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Old 09-22-2012, 01:55 PM   #1
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Please help me fix my deck


Hello,
We bought a house last winter with a trex deck built on the back. The deck was constructed so that the slats fit together tightly and form a waterproof slab. The problem is we live in Colorado where we get a ton of snow! So the snow starts to melt, forms puddles, then freezes in a sheet overnight. Compounding the issue is the fact that the deck is pitched slightly towards the house, so we get water pooling against the back door. A second problem compounding the problem is the fact that the railing was built so close to the floor of the deck that you can't push snow under it. That leaves a small stairway on one side where we can slide snow off. It is all very inconvenient and it cant possibly be good for the house to have the water pooling against it (it must drain eventually?). Here are two pictures to help explain my problem:




I know I will have to remove part of the railing and cut the boards shorter so that we can shovel snow under the rail. But for the drainage I thought of something I have not heard of having been done. I was thinking that if we drilled drainage holes every 6 inches along the seams then it would allow the water to drain off the deck the way it should. I think it wouldn't be too noticeable, and I think they make decking with weep holes for that exact purpose. In fact I don't think you are supposed to have water tight decks in snowy places, are you? It seems to defeat the purpose of a deck.

Anyway I don't want to have to remove/rebuild the entire deck but it is impossible the way it is now. Does anybody have any better suggestions for the drainage issue?
Thank you for any advice!

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Old 09-22-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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Please help me fix my deck


If you don't want to remove the boards take a circular saw and rip your own space where it should be

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Old 09-22-2012, 07:22 PM   #3
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Please help me fix my deck


To keep it legal that bottom railing needs to be within 4" of the decks surface.

I know you do not want to hear it but the deck was built to high.
The deck should have been at least 4" below the doors threshold. SO water can not get in under it and you can still open the door when it snows.
And James Hardee should not be that close to the deck. If you go on the Hardee web site it will state that.
And the deck boards also should never have been run tight to the side of the house?
A waterproof membrane should have been installed on the wall before the ledger board went on. There also should have been at least a 3/4 thick spacer behind the ledger to allow drainage.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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Please help me fix my deck


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To keep it legal that bottom railing needs to be within 4" of the decks surface.

I know you do not want to hear it but the deck was built to high.
The deck should have been at least 4" below the doors threshold. SO water can not get in under it and you can still open the door when it snows.
And James Hardee should not be that close to the deck. If you go on the Hardee web site it will state that.
And the deck boards also should never have been run tight to the side of the house?
A waterproof membrane should have been installed on the wall before the ledger board went on. There also should have been at least a 3/4 thick spacer behind the ledger to allow drainage.
Well I am not surprised that it was built incorrectly. Is the James Hardee the siding? So basically you are saying we will need to pull it off and rebuild it correctly? If I drill holes will that at least get us through the winter? We just don't have time to rebuild the whole deck right now but next summer we will be able to. Also, these rails are only 1.75 inches off the deck. I have never seen a deck built like this in Colorado, its completely impractical.

Thank you for your help!

Last edited by JLiszka; 09-22-2012 at 08:06 PM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:12 PM   #5
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Please help me fix my deck


Drilling the holes will do no harm but I would drill them from blow the deck not from the top.
Reason being as your drilling the drill is going to try and pull the material out of the hole and is going to leave a burr that will act as a little mini dam around the hole.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:34 PM   #6
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Drilling the holes will do no harm but I would drill them from blow the deck not from the top.
Reason being as your drilling the drill is going to try and pull the material out of the hole and is going to leave a burr that will act as a little mini dam around the hole.
OK well I will try, its only about 18" off the ground.
Thank you for your help!
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
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Please help me fix my deck


If you do decide to to rebuild this deck look into how to build it so it's free standing, not attached to the house. Then there's 0 chance of any damage to the house.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:11 PM   #8
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Page 2, fig. 5; 2" to decking; http://www.jameshardie.com/pdf/insta...eplank-hz5.pdf

Did you try to clean the garbage from the gaps yet? Cutting/drilling will destroy the boards. To save from crawling under, drill a 1/2" hole first, then just start a 3/4" twist drill to chamfer the edges for drainage. I drill osb/ply with a spade bit for water drainage to crawlspace when framing, lean the top of the drill around in a circle while starting the hole (just when the spurs cuts), it cleans/bevels the edges, may work with trex too.

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Old 09-22-2012, 09:18 PM   #9
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Please help me fix my deck


You actually have Timbertech Florizon product on your deck, it is a T&G decking, if you RIP gaps into that decking you will have issues since it's not designed that way. IT does have weep holes HOWEVER it is likely that it was installed too tight for them to be effective. Realistically this product is not well thought out and not really a good product in this environment, we've torn out a number of these florizon decks. Better products to use in this environment are more traditional decking with typical gaps, we've had great success with Fiberon Horizon and Dura Life on our steel frame, for railings we often use powder coated steel like Fortress Iron FE26 or RDI Excalibur.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Compounding the issue is the fact that the deck is pitched slightly towards the house
This is what I see as your biggest problem that needs to be corrected.

It's likely very possible to lower the the deck to create positive drainage away from the house.

Anyone with a decent knowledge of framing should be able to do this.

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