Another standing water on my deck thread


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Old 04-19-14, 11:17 AM
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Another standing water on my deck thread

This is a two part problem. I appreciate any input.

First, my story.

When I had a new deck built (4 years) ago, the crew messed up, building the deck lower than my specifications. We worked out a compromise. And the deck height remained. With the deck height I specified, there was just a few inches of clearance under the deck. But there was clearance. With the new height, all of the joists were in dirt. In other words, the only ventilation would be between the deck timbers. The builder assured me this would not cause unusual moisture buildup under the deck. Unfortunately, there's little (or no) spacing between the deck timbers.

So, I have a deck with no below joist ventilation AND water pooling on the surface. The builder said the pooling is just a Winter issue and nothing to be concerned about. Below is a picture showing the problem. It was taken today.

I suspect the builder just screwed up and will tell me anything to avoid fixing the problem. I am posting here to ask if anyone agrees with the builder's position.

Or more importantly, what I should do to remedy these problems.

Two sidebar points - the builder has a 5 year warranty on the deck and I have e-mail correspondence documenting his claims about moisture issues.
 
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Old 04-19-14, 12:19 PM
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Standing water is a result of ambient temperatures and sunlight on evaporations. Lack of air movement under the deck can play havoc on the framing members, but has little effect on moisture on the deck itself. Sometimes, the sealer used on the deck causes the pooling effect. Kind of like water beads on a newly waxed car. But I am skeptical that the height of the deck has anything to do with it.
 
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Old 04-19-14, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for your response.

I'm not sure how it has any relevance to my concerns.

Standing water (in this case) is due to no space between the deck timbers and that there no slope to allow drainage. Is this commonplace?

The pooling effect I'm talking about is unrelated to water beading. Look at the picture. It shows a five foot wide pond.

My concern about moisture stems from the fact that the only way for it to escape from underneath the deck is through the (tiny) cracks in the deck surface.

And yes, deck height is a factor... to my concern about moisture under the deck.
 
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Old 04-19-14, 01:35 PM
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I have a very similar problem on my deck that I built, but that's because I'm the only guy on the planet who built one and the decking didn't shrink like everybody said it would.

Just to be clear though, are you saying that your joists are fully or partially buried in dirt underneath there? I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing to have them in contact with ground.
 
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Old 04-19-14, 03:31 PM
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The lack of spacing between the decking is a minor issue, the fact that the joists are in contact with the dirt is a major issue! The framing will fail sooner or later, what was the compromise worked out with the builder? Has this been an ongoing struggle to get him to remedy the problems or have you let it slide until now?
 
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Old 04-19-14, 03:45 PM
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Short term you could run a circular saw down the joint between the boards but ultimately this deck needs to go and be replaced with a patio.
 
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Old 04-19-14, 04:14 PM
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All of the joists are touching dirt, end to end. Below the decking are 10 long boxes, with no places for water to drain out.

The deck was supposed to be 6 inches higher.

The compromise was I got him to add some features to the screen porch he was also building. This compromise was done only after he assured me I would not have water/moisture issues.

I've been pressing this issue, on and off, for the three years.

Marks said the spacing is a minor issue. Could you elaborate?

To me, it seems like any water that does get down through the cracks will be nearly impossible to get out. I've previously had mold issues that required expert removal. Perhaps I'm hyper-sensitive. In researching this problem, I've not found anyone saying it's normal... and nothing to be concerned about.
 
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Old 04-19-14, 04:40 PM
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Unless your soil does not perk, water that gets under will drain out through the soil, not by evaporation. Does the rest of your yard have standing water for days after it rains? That water perks through the soil and eventually joins the water table somewhere in the lands of never seen.

Normal PT Framing lumber is not rated for ground contact. Support Lumber 4x4's, 6x6's have a higher concentration of preserving fluids in them and can withstand long term ground exposure.

I would remove every 3rd board or so and run them down a table saw and take a blade off. It will allow the water to drain off the deck. But even if the deck were wide open, the lumber touching the ground is still the issue.
 
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Old 04-19-14, 05:07 PM
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Thanks for the clarification.

The soil is red clay. It doesn't typically drain well.
 
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Old 04-20-14, 04:11 AM
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While you don't want standing water on the deck it will go away with sun and wind. It will likely shorten the life of any stain applied to the decking. Moisture under the deck will take longer to dissipate [with no ventilation] and the moisture will cause the framing to rot. As Z stated, most PT framing lumber isn't rated for ground contact so the framing has 2 major things going against it.
 
 

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