Robert Lamoureux: Classic errors with decking and stucco



I live in Canyon Country, and I’m on the Board of Directors.

Several years ago, we had several decks, over a dozen, redone and in the last winter they started leaking. Of course the contractor that the previous board hired is no longer around, and I’ve read enough of your stories to know that this is common, and that we’ve got problems.

I attached pictures and you can see that there is failure, showing that the top layers are peeling off. I’m getting an array of answers as to what to do with this, and I’d like your input, please. I need guidance as to who to hire — one guy is expensive and saying that the flashing detail is in need of being replaced.

We got five bids, they’re all different and I just don’t know where to turn.

Can you help?

Peter E.


The systems are not very complicated.

The photos aren’t clear enough for me to accurately determine the system that is in place here, it could be one of several different types. Based on what I can see, this will be a complete tear off of the decking system all the way down to the sub-floor.

You can never mate a decking system directly with stucco as they’ve done here, this is why it is lifting and coming apart. There is a missing detail that is very important, also. There is a need for a wall to deck flashing detail, this will direct any water going down the wall, away from the structure. What was done here is that they took the decking system and rolled it up the stucco. This is a classic error that is made, and every time I see it done, there are water intrusion issues.

The seam that is created is a welcome mat for water to enter. Water will always take the path of least resistance so what should happen is that it should roll down the wall and be directed over the wall to deck flashing and weep screed, and away from the structure onto the deck where it either rolls off or there is drainage that it enters to be directed through the drain system. You’ll spend plenty of money redoing these decks but it will be far less than the expense of remediating water damage and repairing damaged units. I encourage you to go with the contractor that is proposing these repairs and who is both licensed and insured.

Like I said, I see this all of the time because Boards are eager to get the least expensive work done but often this is the outcome and it ultimately ends up costing more to repair it. A good way to tackle a large scale project like this is to hire a professional to write an RFP which is a request for proposal. This is a request for specific repairs, and this is sent out for bid. Once you have bids back based on the RFP, have your professional look them over to determine that the bids are submitted based on the information requested. Once you know you are comparing apples to apples, then you can move forward and choose a contractor based on licensing, insurance and cost. Good luck with this project, and be sure that when you are complete, that you do your regular maintenance to the new decking system. Without regular maintenance then your warranty will be void and you could end up back in this situation, needing to redo them.


Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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