wear and tear and degradation are likely to become likely victims of failure.
So what can you do to help avoid stressing your deck’s weight limits to their maximum & beyond? Clear off snow as soon as possible. Maybe it has to be cleared of twice or three times in a day depending on snowfall amounts. Look at the deck carefully to see if it’s sagging or swaying. Those are signs of danger and a contractor should be called immediately to assess it. Don’t use decks that sag or sway.
Even if somehow your deck in snow country doesn’t collapse this winter, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to use before summer hits. Deck Expert Bill Leys recommends that decks of every type be inspected this spring by an engineer, an experienced deck contractor, or an independent consultant who won’t be bidding on any repair work.
Multiple Classifications of Contractors Can Waterproof Decks, But Few Have to Pass a Written Proficiency Test
D-12 Synthetic Products Classification Doesn’t Require a Proficiency Test
Manufacturer’s Accept D-12 License’s to Become Authorized Applicators
If you want to be a general contractor, plumber, electrician, earth mover, well driller, roofer.. CSLB requires you to have 3 years certifiable experience in that trade, plus take a legal exam on CSLB and state contracting laws AND pass a 3 hour test on your proficiency in that trade. You have to prove you know what your doing before they give you a license to do it. There’s a risk to consumers from people who don’t know what their doing. CSLB goes out of their way to run sting operations on unlicensed contractors, running press releases and posting hidden videos of their stings.
However, if you want to be a contractor that installs waterproofing for foundation walls and decks, decks like say the balcony in Berkeley, you don’t need a license that has a test that proves you have some knowledge; you can obtain a D-12 Synthetic Products license like this author has. A D-12 Synthetic products contractor does not have to pass a written test of proficiency in the subject of waterproofing! You just need to apply for it if your licensed in another trade and add it to your classifications and start waterproofing decks and foundations as most of the deck manufacturer’s accept the D-12 classification to sell and install their products.
How do I know this? Because I have/had a D12 license classification with which I used it to waterproof decks and balconies. But I’m not the only one, there are many contractors out there waterproofing decks using a D12, as well as using a C8 (concrete) or a C33 painting license improperly apparently, and CSLB seems to have a lassez faire attitude about this issue.
Will CSLB change the licensing requirements for becoming a deck waterproofing contractor?
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.