What Actually Is a Decking Specialist or Expert?

A question we get asked a lot from potential customers is, “What is a Decking Specialist or Expert and are you one?” We love this question!

In our service area of Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties, we have been the leader in waterproofing and deck reconstruction for over 30 years. We are a fully licensed general construction company and have highly trained employees, modern and dependable equipment and trucks.

We are the only company in our area that is licensed and trained to install the NCS GRANITE II system which is the most advanced waterproofing system available today. And we have hundreds of satisfied customers to prove it.

Okay. Back to the question…………

What You Should Know About a Decking Specialist

A decking specialist is typically referred to someone in the Industry with expertise in deck waterproofing coatings or assemblies. It is typically not someone who is a specialist with installing deck boards or applying paint or stain to a wood deck.

Decking specialists are individuals with companies who specialize in applications of these waterproof deck coatings and are usually surrounded by associates such as large manufacturers, structural engineers, architects, and builders.

The big difference between a decking "expert" or "specialist," and someone who self-promotes or portrays themselves as one, is usually based on confirmation from peers in the industry, success with difficult projects and client confidence from proven success history and overall track record of person or company in the industry completing or recommending the right product and application for a project.

As the Founder and President of DeckTech, Inc., I understand our Industry is very small with respect to many other trades within the construction venue. It is often overlooked by most consumers who typically contact a Roofing Contractor or General Contractor when an issue arises from a deck leak.

Understanding All Aspects of the Building Trade

A decking specialist is also an individual who is qualified to understand all aspects of the building trades related to waterproof deck coating installations. This requires licensing in General Construction for starters. Some companies do not have a general contractors license and can’t legally perform most of the required steps to reconstruct or fix most deck waterproofing problems. So that is the first step to see if the person or company is a true specialist or expert.

Example: We completed a deck failure project in Santa Barbara on several units due to slate decks with failure issues. As decking specialists, we are hired to assess project issues and resolve them. The decks have failed from improper stucco screed elevations, poor flashing details, deficient framing details, failure at waterproof deck coating membrane and deck drains. An individual who claims to be an "expert" or "decking specialist" who is not licensed in General Construction is not qualified nor do they have the required expertise to determine and identify all the issues related to existing deck failure. For this project, DeckTech, Inc had to retrofit deck framing to accommodate proper slope, install adequate flashing, correct deck coating, deck drains and rectify elevations with stucco screeds to ensure a guaranteed solution.

As you can see, the solution is not limited to just a waterproof deck coating assembly. This scope of work is typical with almost 75% of existing leaky decks. Potential consumers will want to find the right Decking Specialist that has the skills and expertise and licensing and have a good understanding of the dynamics involved addressing all issues to ensure work is completed correctly the first time.

A decking specialist must also understand and have experience in the limitations of all deck coating systems or assemblies and make the correct recommendation for each individual project needs.

For example: I am not a fan of the Desert-Crete or Life Deck wire lath and acrylic cement deck assemblies because of the many reasons I have commented in other articles on this site. However, each deck coating has a strength and a weakness and overall these manufacturers are Industry associates and help promote the deck coating industry in a very positive way.

Why Choose DeckTech, Inc.?

As industry leaders and decking specialists, we rely on our reputation and relationships with associates to filter work our way. For example, we are currently completing a project for Jack and Nancy Sullivan in San Luis Obispo, CA who have had chronic deck leaks from their balcony above. When the Sullivan’s called local roofing contractor Quaglino’s Roofing they came out and completed an inspection of the residence and noted issues with the Sullivans' roof but also recommended Sullivan’s contact DeckTech, Inc. to inspect and rectify the leaky deck issues. Another example is when Inland Pacific Builders or Specialty Construction Inc. has a challenging new project requiring deck coating assemblies to meet criteria specific to building needs they contact DeckTech, Inc. based off the long-term history, success and experience we can provide for them.

DeckTech, Inc will often use Life Deck or West Coat systems for rehabilitating existing deck coatings originally applied with the product. This approach is sensible and offers a very good solution too many clients who just need some TLC to existing deck coating and it can provide an affordable option.

There are other coating assemblies such as the Merkote Weather –Deck and the NCS-Granite II. The Weather-Deck finishes out smooth with a painted concrete surface and has been around for years. We often rehabilitate them, but they are soft due to this neoprene concrete utilized in assembly and prone to chips and punctures from furniture or underlying substrate nail heads. If we have several to complete minor repairs then we utilize a scope incorporated with Merkote products. If we have a complete failure where the old coating is removed and a new deck coating assembly must be installed, then I prefer the NCS-System due to the array of benefits this assembly brings to table which is also defined on our website.

In conclusion, a deck specialist should be someone with the qualifications backed and supported by Industry Associates (Not paid for articles to be published in trade magazines or sites promoted as an Expert), State or Government Agencies and past or present clientele who can confirm the decking specialist or company has successfully completed work and provided long-term solutions. A recognized decking specialist needs to understand and have experience completing several trades related to issues we see married to deck coatings. A decking specialist is one who has been in business or trade for several years with accountability and success confirmed by it piers.

If you are in need of a decking specialist or deck expert you can give us a call at 805-205-4498. No matter who you call make sure they can provide proof of their general construction license and give you references. Even us!

Ron McKenna

DeckTech, Inc. Founder/President

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