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Deck Maintenance 101: for homeowners and HOAs

deck repair

Who Are We?
WICR Waterproofing & Decking has been specializing in Waterproofing for over 34 years. We are trained and certified by all the major waterproofing systems manufacturers. We have 4 offices: Palm Springs, Orange County, San Diego, and Los Angeles, which enables us to serve all of Southern California.

What Is Waterproofing?
When a deck, walkway, or stairway connects to a building, a comprehensive waterproofing system must be installed to keep water from penetrating the supporting beams, as well as the building’s structural beams. If the supporting or structural beams are exposed to water, the ensuing wood rot and/or mold can lead to very expensive repair costs. Since decks hold weight, rotted beams are an important safety concern.

Why Is Waterproofing Maintenance So Important?
Waterproof decks may look fine on the exterior, but if even a small amount water gets below the surface, mold and wood rot may destroy the deck from the inside, and make an environment for termites. By the time you see the damage, it’s a major repair. Getting regular inspections every 3-4 years, and repairing any small cracks or exposed metal, can keep your costs and liability down, and extend the life of your deck indefinitely.


Waterproofing Maintenance is Being Written Into the Law
The 2015 Berkeley Deck Collapse sparked the need for Senate Bill 721. Decks, walkways and stairs must be inspected at least every 6 years, to prevent injury or death. Property owners may be fined a daily civil penalty of $100/day, which can result in a lien.

When Deck Maintenance is the HOA’s Responsibility
It’s easy when balcony decks are the HOA’s responsibility to maintain: just schedule the inspections, have any necessary work done, and document everything. If Senate Bill 721 passes, it will require deck maintenance to be part of every HOAs reserve study.

When Deck Maintenance is the Homeowner’s Responsibility
When deck maintenance is up to the individual unit owners, the best thing to do is have the HOA coordinate a date range with the contractor as to when decks will be done, then have owners schedule the work within that time frame. Most waterproofing companies will offer a significant discount if all decks can be done during the same time period, when their workers are already at the property, and materials can be ordered in bulk.

The Longer You Wait, the Higher the Repair Costs
Let’s compare waterproofing to getting your oil changed in your vehicle. If you change your oil every 3,000 miles, it will cost around $45. If you wait years, engine parts will wear down from friction, and replacing an engine may cost upwards of $5,000.

It’s the same with decks. If you inspect every 3-4 years and catch any small cracks, ponding or exposed metal, your costs will be very low. This is also the time to reseal the top coat, to prevent cracking and water penetration. If you wait for the deck to leak, rot, or need complete replacement, your cost will be significantly higher.