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Unread 01-07-2021, 04:18 PM   #1
Undr_prsr
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Contractor Check - Exterior Balcony Tile Install

Greetings all,

Homeowner, weekend warrior, avid reader of things here. I am new to post but have been a reader for sometime now. Happy New Year!

The Job:
So, I have a Stucco contractor who will also as part of the job, redo my exterior balcony on the second floor of a 3 story house where above the balcony is under the third floor. Getting to the point...

What I have:
I have 1-1/4 T&G Heavy grade Subfloor, on 16" center truss system, mortar bed install with paper, lathe and a 1/4 tar membrane under the mortar bed with 4x4 porcelain tile.

Some redflags came up when discussing with contractor. Hence im here.

What was Proposed:
They want to cutout the subfloor, install 3/4" subfloor, use cement board (like Hardi Backer from Homedepot) and slope it afterwards. Cement board manufacturers say cement board is not for exterior baclony applications. (that is them, as I find now it is done a lot). They do not know the sloping requirements which also concerned me.

Should I be concerned:
The original install is 20 years old... should I have any concerns? is this the right way to do it? I feel like replacing a 1-1/4 to 3/4 is going backwards along with not installing a mortar bed.

Thank you for your kind replies.
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Unread 01-07-2021, 04:38 PM   #2
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is it leaking? tiles popping off? can you see the subfloor from below?
They want to take off the mortar bed and tile and subfloor and add new subfloor? They want to do it like they are used to doing inside?
Slope should be 1/4"/foot min. so 10'deck should have a mudbed that starts at 1" and goes up to 3.5".
It is important that the stucco drainage plane empties out on the Deck.
Its also important that no water can get between the wall and deck which then could damage the wood structure.
It is actually quite complicated at this Junction but super important. Do you get driving rain? You also need a good drip edge properly installed.
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Unread 01-07-2021, 04:41 PM   #3
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Welcome, Jay.

This is a project for which you really, really need to put a geographic location into your User Profile.

Photos will also be helpful.

Before I respond further, we need to know what is below the deck.

1. Is it occupied space?

2. Is there a finished ceiling below the deck?

First order of business is the use of CBU over exterior framing that is not properly sloped to drain. Nobody's gonna go for that.

And the CBU manufacturers who do not recommend their product for exterior use are very serious about that. There are CBU manufacturers who do recommend their product for exterior horizontal applications, which may be what you're seeing. Others may allow only vertical exterior applications and then only in certain climate zones.

Let's start with that.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 10:38 AM   #4
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Find another contractor. Per amount of them installed, nothing fails more than tile decks.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 11:00 AM   #5
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Thank you everyone. Not it is not leaking. Had stucco damage and it rotted wood in spots near runoff. The balcony is getting redone as a result of poor sealing near the corners which damage a lot of framing and subflooring near the edge of the balcony. Instead of doing a patch job, they will redo the entire balcony.

The location is Houston, TX. No tiles were popping off. Subfloor will be new. They want to switch from 1-1/4 to 3/4 to give them a little more room to slope the deck. They then want to use CBU on top of 3/4 like an inside job. I agree about vertical installation of CBU and the red flag came from underpayment on the balcony floor.

Below deck is the same sized area on grade as a walk out small patio on concrete.

There is a cavity below the deck from the truss framing space. There is a stucco ceiling below, so yes a finished ceiling below.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 12:11 PM   #6
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Jay, you need to enter that geographic location into your User Profile or it will be lost before we leave this page.

Anything with a finished ceiling I'd treat as occupied space, but you can do that or not.

It's your joist system that needed to have been properly sloped to daylight in that application. Then a primary roofing waterproofing of some kind over the sheeting on top of the joists. Then a CBU or mud bed over that, again properly sloped, and a direct bonded waterproofing membrane over that before your ceramic tile installation. It all must be properly flashed to the building walls and down over the exposed edges. Provisions must be made for any penetrations of the top waterproofing for railing support posts and similar protrusions.

There is one waterproofing membrane, and only one as far as I know, that can be used on top of your sloped mud bed or CBU as the only waterproofing membrane over occupied space and that is Noble Company's Noble Deck. It would be my first choice in your application regardless what was under my exterior deck. That would be especially true if my deck framing had not been properly constructed with the required slope away from the structure and the only waterproofing method available were creating a sloped mud bed on top of the level deck structure.

Not sure what purpose the CBU would serve in your application since you will need a mud bed to provide proper slope anyway.

