Water Damage: Your Vinyl Deck’s Worst Nightmare
But wait, you say, I have a waterproof decking covering my vinyl deck, so I’m okay, right? Unfortunately, since a vinyl membrane covers your entire deck your deck could be suffering from water damage without you knowing – meaning the damage could be that much worse once it’s discovered. Follow Tuff Industries’ tips to find and fix water damage on your vinyl deck.
Water flows downhill (haha, right?) so most of the time you can simply follow the path water takes when it rains (or use a hose to imitate the same). However, wind can also play a factor, pushing water against gravity and into places you wouldn’t expect – so it’s a good idea to take a look the next time you have a rainstorm that includes wind.
Once you’ve identified where water comes from and where it goes, you can ensure that it is being removed from the surface quickly and correctly, as you don’t want it to linger.
Protection the Key for Long-Lasting Vinyl Decks
Your home is protected from water damage in a few different ways. You have a roofing surface that directs water of your home and into gutters, which direct the water away from your home. You also have siding on your home to keep water away from the walls of your home, and underneath you have some type of waterproof barrier. Decks are similar and they also make use of these waterproofing methods that already are implemented – as long as the deck is installed correctly.
Your deck ledger is the board that attaches the deck itself to the home. In this area, you have no siding, so it’s important that above the ledge you are ensuring that water can’t run under or around the deck ledger or it will rot. In most cases flashing is used to run up underneath the siding and under the vinyl deck’s surface to create a waterproof barrier.
Next Comes the Vinyl Deck’s Surface
The primary advantage of vinyl decking is that it creates a waterproof barrier between the water on your deck and the wood surface underneath. Unlike wood decks, this means you don’t need to conduct annual maintenance to stain or seal the deck, or worry much about the wood underneath your deck (posts and beams) as long as the vinyl deck surface has been installed correctly.
Edging your Deck
Another area where water can potential cause problems is the edge of your deck. Water can, and will, roll down the edge of your deck and can end up underneath – even rolling under the deck surface itself, if allowed. Tufdeck™-installed products manage to avoid this issue by often installing flashing underneath the deck membrane to create a beveled edge that water can drip off of.
Posts on Vinyl Deck Surfaces
One of the most common areas of water damage on older vinyl decks is where the vinyl membrane meets a post. Unfortunately, prior building codes (and unscrupulous builders) didn’t pay much attention to the need for waterproofing around posts, which often leads to water running down the post and under the deck surface. Over time this can lead to significant water damage; reducing the structural integrity of the post as well as potentially allowing the deck boards underneath the surface to rot and become unsafe.
Again, newer waterproof vinyl surfaces can help protect posts and the underlying structure. By wrapping the bottom section of the post with vinyl membrane and using flashing when necessary, vinyl deck owners can ensure that the post and deck boards remain dry for the long term.
Replace, Repair, Restore Older Decks
With DIY vinyl decking, there can be a temptation to simply rip up the old vinyl surface and slap a new vinyl membrane on top, assuming that it will offer waterproof protection to the substructure. While this is true, it won’t help if the substructure already has water damage which has led to a deterioration of the integrity of the underlying beams and posts.
While the deck surface is removed, older decks should be thoroughly examined to ensure that any damaged areas are repaired or replaced, and that and areas where water may penetrate to reach that area of the deck is fixed so the same issue cannot occur again.
Waterproof Decking to Increase Safety
By installing a waterproof deck surface you are increasing the safety of your deck. A waterproof membrane, by preventing water from accessing the underlying structure, can and will keep your deck in top condition longer. This means you’ll never have to worry about rotting boards or structurally unsound supports. Installed correctly, a vinyl deck membrane can extend the lifespan of your deck and ensure that everything is watertight.
In addition, for older decks a vinyl decking replacement is a great time to examine the safety of your deck. Older building codes aren’t as stringent as newer codes when it comes to decks, meaning that your older deck might have used nails where lag bolts or screws are now necessary. By bringing your deck up to code you can ensure long-term safety.
Professional Help Makes a Difference
Before embarking on a quest to ensure that you deck is protected from water damage, get a professional opinion. Today’s deck contractors know the ins and outs of deck building codes, as well as the best way to approach your project to minimize costs. Using a professional vinyl deck installer can help to ensure that your deck is completed to your satisfaction, adheres to warranty specifications, and is protected from water damage for many years to come.