Advice on fix: Tiled deck, ditra & gutter leak

heathergmJuly 8, 2014

We are trying to fix our 2 year old deck that was improperly built and hoping we don't have to tear everything out. The deck is 7 x 12' sloped at 1/4" per foot (subfloor) with a gutter on the front 7' side. The install is mostly correct (I think).

The problem is that they never installed any transition to the gutter. The gutter lies between the deck subfloor and joist and a lintel front piece. The builders had it custom made because the Schluter gutters were not the right size they said. Since there is no tie in between the tile surface and the gutter water leaks between the deck and gutter and wicks underneath.

We have tried the following so far:

Year 1 - At advice of the (not so good) architect/builder - caulking the tile to the top of the gutter with which it was flush. This didn't work and would trap any water that got through the grout behind the wall of the gutter anyhow. I have read that you should never trust the sealant on the top of the tile/grout as your water barrier. Is this right?

Year 2 (last summer) - Cut the gutter down 1" and cut out the mortar above the ditra under the tile in about 1" to fit flexible flashing under the tile, over the and into the gutter. caulk above to seal. the flexible flashing (a tape type product) came lose and more leakage occurred. Was cutting the gutter down a mistake?

Now - hoping to find out what we should do, if it is possible to do ourselves and if not how to find somebody to do it and know if their fix is a reasonable solution.

We were thinking of getting true metal flashing and cutting into the thinset /wood under the Ditra and trying a more durable version of year 2. Would this work?

Alternately we have thought of removing a few inches of the tile (hopefully without damaging the ditra) and doing the flashing from there and either retiling over it or adding some other sort of waterproofing to the step down to the gutter.

Finally I have also been looking at the Schluter edge profiles and wondering if they could be retrofitted?

To keep things interesting there is a very narrow area to work in without taking off the glass railing (which was attached with stripped screws!) and the wood on the front of the deck. so large tools are very hard to get into the gutter area/under the tile.

I realize that making this actually shed water correctly might require a new gutter, removing a significant portion of the tile etc. The wood behind the gutter has some water damage but is generally in good shape and hopefully doesn't need replaced.

So we need help. If we hire someone - what should we look for? Tile expert? Deck expert? or Schluter experience specifically? I feel like an idiot for not paying closer attention to the work done on the original build so I want to be sure I can assess any solutions that new professionals may offer.

I have attached photos and am happy to provide any others that might be useful in getting advice on this. More pictures of the overall deck here:

We have been so angry at these contractors, spent our entire saved budget on the faulty deck already and are so frustrated at this point we would be very grateful for any help provided.


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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Hmmmm. I would look for someone with Schluter experience. A General contractor should have subs he trusts with both areas of expertise.

We have Schluter edges on our entire porcelain kitchen countertops, and they were retrofitted. It's all custom. Sounds like the first guy just wanted standard stuff and didn't want to mess with custom, so he cut corners?

I couldn't spot the schluter in your photos, but I'm sure outside is much different than inside. We have 3 big decks outside. None have tile on them. When we purchased this home, all the decks had to be redone because of termites and rotting. Gutters are in place where needed. Two of our decks shed water through the cracks between the boards, so no water stands.

I wish you luck with your issue. It cost a ton to replace 3 big (huge) decks!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:04PM
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Thanks - the schluter ditra is under the tile
We got the flashing in and are now looking for what we should use to caulk or seal it to the ditra.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:37PM
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A piece of L-flashing must be installed underneath the ditra and over the gutter, like regular drip edge flashing for a roof eave that sits under the shingles and over the rain gutter.

Any other approach is incorrect.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Thanks Aidan - that is exactly what we did - see attached. Our question now is to seal the flashing to the ditra and whether or not to caulk or fill with mortar the face above the ditra to the tile. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 3:05PM
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