Water Damage to Your Rooftop Deck? Get Repairs Done Right!

Beautiful rooftop deckIn a dry climate like Southern California, you might be surprised how many homeowners need help with water damage to their decks, especially rooftop decks.

Once water is under the surface, it can’t be ignored. The deck needs repairing. Just re-covering a wet roof deck won’t make the problem go away. The risk to your roof and the rest of your home’s structure is too great.

Get the water damage repairs done right and your deck will be durable, long-lasting and will require much less maintenance. Then enjoy your rooftop deck as you intended – as a relaxing and scenic getaway from daily stress.

What Might Cause Water Damage to Your Rooftop Deck?

The answer is pretty simple: water either penetrates through the deck or else leaks from an underneath source. But for such a simple problem, there are so many ways water might get under your rooftop deck.

Structural flaws are a very common problem, as is damage from wind knocking things over. Sometimes the problem comes from a heavy downpour that washes away weakened sealants and surfacing.

Flooding may not be an issue up high on a roof deck, but water in large volumes can still come from many sources like burst pipes, clogged drains and gutters, an overflowing toilet, a broken hose connection, etc. Furthermore, heavy rain will also accumulate water on the deck if it has nowhere to escape to.

Water leaks are often found near penetrations, like where a guardrail attaches. Even condensation can cause problems as it seeps under the surface.

The amount of moisture found in the rooftop deck dictates if it is to be repaired or replaced. But get it done. You cannot risk a weakened deck threatening what is beneath it, or else that will be a huge safety problem.

Flat Roof Coatings

Flat Roof coatingA rooftop deck is essentially an area of flat roof. It is exposed to harsh weather and needs a protective barrier. There is simply no skipping out on this. And doing it “on the cheap” is a recipe for disaster.

A flat roof coating will waterproof the deck and extend its lifespan. It can also insulate against the summer heat or winter cold trying to enter your home.

There are several categories of deck waterproofing systems:

  • fiberglass
  • vinyl sheeting
  • urethane (not to be confused with polyurethane, urethane is more flexible)
  • polymer-enhanced cements
  • composite systems that are often self-adhesive
  • modified asphalt

Simple Rules for Any Deck

  • It must be strong enough to support the load. That seems obvious, but remember that water is heavy. If it soaks in and weakens the structure, additional weight could cause a collapse.
  • Flat deck surfaces should slope at least 1/4 inch per foot.
  • Everything must be waterproofed. Everything.
  • Good guardrails that are installed properly should not compromise the drainage or the waterproof surface.
  • There must be flashing around a door threshold leading onto the deck. Sealant is not enough here.
  • Where does the water go after it runs off the deck surface? The last thing you need is run-off causing damage elsewhere. Test it.

A Job Worth Doing is Worth Doing Right

Keeping the weather out is your home’s first duty. Any area exposed to the elements should be protected properly. If you attempt to repair your deck yourself, you will likely find there is a whole lot more to the job than you bargained for. Cover yourself, and your deck, by calling a home repair and remodeling company who performs water damage repairs and has deck expertise. Make sure they are fully licensed and insured so that the job is done professionally.
Romney Tripp of RWT Design & Construction“Romney Tripp started construction in 1977 and formed RWT Design & Construction in 1992, eventually setting up the shop in Burbank. From the mid 1980’s Romney has been working on building recording studios as well as…” Read more.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to RWT Design & Construction.

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