I have a small (stone tile) deck off of a second-story master bedroom.
It leaks (into the kitchen below) when it rains. I've called about ten
different people to try to get it fixed. No one wants to do it. I
think I am going to have to fix it myself.
I am not handy.
The various repair people who have come to the house are split: Half
say I need to retile. Half say it needs to be waterproofed.
How does one go about waterproofing a leaky deck?
thanks in advance for any wisdom you have on this.
It's a question of how much you want to spend and how much you care how
it looks. If you want it to look good you have to rip it up, put down
a waterproof membrane (there are brushable liquid membranes available),
and then redo the tile. If you don't care too much how it looks you
could use a roof coating on top of the existing tile.
The arrangement of a deck over a living space is one of the most
troublesome arrangements in current design practice. Experience on the
Carolina coast shows flashing to be the more usual failure.
The most satisfactory fix is to expose the material intended to be
water proof; check integrity of the membrane and flashing; check slope
and drainage arrangements; work out a solution to the problems found;
rebuild as determined by exploration.
A forensic engineer or architect would be most useful.
While we're on the topic...
I designed a house with a second floor covered deck over the kitchen.
EPDM membrane, floating sleepers, composite decking. What did the
contractor, a longtime friend of the owner, do? Omitted the sleepers
and screwed the decking down through the membrane. Hoo boy. Hundreds
of holes in what is supposed to be a waterproof membrane. He said,
"Don't worry. I'll squirt some silicone caulk in the predrilled
decking holes before screwing it down." I told the owner it's not a
question of if it will leak, but when, and you won't know until the
water reaches the kitchen ceiling. By that time you'll have some
serious rot. I'm also a long time friend of the owner and unfotunately
won't have the usual pleasure of telling him, "I told you so."
It amazes me that people think they can cut corners and still beat
membrane under the tile. We put sealer on a concrete deck, second
story, to keep painted ceiling below from peeling (outdoors). Sealer
and caulking the expansion joints fixed our problem.
If it was originally a flat roof system that somebody put tile on, you
may need new roof.
Sorry, I'm slightly confused here. Are you saying that the deck is
built directly on the roof of the kitchen? And then saying that the
kitchen ceiling is now leaking? If that is the case you have more
serious issues than just a leaky deck. If it was built that way (why
would they do something so silly?) then you are probably looking at
replacing the roof and then building a new deck on top of it. The roof
and the deck need to be built seperately, not as one. There should be
an air gap between the roof surface and deck to allow for air movement
and good drainage of water. If this isn't done, you will at the very
least, get a rot problem.
I started this reply first thing this morning but got busy on other
IMO the reason no one wants to do it is.....they touch (try to fix
it)....the own it when the fix doesn't work :(
With so much other (easier) work to do why take on a problem?
The good news is that since you're in SoCal (IE) you really don't have
all that much rain to deal with.
The problem is really "designed in"......I've got a small deck that is
partially above a downstairs room.
It's a wooden deck with a membrane roof below the deck boards, over
the years (~10) dirt & dust has filtered through the deck boards such
that now I have enough debris in there that the water is slow to clear.
As long as water clears ok......no leaks. If the rain is heavy or
slow to clear I get an occasional leak into the ceiling below (twice in
the last 5 years).
I cannot convince my wife that I need to un-screw the deck boards to
clean out the debris & check the condition of the membrane roof. I
guess I'll have to wait until I get a major leak into the downstairs
In your situation it could be....bad substruture slope (do you have any
pooling of water?) , a failure (or lack) of the water proofing
IMO the only way to guarantee success is to (if possible) take it back
down to the framing elements & re-build it from there.
An outdoor "waterproof" tiled deck is kinda like the floor of a shower
stall; you need a waterproofing membrane, a "wear surface" & a "drain"
a place / direction for the water to go.
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