A particularly active rainy season usually results in a business boom for Central Coast Waterproofing. But it doesn’t always happen right away.
“It ends up causing me to gain work in about two years,” said owner Bill Leys. “Water gets into a building because of faulty flashing or a slow leak, and it doesn’t show up until a couple years later when something starts rotting and begins to physically fail.”
Leys doesn’t mean to induce panic, but instead preaches the virtues of proper maintenance. As he puts it: “It’s cheaper to maintain than it is to replace.”
Arroyo Grande’s Central Coast Waterproofing renovates, repairs and maintains waterproof decks, including balconies and rooftop decks (not to be confused with decks made of wood planks like redwood decking). Its specialty is waterproof deck coatings.
Education is a big part of Ley’s work. He imparts his expertise on his Web site, www.deckexpert.com,where you will find plenty of horror stories, but also tips on how to keep decks in good shape for years.
His simplest advice is to examine your deck at least twice a year. This involves checking to ensure that drains and scuppers are free from debris. Also, check for cracks, peeling, protruding nails, or rust on metal flashings. A simple repair now could forestall major repairs down the road.
For greater insurance, you can call out a professional like Leys every two years to conduct a more thorough inspection. This would be a good time to have your deck resealed as well.
“A lot of waterproof deck coatings require what is in essence sunblock — a pigmented sealer that protects the lower layers from degrading from the sun and the elements,” explained Leys. “When you fail to reseal, the deck sunburns, cracks and eventually there is a leak.”
Some types of deck sealers are simple enough to be applied by the homeowner. Others are only available to tradespeople because they require specialized application. It’s important to know the type of coating you have. The manufacturer will have specific requirements for what type of sealer to use and how often to use it.
“Using the wrong sealer can be worse than doing nothing at all,” Leys warned.
Another potential hazard is placing coverings on a deck, which can trap moisture and hasten decay. He cautions against using rubber mats or plastic outdoor carpeting that don’t allow air to circulate. Even woven rugs should be pulled up during the rainy season.
Unfortunately, tiling over a deck coating isn’t any better.
“Water gets underneath, sits and eventually finds the weakest spot and destroys the deck,” Leys said.
A safer alternative is having a company like Central Coast Waterproofing apply a decorative finish to your deck. This is typically done for new decks but can sometimes be applied to an existing coating. Leys can replicate nearly any material, including Spanish tile and flagstone.
“It’s only limited to what your imagination, and your budget, can handle,” he said.