“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.
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.
The Deck Expert answers readers questions for only $25.00 Recently one reader asked us this question about his tiled deck.
“I saw your site on the web.
I have a tiled exterior deck. I have discovered it was not hot mopped before laying tile.
Obviously, it leaks.
I have been advised to use sealants but they don’t waterproof.
Is there any product that will waterproof the tile without removing the tile, hot mopping and retiling?”
Jay Q Los Angeles
Sadly there isn’t any sealer that will waterproof the tile. Sealers will help reduce moisture absorbed into the tile and down through the mortar bed, but will never succeed at actually waterproofing it.
A proper waterproofing system for a tiled deck is installed prior to the tile and mud bed being set. A pre-sloped substrate is waterproofed with a membrane suitable for tiling over, then a drain board is set on the waterproofing to allow water that does get through tile/grout/expansion joints to evacuate to a drain or an edge.
Hot mop waterproofing is pretty much a method of a by-gone era and isn’t used much anymore. Your deck I’m afraid will need to be completely stripped down to the framing and rebuilt. If you want to put tile down again, you’ll need to hire the best craftsmen available, using the best industry standard methods for framing/substrate and the waterproofing and tile assemblies.
You should expect that this will run an average of $70 to $100 per square foot for a complete rebuild, a little less if you go with a walking deck system that looks like tile. The picture above is a decorative faux tile walking deck system from Pli-Dek.
Do your job right the first time, get the right information here at DeckExpert.com.
DeckExpert.com answers your questions about deck waterproofing methods and materials for only $25.00.
“I am building a new roof deck as part of a full house remodel and I found you when researching my waterproofing options. My builder is suggesting hot mop, but I am not sure it is an appropriate option for a deck. The deck is on the plywood substrate and will not be heavily used (it is primarily there due to city’s set back requirement), but I still want to make sure that it can withstand light use. We are planning to install modular deck tiles on top of the decking surface.”Marat B San Francisco CA
Thanks for writing; you’re wise to have done some research and raise doubts about “hot mop” for waterproofing a roof deck.
Today’s modern deck waterproofing systems from our manufacturer’s provide all in one solutions to your waterproofing dilemma. The decking/roofing systems under Division 7 Pedestrian Walking Decks are all tough durable membranes that can be finished to look like wood, tile, stone etc.
Alternatively, if you want a wood deck on pedestals above a waterproof surface, walking deck systems are still your best choice. The coatings can be installed and then pedestals can be placed on top of the waterproofing and a deck system built on top. With this method you should allow for being able to remove the decking to clean the waterproof surface periodically of debris. Extra slope over the minimum code required 1/4″ per foot may help flush debris off. I would suggest draining off roof edges rather than roof deck drains (ThunderbirdProducts.com) as debris may clog drains at the worst possible time. If you opt for drains, use a minimum of a 3″ drain and 3″ ABS pipe.
If you review our site, you’ll find lots of information and advice that should be useful in your quest. Make sure to read, understand and meet all requirements for a waterproof deck system and always use Best Practices to go over and above code which is just a bare minimum. For instance, use 1 1/8″ plywood over the minimum 5/8″.
Good luck with your project, Bill Leys The Deck Expert
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.
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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