Deck Leak Testing in Los Angeles | ASTM 5957 Deck Testing

Deck Leak Testing in Los Angeles

As a testing only agency, I’d say that deck leak testing in Los Angeles makes up a large percentage of our waterproofing testing for the residential community. In the majority of cases where deck testing is performed, the testing proves to be a valuable asset in the location of leaks within Decking systems. When performing the Deck water intrusion tests, we strictly adhere to the ASTM 5957 standard as described here.

5 essential areas of the deck which are vulnerable to water intrusion

  • Railing connection into the deck membrane
  • Deck to wall flashing
  • Topcoat or waterproof membrane
  • Drains located in the deck
  • Parapet walls surrounding the deck

The AAMA 5957 standard is for deck testing in Los Angeles for testing waterproofed membranes. This includes fully adhered or bonded sheet membranes, liquid or fluid-applied membranes, or loose laid sheet membranes.

Our ASTM standard testing provides a systematic approach to testing waterproof installations. These installations can include parking garages, deck systems, shower receptors or other habitable space and elevated structures.

Deck slopes for such systems are suggested to be greater than 2% and the standard does not, however, apply to roof systems.

Potable water weighs approximately 62.3 lb per cubic ft at 71.6°F or 1 g/cm2/cm depth 5.19 lbs/ft 2 per in.depth, which must be accounted for when testingMAZZA
Testing decks and other waterproofed substrates takes patience as these tests can take as little as 24 hours and as long as 48 hours. On the other hand, these tests are not intended to be performed on those waterproofing installations where water is sustained for long periods of time such as fountains, swimming pools or other water storage units where water is stored for longer than 48 hours.

The Deck Flood Test In Summary

When the testing surface or system I.E. deck or other larger un-contained area requires containment. In other words, in order to test these areas, the test operator must first contain these areas which are to be tested. How is this achieved?
Deck Testing
Well, in section 7.4 of the ATSM 5957 flood testing of waterproofed membranes standard, it literally takes us through a containment installation and material choice process. However, first, in order to actually facilitate a test, we will need to set up temporary containment assemblies when necessary. These waterproofing test containment assemblies are installed to pond or otherwise hold the water within the contained spaces for a predetermined amount of time. We will discuss the containment of the tested areas in more detail below.

Minimum time for a flood test of a deck or waterproofed assembly as specified in the AAMA 5957 standard section 7.10 Flood Test Period is a minimum of 24 hours and maximum time being 72 hours. Time frames are set up in order to determine the water-tightness of the waterproofing installation being tested.

Continual observation under the tested assembly is necessary during any test. Our testing Company utilizes state of the art infrared technology during all tests to get real-time results.
We achieve this by setting up our infrared camera under the area tested in time-lapse mode operated by a Los Angeles based Level III infrared Technician for the duration of the test(s).

Waterproof Testing Method

When followed correctly the ASTM 5957 standards gives us, the testing agency, a road-map so to speak on steps to successfully manage a properly administered water test of Decks and other waterproofed membrane systems.

First of all, the slope when deck testing in Los Angeles of waterproof membrane systems, must not exceed 2%. The reason for this is that the building code is 2% and anything more than this may fall into a whole different test category such as roofing for example. A roofing test is a completely different test altogether.

When considering the water flood test we must first keep in mind the waters weight being imposed as added load onto the substrate. Potable water weighs approximately 62.3 lb per cubic ft at 71.6°F or 1 g/cm2/cm depth 5.19 lbs/ft 2 per in .depth, which must be accounted for when testing.

Engineering Inspection
Deck Testing
It is the recommendation of the AAMA 5957 section 5.2 to have a SE or structural engineer review the test in order to determine if the structure being tested is capable of withstanding any added loading or whether the test exceeds the code or design restrictions.

Lateral loading on things such as curbs, adjacent walls or parapet walls must also be accounted for, before any testing commences. Likewise, even items such as movable planters or equipment must also be taken into consideration.

Testing correctly means testing to the standard with no deviations. Essentially, this means we’re not going to show up at your facility or property armed with a garden hose and simply start randomly filling up your vessel.

On the contrary, the standard is designed to provide a safe and effective testing measure, which can be reproduced by anyone at anytime. This is especially helpful in litigation cases where a test may have to be reproduced multiple times. Effectively, deck leak testing in Los Angeles should be performed by a professional water intrusion expert. As opposed to a guy with a water hose.

Follow Manufacturers specifications

The AAMA 5957 states in section 5.3 the objective of such a water test. 5.3 This guide describes a procedure to test for watertightness of waterproofing installations under ponded water with a short-term hydrostatic head measuring not more than (4 in.).
NOTE 2—Increasing the amount of water forming a hydrostatic head beyond (4 in.) of water may be considered provided the impact of increased loads on the substrate has been reviewed and approved by a licensed structural engineer.

In addition to explaining the how and why it also stipulates the “when”. And that “when” is at which time the “waterproofing membrane and flashings are completely installed and are fully cured”. (Section 5.4)

Minimum cure times for waterproofing are set by manufacturers. The operator must be aware of these before flood testing is suggested. Most manufacturers do not, however, suggest any testing within the first 24-48 hours of installation. May require a 48 hour wait time if the waterproofing was installed in temperatures below 50°F.

The Los Angeles weather is generally fairly mild even in the dead of winter. These test standards do not allow us to operate a tests in freezing conditions. The effect that frozen ponded water can have on a deck system for example are such things like frozen water pulling or tearing at waterproofed surfaces and flashings away or breaking interior corners.
Fortunately, as water testing specialists here in Los Angeles we don’t usually have to worry about the temperatures dropping below freezing.

