Failed Waterproof Decks

Failing Waterproof Decks

Waterproof Deck Contractor  Roof Decks Decks Over Living Space

Our company inspects hundreds of existing waterproof decks every year. Decks fail for many reasons. Age, poor workmanship, the wrong materials, and improper construction and waterproofing details. When it comes to waterproof decks, you either do it correctly, or you will have problems. There is not magical way to do only half the work at half the price, or take short cuts. Sticking to strict waterproofing guidelines, principals, installation details, and using well proven materials and systems is critical.

As the leading Duradek waterproof  membrane installation company in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, we have seen it all. So we have decided to start a gallery of failed decks so you can see how others have failed. Of course we are sorry if one of these may be your type of deck, but then again we are happy because this is how we make our living.

In this business, many contractors learn the hard way that waterproof decks are a specialty area.  We of course do full deck construction, repair, waterproofing, etc. However a substantial amount of our work is for other contractors that have learned the hard way to leave this type of work to folks that specialize in waterproof decks.

A true story…a neighbor of Paul, the owner of Golden Gate Enterprises, built a custom home. The contractor was a very experienced home builder. During his construction, he decided to install a tile deck on two front balconies. Not being the pushy neighbor, I suggested our waterproof system..and he declined. Well exactly one winter later, the phone was my neighbor.  Both of his decks were leaking all winter. To shorten the story, both decks are now Duradek waterproof decks and have been in for years…and of course no leaks. The  same contractor now calls us to do his waterproof decks. So even good contractors get in trouble with waterproof decks. Here is an article that Paul authored about waterproof decks over living space.   And what happens when decks are not done properly….check this failed deck out.

So here begins our journey of posting failed decks:

Home Depot Special

Info sent by one prospective customer:

Last year our contractor did the following (and unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this process):

1. He replaced the sub floor (which was rotted) with a new sub floor of 5/8 or 3/4 inch wood.

2. He glued the sub floor into the flashing up against the sliding glass doors and perimeter of the balcony.

3. He glued a Water Proof Membrane that he purchased from Home Depot above the sub floor. The brand he remembers using is Storm Guard.

4. Then he put a layer of black gluey substance over the water membrane and finally he covered it with white glue. Then he poured sand on to it.

The top three layers (black substance, white glue, and brown sand) have begun to bubble and crack after a year of sun and last month’s raid. See photos attached. Could you provide me with an estimate for waterproofing our deck?

And some pictures to go with it…

Failing Waterproof Deck By Others

The Failing Deck


Cheap products. Wrong application. No Waterproof deck.

Look at this mess. Wrong products, wrong application, contractor that does not know what he is doing. Hire a waterproof deck expert ! Golden Gate Enterprises

Bubbles on Failing Waterproof deck

The moral of the story, hire a waterproof deck expert. Golden Gate Enterprises has over 24 years of experience and has worked on over a 1,000 projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you want it done properly, hire us.


Peeling, cracking or delaminating coatings (Urethanes, Epoxies, Acrylics); leaks, rotting wood, mildew and cracked, spalling concrete – these are all common problems with the old fashioned methods of waterproofing decks and balconies.

With Duradek’s pre-engineered vinyl sheet membrane system, these all too familiar defects are really a thing of the past. Duradek successfully bridges cracks that often cause the other waterproofing products to fail.

Substrates are impossible to control. They shift with everyday temperature changes. This constant movement puts enormous stress on liquid coatings. Pinholes, blisters or surface cracks often result. These allow moisture to get underneath, causing further deterioration of the membrane.
Duradek is a pre-manufactured, fabric reinforced vinyl sheet that possesses the ability to move with the subsurface, without cracking, bulging or blistering.

Both concrete and wood, over time are highly susceptible to the weather. Rain, snow, freezing, thawing, wind and sun, all take their toll. Wood decks rot, splinter, warp and crack.

The temporary decorative appeal of wood, unfortunately comes with the time and cost of constant maintenance.

Concrete cracks, becomes unsightly, dangerous and expensive to repair or replace. Entire balconies can collapse or pieces can fall off, possibly endangering lives.

Leaks and costly water damage have almost always been associated with inadequately protected roofdecks, to the point where avoidance has become the only solution.

The Duradek system of deck waterproofing membranes offers many advantages over the more traditional liquid applied systems. Often entrance ways and walkways (on renovation work) cannot be closed off for even a day.

For the commercial property owner or manager, lengthy shut-downs can mean lost revenues and embarrassing inconvenience.

What this means, is that once on the jobsite, there is no mixing, mess or smell, and most importantly, no guess work for the applicator. Once the substrate is prepared, the sheets are rolled out, glued down and mechanically fastened at the perimeters. The sheets are welded together with a hot air process for a completely waterproof membrane.

Duradek can be installed in almost any weather, and even over existing coatings. Liquid systems need ideal conditions and a well prepared subsurface to deliver a successful finished job.

Even with heavy traffic and the most severe weather conditions, these membranes will outlast ³painted on² surfaces by years. They will not peel, chip, delaminate or crack, even on high use walkways.



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