Reading through it, it stated the requirements the owner must perform to maintain a limited coating system warranty with the manufacturer.
Not surprisingly it states requirements for cleaning, repairs to damage and periodic replacement of the top coat. Another requirement is inspections of the coating.
Bill Leys of Central Coast Waterproofing shares his experience with dealing with defective product and installation of waterproofing membranes on condominium developments.
OK, I thought to myself that seems reasonable, decks should be checked occasionally.
Continuing to read down the instructions, I then came to the Inspections section, which is where I got quite a jolt. I strongly agree (admittedly, it’s in my interests, but it is also in an Association’s best interests) with their statement “Inspections provide a basis for proper maintenance to ensure the life expectancy of the …coating system.”
Then came the whammy - and I quote directly from this manufacturer’s Technical Bulletin;
Looking at the fine print in the footnotes for #1, the monthly inspections, it requires a written inspection log indicating times and dates of inspections and to identify the employee performing the inspection.
Footnote #2, for the semi-annual inspection (hold onto your chair!) then says, “Photograph or videotape the deck coating system and provide copy to manufacturer within twenty days of inspection.”
An Association reading this should feel like Mike Tyson just delivered a full body shot to the abdomen!
The requirements placed on the owner of this deck system, combined with the limited warranty, make it extremely unlikely that you will collect one dime from a manufacturer, without spending a fortune on Attorney’s fee’s.
The Sun burned this urethane deck over several years. Reapplying sealer as directed would have prevented this from occurring.
Another requirement of deck coating manufacturers and many installers that will void your warranty is allowing the failure of contiguous building materials to occur.
That is to say, if the wood siding on the wall next to the deck fails and allows water intrusion, water can migrate under the deck coating, into the framing and substrate.
The deck will be slowly damaged by hidden water intrusion, and manufacturers aren’t about to let themselves be held responsible for that. Maintenance and repairs to contiguous materials are essential to maintaining your deck warranty.
The effect of these types of maintenance and warranty requirements will probably be that few if any suits will be filed against manufacturers.
Installers will (and need to be) held to higher standards for following installation instructions exactly and to fully disclose all their terms, warranties and maintenance agreements up front as part of their bid package.
Third party consultants and inspectors will see an increase in business as new Associations are built and require inspection services to maintain their warranty.
Attorneys for manufacturers will end up with plenty of business writing tighter warranties and maintenance requirements, generating even more business for consultants and inspectors.