The whole idea behind deck leak testing in Los Angeles is ultimately provide the owner with a level of confidence that the waterproofed system installed will last its prescribed service life.

Materials Used in Water Intrusion Testing

In order to conduct a waterproofing membrane water intrusion test, the drains within the area to be tested must be blocked off.
Likewise, areas of the deck or waterproofed surface to be tested may have to be contained in order to facilitate the AAMA 5957 waterproofing test. In which case, temporary contaminants may have be constructed to hold water, temporarily during the test.

Some of the materials used to block the drains may include Pneumatically inflatable devices, rubber ball, or other standard plumbing fixtures. With pneumatic test plugs, a standard pump is used to inflate these plugs.

Containment Assemblies

In some cases, a temporary containment must be constructed to dam the water for the entire test period. this applies to a deck, shower pan or other water proofed area. Materials used in the construction of  a temporary system includes multiple different materials. Materials include wood, polyethylene, duct tape, sand bags, adhesives, sealants, waterproofing membrane material and expanded polystyrene boards.
In addition, a bucket with holes in the bottom 1” x 4, a scale or other measuring device and a hose are also needed.

Installation of Temporary Containment Assemblies

When building the temporary containment assemblies, they should be nondestructive, nonpenetrating, and modular or easily removable. The containment assemblies should possess overflows at a height as not to exceed the structural capacity of the substrate.
deck leak testing in Los Angeles

Containment assemblies will generally start off with a sheet of polyethylene attached to the deck in a nonpenetrating manner. This sheet will eventually be removed with the temporary containment assembly.
Most times, the containment assemblies will consist of similar materials or are compatible with the waterproofing materials such as felts, sheet membranes or sealants.

Sandbags are used to hold the containment frame in place during the testing period. Bags are placed over the poly sheeting making sure the placement doesn’t interfere with the overall tested water height. The weight of the sandbags should be about 7 pounds per linear foot.

Filling The Area With Water

Once the area is segmented and the drains are successfully blocked and tested for leaking, the filling can begin. Our fill test starts off by filling the area to achieve a minimum coverage of 1” and not exceeding the maximum depth of 4” at the lowest point of the test area and 2 ½” for mean water depth. Hoses used to fill the area should not be placed near laps or lap edges.
During the water test, the water within the test area should maintain a level 2” below the flashings.

Before Beginning The Test

Before any water intrusion deck tests are conducted, we must first inspect the deck for obvious damages which may otherwise “obviously leak”. Additionally, we have to warn the occupants who may be affected by this test.

If rain is suspected prior to a water intrusion test, we will generally postpone the water test. Make no mistake, we have a contingency plan in place in the event there is leakage during deck leak testing in Los Angeles.

Checking On The Progress

deck leak testing in Los Angeles
In order to check our results of our tests, we will have a test pan close by filled with the same water depth as the test area. The pan is exposed to the same identical wind and sun exposure conditions. The pan is placed in predetermined locations, the depth of each is taken and compared to one another. For the most part, this test will show obvious differences in depth should a leak manafest.

Length Of Water Intrusion Testing

Our flood tests for systems such as shower pans or decks are for a minimum time of 24 hours. Or, a maximum time of 72 hours. Never do we test over a weekend unless the flooded areas can be safely monitored.

What If It Rains?

If it rains as a test is being conducted, the test is discontinued. The reason being, we don’t want the test area to overflow over the flashings. Not to mention, the testing would be compromised or inaccurate due to the added water.

During The Water Intrusion Test

While the testing is being administered, it’ our job to monitor the progression of the tested subject. This includes monitoring the underside of the specimen. We’ll be busy documenting the conditions of the areas tested. These areas are just below the area tested. We do this until completion.

What Happens When It Leaks?

deck leak testing in Los Angeles

In the event that the deck leaks during testing, the area is immediately drained of water. Afterwhich, when the area is free of water and the leak location is documented, repairs can then begin. Whatever repairs are conducted, they must adhere to the minimum building codes as well as the manufacturer’s listed installation instructions. Afterwhich, the area is suggested to be re tested.

Testing Completed

Once testing of the subject area is completed we will drain the area of water. To do this, first, we slowly release the drain plugs. Afterwhich, we’ll place the bucket with the four 1” holes over the drain to control the water flow.

The flood test is only considered completed if no leaks were discovered during the test period. Also, the membrane must be intact with no blisters or other damage. We inspect the entire area for obvious damage to the surface and report as observed.

Waterproof Testing Report

Once testing is completed a written report of the water intrusion test is produced. This report will include;

  • The date
  • Location of project
  • Location ofthe subject tested including drawing or diagram
  • Temperature during testing
  • Type of system i.e. deck, shower pan etc…
  • Type of waterproofing tested
  • Minimum and maximum depths
  • Draw-down or added water during the test
  • Images
  • Thermographs
  • Location of leaks if any
  • Intervals to check water levels
  • Start time, duration of the test and finish time

Upon completion of the ASTM 5957 test standard. Our clients will have a complete understand of the condition of their waterproofed membrane system. This includes whether the system is in need of service or not.

Contact us today 310.909-3568 or via email at to schedule your water intrusion inspection.

deck leak testing in Los Angeles
deck leak testing in Los Angeles
As a testing only agency, I'd say that deck leak testing in Los Angeles makes up a large percentage of our waterproofing testing for the residential community. In the majority of cases where deck testing is performed, the testing proves to be a valuable asset in the location of leaks within Decking systems. When performing the Deck water intrusion tests, we strictly adhere to the ASTM 5957 standard as described here.
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