Dealing with contractors and invasive water

Dealing with contractors and invasive water
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Persistent deck leaking

Hi Robert, 

I am on a Board of Directors at an HOA. We had our decks redone two years ago and we still suffer from persistent leaking to several of the units. 

The contractor that redid the decks says that his work is sound and not the source of leaking, but we don’t have any other possible sources to look at and don’t know how to prove that this is the issue. 

What can we do to ensure that we are getting 100% accurate information to fight with against this contractor? 

It looks like we may have to start talking about the Contractor’s Board, but we for sure want to be well armed with accurate information before we officially complain against him.  

— Richard H.

Richard, 

While looking at the photos you provided me, what sticks out initially is that the decking material has been rolled up over the bottom of the stucco. 

What that did, because the decking system is water proof, is it has encapsulated the water that has traveled through the stucco (remember stucco is porous, it’s the paper that keeps the water out) and down the paper, to underneath this waterproofing and onto the deck/into the units. 

What should happen is that the waterproofing should go on, 10–12 inches of stucco should have been broken out at the bottom, there should have been wall-to-deck flashing installed. 

A weep screed (a flashing detail) should then be installed so that it directs that water away from the building and onto the waterproofed deck, and eventually to a drain of some sort. 

Any water intrusion that you’re experiencing, like what I see on the photos of the interior, is due to this improper installation of the decking system. 

Unfortunately, we see this very often, it’s incredibly poor work and causes folks like you undue headaches and expenses. 

I’d take this information to the contractor and try to work out a deal for repairs, noting that if it’s not made right then the Contractor’s Board will be contacted. 

Normally, when you mention the Board, contractors will rise and do the right thing so I’d give this a try first and then move on to the next step if needed. Good luck.

Pool overflow with rains

Dear Robert,

I live in Stevenson Ranch and had a pool put in many years ago. Every time it rains, if I don’t stick a pump into my pool to drain it as it rains, it eventually makes its way into our family room. 

We are beside ourselves with frustration and thankful that it doesn’t rain more, but we need a permanent fix. I went online and see that there is a way to put an overflow drain into a pool, but this is normally done when the pool is being built. Now that we are after the fact, I wonder if this is even remotely possible to have done, are you able to guide us? 

— Jared N.

Jared, 

It is attainable. If you are handy, you will have to first locate an area of the pool where there is a deck drain nearby, because you’ll be tying into that deck drain. Remove the coping in this area, which is the stone along the edge of the pool, take about 8-12 inches wide. 

You’ll have to purchase your overflow drain — this is a piece of PVC which is about 4-5 inches wide and stands probably about an inch high. It’s flat and then turns into a regular piece of PVC drainpipe. 

This regular end will be what you tie into the deck drain system. 

Now comes the bigger part of the job, the saw cutting of the concrete. 

The concrete will need to be saw cut from the decking edge of the pool to the drain, so that you can dig down to lay the pipe that you’ll tie into the drain. 

You’ll saw cut the bond beam, which is the gunnite/plaster area, to fit this overflow drain. 

Before you do this, plan it out so that the overflow pipe is about an inch above your water line, so that the water will find it’s way to this pipe and out to the area drain system. 

Now, lay the overflow down and tie in all of the pipes together. 

Compact the soil well and pour your new concrete, setting your coping back down. 

Your coping tile inside the pool can be replaced if salvageable, if not then try to choose an area that is not as visible so if you need to choose a close tile then it isn’t such a big eyesore. 

This is quite the project but doable if you take your time and are somewhat knowledgeable on these scopes. 

Reach back out to me if you need additional information, and good luck to you.

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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