matt Mclure interview - duradek builder

Q: When did you become involved in deck building and the construction business in general?

A: Like a lot of homeowners I have been involved in DIY projects from simple back yard projects to home additions. It was about 5 years ago that I chose to make it my full time profession and have loved every minute of it.

Q: How did you become connected with Duradek?

A: It was a friend of mine in Colorado that originally told me about Duradek. A contractor friend of his was installing it. The friend mentioned how good the product was and what a great company Duradek was to work with. So I called Duradek and started making inquiries.

Q: What kind of training program did you go through?

A: That's one of the things that attracted me to Duradek. Before we could really get anything going we were required to go through their basic training course. It is a two day program that includes quite a bit of hands on work as well as some marketing support.

It was heavily focused on ensuring that we knew how to perform their waterproofing details. I also got to know the key individuals that we would be working with and that made a big difference.

Q: What are the critical areas of installing a waterproof vinyl deck?

A: Well, like the Duradek slogan “It is all in the details”. Everyone in the industry would agree that a vinyl membrane is the best option for waterproofing. The intricate details are where you only want a true trained professional involved. Inside and outside corners, posts, drains, thresholds etc.

These are where an inexperienced person is most likely to make a mistake. Waterproofing is not a good Do-It-Yourself task.

Q: What do you think when hear stories of people trying to buy material and tools and do their own vinyl deck installation for the first time?

A: Unfortunately I hear that too often. I think the common misconception is they think you just roll it out and glue it down and your done. A professional in any construction discipline can make their specific jobs look easy.

But I can tell you there is more to installing waterproofing membrane than that. The tools involved are very expensive and can destroy the waterproofing membrane when in the wrong hands.

They also don’t take into consideration all the details they will face on their decks. It is easy to think your saving a buck or two until there is a failure and it costs you ten fold or more what you thought you saved. And the D-I-Y warranty, that’s you, doesn’t amount to much.

Q: How does the vinyl decking material handle the heat and the cold?

A: The membrane will expand and contract with the substrate. There is no cracking or peeling like you usually find with some coatings. It is outstanding in the cold like here where we get some heavy snow fall. Shovel it with a plastic shovel, use rock salt or ice melting chemicals as needed.

Q: Does the surface ever get too hot to walk on?

A: It would be comparable to a redwood deck. typically about 10 - 15% warmer than the temperature outside when exposed the direct sunlight.

Q: Have you ever seen the vinyl peeling off of the drip edge? What do you do to stop that?

A: Putting vinyl down a drip edge is only one way to finish the edges off. Vinyl peeling off the drip edge is usually a sign of a short cut in finishing. The way we finish this detail does not allow the vinyl to peel back. But by far, the majority of our work is heat welded directly to a PVC coated drip edge so there is no vinyl to peel back. We have a few attract methods of finishing off the deck perimeter edges.

Q: What kind of surface preparation is involved before installing a deck membrane?

A: I have learned a good framer is our best friend. Quality ¾” T&G plywood with a minimal gap at the seams makes the preparation very easy. We have a “technical bulletin” that gives the carpenter easy instructions on what’s best for us to install on.

Preferably ACX but we can use a CD grade plywood and fill the voids with filler. We may be doing a roof but we think of it as a floor so the surface needs to be smooth with no bumps or dips.

Q: What are the thicknesses of the material and how long would a properly installed deck last?

A: We install 40-45 and 60 mil products. The 60 mil product is required over living space. Here in our area with the climate issues etc even a southern facing exposure will be waterproof for up to 20 years. The 45 mil product can also last a considerable amount of time, 10 – 15 years.

Q: What are the warranties like, for the material, your workmanship?

A: The Duradek waterproofing warranty is for five years on the 40-45 mil and ten years on the 60 mil. Labour warranties are typically 1 to 5 years.

Q: Now I have always known that installing a waterproof deck tile job is a very demanding thing. In fact I have never really heard of one working properly and not end up leaking somehow until I heard from you and the Tiledek product introduced by Duradek. Tell me a little bit about the Tiledek product.

A: Tiledek was developed to resolve the very issues that you are referencing. Duradek has been the industry leader for decades when it comes to waterproofing over living space.

So when a solution was needed for outdoor tile applications Duradek was the obvious "go to" company to get involved. Working with others suppliers like Mapei and Schluter, the membrane was designed by using the same great process as the other Duradek membranes.

But Tiledek has a fabric embedded in it designed specifically for the thinset to bond to. In the past it was left up to the tile setter to do the waterproofing and I am sure they did their best researching for a product that would work, but they failed too often.

The answer is not in an individual product, but a tested proven system or assembly. Tiledek achieved a residential or heavy rating (Robinson testing) depending upon the system used.

Q: Could you tell me a little bit about how you managed to get the job at the old Veteran's Hospital in the Avenues area of downtown Salt Lake City?

A: That was the easy part. Building Craft Construction had already been doing work with the Tiledek membrane, so when this opportunity came up it was natural to get us involved.

Q: Tell my visitors how you broke this job down and the steps you took to make it perfect.

A: Again, that is one of the beauties of working with the Duradek products, there is nothing special to do. Proper slope, appropriate water management and product compatibility are the focus for us to achieve a long lasting waterproof tile surface. As the decks were being constructed we simply inspect the work continuously through completion.

As an example lets say the plywood was not T&G. Then we would insist the seams were braced before moving along. Fixing these "little" things immediately is key.

Q: What was the toughest part of that job?

A: The only tough part we experienced was getting the other subs to keep up with us. It is amazing how quickly we can put down our material. Working with an experienced crew and inspecting ever step makes for a quick and painless installation.

Q: How did it stand up after its first winter?

A: Like a champ. The product looks exactly the same as it did when we installed it – just like brand new.

Q: I guess you are an old pro now when it comes to waterproof deck tiling jobs. How does a deck tiling job, using Tiledek as the base membrane, compare to other older construction techniques people might still be considering? I hope they are considering the Tiledek option very closely but with new products old habits die hard.

A: There is a disconnect when you use a tiled deck as roofing. The standards very specific when roofing, yet when using tile over top of the roofing, they are pretty vague. At best the assembly calls for a "roofing membrane", with no consideration of how the different products in the assembly will work together.

Duradek truly has taken the bull by the horns here and used all of the roofing knowledge and experience bringing it into the tile industry. I know of no other product that meets roofing code and standards for a walkable roof and was designed for tile to be set upon, fully warranted too. BUT TILEDEK DOES !!!

Q: Have you received any other contracts as a result of this job?

A: Not sure I can say that we have won another job specifically due to this one, but I can say that Tiledek is one of the most requested products.

Q: Is there anything else we didn't cover?

A: No, you were very thorough Richard, great questions.

Q: I want to send a big thank you from me and all of the million plus visitors to DecksGo,com for taking the time to talk to me today. I wish all the best for your business and your family.

A: Thank you.

Visit Matt to learn more if you are in the Salt Lake, UT area.

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