Deck Damage Emergency

I remodeled a house three years ago. The builder may alot of mistakes, including many of the subs he chose to use. Unofrtunately we were not under contract but paid him hourly so our recourse is limited. The rebuilt a deck using plywood on doug fir joists hanging on a cleat bolted to the side of my house. He opted to cover the deck with a rubberized coating covered with aggregage but never did the finish coat as he said when the job was finished, I could do that. In the meantime, with all of the rain, the seams opened up letting water through the deck causing significant staining as well to checking on the plywood below. There is alot of black stuff that could be mold but I suspect could just be dirt too. One part of the deck was sheeted over existing red wood slats and on that deck that is smaller, the damage seems more severe. I opened up some soft spots and scooped out the plywood down to the red wood which was still wet from the winter. I called in the develper of the deck system and he informed me that the joints of the plywood should have been filled with a heavier version of the liquid rubber and taped with 4" polyproplene tape prior to the first coat of liquid rubber. This was not done and he says this is why the seams opened up. He said the rubber and aggregage coat should have protected the deck without the finish acrylic coating. He says that on the sheeting over the red wood he can make a "matrix" slurry of rubber and sand and fill the voids, but some are as big as 4" X 6" usually around the joint. On the rest of the deck which was sheeted on joists without an underlying deck he says that to flat frame 2 X 4 s supporting the under side of each seam will help and it anything is bad enough it can be cut out and replaced. He says that if I can cut out wood rot it will be fine just to patch or fill but this is beyond my knowledge. I don't know if it was the builder, roofer who did the deck or the manufacturer of the product who erred. The roofer says that the specs at the time he did the deck did not call for taping the deck. The manufacturer is recommending just patching with the slurry, cutting out and replacing where needed and them recoating areas with liquid rubber and then a finish coat of acrylic. Is this just a bandaid? I don't have the money to rebuild the deck? Also, I have been testing primers and have not found one yet to seal the water damage well. The manufacturer says to prime with a WATER based acrylic primer so it the deck ever leaks it won't trap water in the plywood a harm it anymore. I know that BIN would be good but it is oil based??? Is there a good deck system that can go over this and act like a solid membreane holding all water off of the deck. It has been so compromised that just going with this system after the repairs scares me. Also the deck sits on a shim of plywood that runs the length of the deck as the builder had not done the elevation correctly. The strip looks water stained and somewhat damaged but does not crumble to the touch. Should I just seal it and leave it alone> By the way this deck is maybe 20 X 40 and wraps around my house. Any help or advise would be appreciated. Thanks.
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"Michael Roback" wrote

No help here, but how did you get talked into being a guinea pig?
Plywood system with fir joists sounds like a very poor choice for a decking system. I know it's used for roof systems, but it's easy to tell when a roof is leaking. Unless there's room to walk under your deck, you would never know it's leaking until you feel the soft spot while walking it.
I wouldn't throw good money at a lost cause. Just my opinion.
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From what I read, the fix is easy. You need a Sawzall, dumpster, and some new decking. Repairing what you have is going to be a lot of work with questionable results. Probably easier and cheaper to start over.
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This is Turtle.
As the Boys at Blue Collar TV said always have you a Big Deck or people will talk about you. 20' X 40' Deck is a a Big Deck !
TURTLE
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I'm no expert, but it sounds as though someone sold you a roof and called it a deck. There seems to be a lot of components that I have never seen on a deck before. The decks that I have seen usually consist of support beams and posts, bolts, nails, wood or manmade planks for floor boards, and wood or manmade railings. I have never seen plywood used for the construction of a deck or rubberized coatings and membranes.
Most likely if this is not taken apart and redone correctly (Whatever that may be in this case) you will continue to have problems throughout its life. If it were me, I would try to determine what would be easier, cheaper, and more reliable; Repair the existing deck or tear it down and rebuild with a simpler proven system. Get some other contractors to take a look and see what they suggest.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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it
(snip) System they sold him is most often seen on roof decks, versus traditional decks with open space underneath. Carefully installed, for that application it makes sense. A continuous non-skid surface avoids the problems of rain and debris ponding on the 'real' roof below, where it is a PITA to clean out, and the problems of how do you hold the deck up off the weather barrier. Essentially just a very durable membrane roof painted with nonskid paint. Most often seen in decks above, say, an attached carport. But if there is clear space below, and no need to keep the space dry, no reason to not go with a traditional deck.
aem sends....
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Thanks for the info. Now it makes sense. Well I guess he's got a lot of work to do to make it right.

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Michael Roback wrote:

Snip the long, sad story of a membrane deck that went bad...
Just because you paid him hourly doesn't absolve him from responsibility to do adequate, workmanlike job. I'd certainly consider discussing your option w/ legal counsel if, as it sounds, the repair is going to be quite expensive. Was the guy bonded and were proper permits, etc., obtained?
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