5 Tips to Prevent a Leaky Vinyl Deck
Ah summer – perfect for enjoying a nice afternoon out on your vinyl deck with friends and family. The problem is, few people think about their vinyl decks in the rainy months, or when the snow is melting – which can lead to the nasty surprise of a leaky deck once it becomes time to get outside.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to keep up with maintenance of a vinyl deck or to prevent leaks from occurring. Here are Tuff Industries’ top tips to keep your vinyl deck in tip-top shape:
Tip One: Keep it in Prime Condition
Regardless of deck material, the underlying structure composition, or the railing material, all deck and building materials have a lifespan. Of course, there are ways to extend the lifespan so you get more out of your vinyl deck.
The first key is regular maintenance to clear debris and keep the surface clean – at least twice per year in the fall and spring.
Tip Two: Ensure Proper Water Drainage off Vinyl Decks
For decks above a main floor, it’s vital that water is drained away correctly to avoid causing water damage to the structure underneath. Check that your vinyl deck is sloping water away from the structure, and ensure that drained water is leading away from your home. Standing water on your vinyl deck is not a good thing – it provides the opportunity for water to find its way under the vinyl membrane or into the building envelope.
Tip Three: Correct Vinyl Membrane Installation is Key
If you have any doubt as to whether a vinyl decking surface was installed correctly, have it checked out immediately. The quality of vinyl membrane as well as installation practices has changed over the years, meaning older decks might not meet building codes. Buying a home with an existing vinyl deck should rate an inspection – the last thing you want is to find that it’s leaking or could leak in the near future.
Tip Four: Check the Details
Vinyl decks and vinyl roof decks commonly fail in one of several places. First is in the corners where you’ll find the support posts for the vinyl deck railing. Second is around the door area, and third is where the seams of the vinyl membrane join together. Here are a few things to check:
- The “skin” of the vinyl deck surface goes up the railing and is correctly sealed
- All caulking around the door area is in good condition
- The seams are not lifting or bubbling (note that this is not commonly an issue with vinyl-backed decking but can be with fuzzy/fabric-backed decking)
Some issues can be resolved with a little TLC, without having to replace the whole deck, but an inspection could find further issues.
Tip Five: Replace Vinyl Decking Early
At the first sign of a leak, or risk of a leak, you should immediately start planning to replace your vinyl deck surface. Obviously, it’s less of a concern in the summer months when there is less rain (unless you live in Vancouver or Seattle) – but you should definitely get a replacement before the coming fall. Contact a Tufdek™ vinyl deck professional to get the ball rolling.