I would want to evaluate the entire design and structure of the deck before moving forward. When Dave (above) says that tiled decks are high failure candidates, he's speaking not only of the tile installation, but the deck structure, too. There's a tremendous liability issue that goes with construction of exterior decks and now that you've elected to change and repair yours, you are now completely responsible for it going forward.

I think it would be a real good idea to talk with your local code compliance jurisdiction before you make any commitments.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 01:06 PM   #7
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I have a similar deck. I sloped the I joists at over 1/4" per foot.. its 14x 28.
I Put up the ledger board and had the stucco guys put a flashing on at the right height so I could slide my 3/4" plywood under and then I used tuflex rubber liquid coating.
No way would I put tile outside in this freezing climate.
Was your damage to the structure near the house? it is very hard to seal the deck junction if there is any leaking behind the stucco drainage plane.. mine was tyvex with thousands of staple holes. IT is now the self adhesive vycor envy house wrap and hardi because I am not a fan of stucco ever again. they are now using elastomeric urathane to seal up all the staples holding up stucco mesh. so my tufflex is on top of the flashing that is secured to my deck surface so it is sealed. Its worked ok for 17 years so far. So you need to somehow wrap that rubber sheet up the wall and behind the drainage barrier. how you protect that during stucco?
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Unread 01-08-2021, 01:40 PM   #8
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I tried to upload photos. I do not see them from last upload.

There was no damage near the home since those walls are tucked away under the above ceiling.

All the stucco, decking, framing, fleshing is being replaced.

I agree CBU is pointless here and a mud bed is better served for sloping. They want to Slope the decking first and then use CBU etc.

Another thing, the contractor wanted to add a 4" lip on the door to get more flashing or modify my truss members by lowering them 4". They want to do this for exposed flashing concerns. I mentioned them at the door to put a metal door pan flashing and flash on top of that to have flashing on flashing. they tried to say it is a code specification, but it is actually them being concerned about warranty.

What I really want is like-for-like. If a mud bed was there, put one back. if it was 1-1/4 use that also.

Also they did not pull a permit.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 02:11 PM   #9
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Do you guys ever use these in practice? Which one would be better suited.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 02:13 PM   #10
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ok I see you need to decide quickly. When I researched my deck I did read that some people shimmed a slope on top of the joists using a tapered board. but your joists run the wrong way. You could still uses sloped boards on top but it would be to high. you also have a door height that is a elevation you should be under at least an inch which looks hard to do.
Can you take a level and measure from bottom of door to the joists? what is the measurement out from the house? how do they propose the get a new drainage plane membrane, tyvex or the like under the old drainage plane.? with all the staples and nails its hard to tear out and save the old drainage plane membrane but its a must you don't want water coming down the wall and getting behind the new tyvex and then onto your plywood
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Unread 01-08-2021, 02:16 PM   #11
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They will tyvex the stucco wall and follow the standard stucco application and use a weep at the intersection between deck floor and stucco wall. other answers coming.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 02:27 PM   #12
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But the tyvex needs to go under the old tarpaper. But like history tells me the water gets behind tar paper or tyvex because of all the staples holding it up and all the stucco metal staples. In my picture I see sign of water in blue. This corner in red requires a PHD in flashing as well as a guy skilled with soldering with a big old timer iron. The other end house to deck flashing is fairly complicated but if a guy can't do this your in trouble. The yellow is important to decide what sloped you can do. I see why they want to use 3/4"
Also my mind is blank on how to make the metal post waterproof.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 02:32 PM   #13
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They do make some modern stretchy window flashing that may be good to use. Also some aluminum metal that stretches and conforms. Both are easily damaged.
https://youtu.be/FSY12oovX0U

Your deck looks to be 4' so you need 1" slope with a minimum of 3/4-1" at low side so 2" at high side plus 3/4" subtract 1/4" for the foot from high side door to wall add in membrane and thinset and tile say 5/8". So I hope you have 3 1/8" from door to joists to work with and that would be flush.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 02:45 PM   #14
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Here is my quick sketch of flashing for the red area.

It looks like you could cut off those outer 3 support joists and build in a slope. I think this is important because flat plywood is asking for trouble.
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Unread 01-08-2021, 03:08 PM   #15
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There is definitely not 4” to work with. Adding a lip on the door and modifying the trusses is out

The framing water damage will all be replaced like-for-like. Non issue IMO. The water damage FYI was because the flashing was not done well and there was a gap between the home and deck that allowed water.

Flashing flashing flashing...very important.

The city structural engineer said for the door, install a fabricated metal pan to have flashing and flashing in that area to protect it. He also said that since he nor anybody does not know why 1-1/4” was specified on the deck surface, that if it was his house he would do like-for-like.
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