Although building a deck over a room has many advantages and benefits, it can also lead to a host of problems if not waterproofed correctly. Even if the ceiling in the room isn't noticeably leaking, your deck could still be allowing water to seep into the walls, where it can lead to mold, rot and electrical problems. Waterproofing the deck sufficiently is critical to avoid extensive repairs later on, and it is a multi-step process that must be followed thoroughly.
Choosing the Right Surface and Finish
The top layer of your deck, the one you see and walk on, is called the surface and its finish. The surface is typically made of a material like wood, concrete or composite plastic. Although wood is a popular option, it may not be the optimal choice if you are building your deck over living space, as it is more likely to allow water to pass through seams and infiltrate the waterproofing below. The finish you use will depend on your surface material, but there are specific waterproofing blends for each type.
Ensuring Adequate Drainage and Waterproofing
Beneath the surface of your deck, there will be several more layers designed to stop and drain water away from the ceiling of the room below. Perhaps the most important part of this underlying system is the drainage pipe, which funnels away as much water as possible before it reaches the waterproofing membrane. This membrane is the last defense for the substrate protecting your room's ceiling, so ensure that the drainage capacity of the pipe and membrane is adequate for your expected needs. Your general contractors should be able to create an estimate based on precipitation in your area and size accordingly.
Sealing the Edges
Another weak spot in many decks over rooms is their edges, where the deck meets the walls of the structure below. Leaks are prevented by installing flashing over these seams. This flashing must be entwined with your waterproofing system to be effective, and gutters may also be necessary to divert water before it has a chance to test that seal.
Maintaining the Deck to Prevent Leaks
Even after the deck is built, you will need to remain vigilant to guarantee that no leaks form and go unnoticed. Refinish the surface as necessary, and clean your gutters out regularly so that water doesn't get blocked and begin to pool. If your area experiences snow, it may actually be more harmful to shovel your deck than to allow the snow to melt naturally. When you spend time in the room below, keep an eye out for water stains or a musty smell. With the right building plans and diligent maintenance, you can enjoy the comfort of a deck without needing to worry about the living space beneath it.
For more information, contact Sammons Waterproofing or a similar company.