"Birdbaths" in decking - is this normal?

Jacquelyn1215

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We had our decking poured and noticed water pooling after rain. Pointed this out to our BYOP rep who said it's fairly normal but to see if the trade doing our deck topping could mitigate it some by adding extra topping in those areas. Long story short, it didn't help at all. We still have puddling water in two different spots on our decking and one spot on a step. BYOP rep's response is that this is normal with decking.

Is this normal?? Should this be expected in the finished product?
 

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JoyfulNoise

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So they poured the concrete and it sagged a bit in those areas. So there’s a very minor shallow point and the water is pooling there. It happens with concrete pours - you do your absolute best to screed and level the concrete and not change the slope but it can sag after setting up as concrete remain pliable until it fully hardens which can take a day or two (curing is separate process). The concrete when poured follows the contour of the underlying base which is why base work and leveling is so extremely important.

It is NORMAL to see this but NOT OPTIMAL. Clearly it’s a visual flaw but there’s not much you can do about it unless you’re willing to do some demolition in that area which will likely only make it more of an eyesore …

Sorry, but this may be one of those “special blemishes” that you’ll have to learn to live with and, in all honesty, only you really care about. 99.9% of the people that walk around your deck will not even notice it.
 

Jacquelyn1215

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So they poured the concrete and it sagged a bit in those areas. So there’s a very minor shallow point and the water is pooling there. It happens with concrete pours - you do your absolute best to screed and level the concrete and not change the slope but it can sag after setting up as concrete remain pliable until it fully hardens which can take a day or two (curing is separate process). The concrete when poured follows the contour of the underlying base which is why base work and leveling is so extremely important.

It is NORMAL to see this but NOT OPTIMAL. Clearly it’s a visual flaw but there’s not much you can do about it unless you’re willing to do some demolition in that area which will likely only make it more of an eyesore …

Sorry, but this may be one of those “special blemishes” that you’ll have to learn to live with and, in all honesty, only you really care about. 99.9% of the people that walk around your deck will not even notice it.
Thanks - that's really what I was wondering and your explanation helped outline how this happens and why it's normal. By no means optimal, but good to know that it's not a huge deal (and yes, I will totally be the one to notice and few others will!).
 

Turbo1Ton

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*anyone* else that sees a puddle at your house will think 'look at that.... it must have rained' :ROFLMAO:

But I have 75 of my own things that only I see, so please accept my condolences. I feel ya.
And this here is why I typically have adult beverages in hand. I'm willing to overlook a lot once those start. :laughblue:

--Jeff
 

klanel

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Jul 11, 2021
534
Athens, GA
I will have a half dozen deck drains and everything is supposed to be sloped toward the drains but the issue of standing patches of water is an undesirable trait that I may too end up dealing with. Will likely know in the next couple of weeks.
 

JoyfulNoise

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The issue in those photos is not one of slope. All the slopes look correct. It’s an issue of slumping at the base layer. The step is just a poor troweling job or maybe a slight void in the cement. That divet in the deck is due to the base layer not being properly compacted and even. It was probably not obvious to the eye as you’re talking about 10’ X 12’ area (as best as I can see from the photos). Large area pours are very tricky if you don’t have a solid base layer and a good deal of experience. The deck crew was probably just working fast and not paying much attention. It is avoidable but only if you’re on site and demand careful attention.

It’s really not a huge deal but, to avoid stains, you should keep a large landscape broom handy and, when the rain stops and the water has dried up a bit, you should sweep any pooled water towards the drains or off the deck. Otherwise those areas will build up dirt and silt over time and leave stains.
 

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Lanzz

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I have two of those slight low spots - they don't bother me with the exception of the fact that they become instance ice in cold weather. So - just be mindful of that - not sure it gets below freezing in Austin very often, but when it does... watch your step.
 
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Jacquelyn1215

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Jun 1, 2021
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Austin TX
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I have two of those slight low spots - they don't bother me with the exception of the fact that they become instance ice in cold weather. So - just be mindful of that - not sure it gets below freezing in Austin very often, but when it does... watch your step.
Oh yes, it most definitely gets below freezing in Austin! Not often, but it happens... Wintry mix forecasted for later this week in fact which is when we're supposed to be filling! 🤦‍♀️ Already reached out to the crew to postpone the plaster so we're not stuck in the midst of that.
 

JoyfulNoise

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Oh yes, it most definitely gets below freezing in Austin! Not often, but it happens... Wintry mix forecasted for later this week in fact which is when we're supposed to be filling! 🤦‍♀️ Already reached out to the crew to postpone the plaster so we're not stuck in the midst of that.

Honestly you should postpone plaster as long as you can. Plastering in winter weather is a dumb idea unless the plaster crew plans to tent the entire pool structure while they work. I have noticed over the years that more and more pool builders are willing to build pools over the winter months doing gunite and plaster in terrible weather conditions. It used to be the case that pool builders took a break from building over the winter months because (A) there wasn't a lot of work, and (B) some parts of the pool build process like excavation, gunite and plaster should not be attempted when the weather turns bad. My only guess is that they are booking work to make money and they simply don't care about the adverse effects of rain, snow and freezing temps on the quality of the product they sell. It's sad really and we see on here far too often people left with messes because the pool was built over the winter months.

Tell the PB to finish the pool when the weather turns nice ... it's not like you're going to be using it any time soon anyway, it's too cold.
 
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MAPR-Austin

In The Industry
Feb 23, 2021
41
Kansas City, MO
I see a lot of puddles like this on renovation projects. Adding more material to the low spot will usually just shift the puddle to the next lowest spot.

A couple options I have used with some success:

1) Find the deepest point of the puddle. Drill a very small hole all the way through the concrete to allow water to pass. Yes you will get a little water under your deck occasionally, depending on substrate and soil type this may be a non-issue.

2) From the deepest point of the puddle, use a diamond blade grinder to cut a line in the concrete over to the nearest drain or edge of the deck. You can disguise this with the same kind of stain they used on the deck. Where the cut terminates at the drain, drill a hole into the drain body to allow water to pass.

Personally I see both of those as a compromise. Neither is going to look 'right' to a discerning eye. The puddles are only there after rain.
 
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