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Question DetailsAsked on 10/19/2015

Plywood Carport/Sundeck Waterproofing (not 6 layers like Desert Crete)?

My Carport/Sundeck plywood is rotting because of bad waterproofing in past.
I need an affordable, long-lasting waterproof system that is not 6 layers like Desert Crete.
What do you recommend and how do I find a reliable contractor.
Most are trying to sell me on an overkill 6 layer system like Desert Crete which I dont want.

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11 Answers

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Since this sounds like it is a walk-on deck as well as a roof, it has to have both waterproof surfacing and a walk-on surface, so no matter what system you choose it has to have at least a MINIMUM of 4 layers over the plywood - puncture resistant padding under the waterproof liner, the waterproof liner (like a heavy plastic membrane), puncture-resistant padding over the liner, and the walking surface, and 6 layers which include low friction expansion and contraction slip layers is very commonly called for. Generally, for your walk-on application, the solution will be an IRMA roof like Desert Crete and many others - IRMA stands for Inverted Roofing Membrane Assembly, so called because the laydown order of the membrane is the opposite of usual for membrane roofs, where the waterproof membrane goes on top. You can google this search phrase - images for IRMA roofing - to see pictures of IRMA applications and diagrams and explanations of the theory behind it.

For a cheaper, shorter-life system but MUCH more prone to cuts and surface and heavy wind damage, you could go with an exposed very heavy (like 60-100 mil) hypalon or similar "pond liner" material like is used under landfills and open sewage and process water impoundments, which is basically stretched out over the carport and fastened only around the edges (or with some with intermediate water-tight fasteners through the plywood also), but like I say it will not last as long in sefvere weather, severe sun conditions, or if walked on with hard shoes or walking on debris on the roof, and any sundeck furniture would have to sit on padding or have specially padded feet. NOT a recommended solution because you are paying at least half to two-thirds the cost of a full IRMA roof for maybe 1/2 the life.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


How do you reply to an answer?

Thank you, Brendon M.

However, your answer does not really answer my question.
I know how to search angieslist.

I have contacted many but it's so hard to find the right contractor.

Most want to use the system that I don't want. Or they are way beyond my budget…

I need recommendations of other good waterproofing system that can be troweled on and texture and is safe and long lasting.

And if you know of an affordable contractor who can do that—that would be so appreciated.

(I am not a guest. I am a member and signed in! And it is my question!!!!)

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_93386501


Hmmm - you might want to talk to Member Services, because you are showing up as Guest 93386501, not as a member.

For a troweled-on product that can be walked on and be long-lived - I would say the only thing that comes near that would be a reinforced adobe gravel-clay a foot or so thick, which is WAYYY too heavy for your carport roof and would be a mess to walk on when damp/wet. There just is not a trowel or paint-on product that will last in your environment. I would say your best bet is to talk to a number of contractors, then choose the one that gives you the best price on a system you like, even though they will be bidding apples and oranges as far as systems go.

One other alternative - convert (during a reroof job) to a low-slope built-up tar or membrane roof with properly flashed supports penetrating it to hold up an overlying deck, built in removeable segments to allow access for roofing cleaning and repair.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Hi Leslie,

This is Robin K. in Member Care. Thanks for posting.

If you are having trouble finding a provider to fit your specific need, you may be interested in our SnapFix program. Our Snapfix specialists would also be able to do all of the dialing for you, match you up with a top rated provider and arrange to have them call you to figure out the logistics. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please fill out the form in the link below and our Snapfix Team will take it from there!

If you have any other questions, please let us know. You can respond to this thread or submit a new Answers post. You can also reach us at We're happy to help, Leslie!

Answered 4 years ago by Member Services


This is really bad User Experience. I'm signed in and can't update my own question?

Here's the problem with
If I search Decks and Porches, I get info mostly for Teak Deck builders or repair.

If I search Waterproofing, I get info mostly for basement waterproofing.

I need an affordable contractor who can replace the rotten plywood. Prepare the plywood and apply waterproofing on it—that will last.

I don't want a 5-6 layer system like Desert Crete!

There are other options. Please refer me to contractors who can recommend other affordable options.

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_93386501


Well, if you don't want a roofer, then you could just go with a Handyman or Carpenter - Framing to slap on some plywood and waterproofing - but expect exactly the same problem a year or two down the road. Even with marine plywood I would not expect it to last 4 years. If it is a roof, it needs to be built like a roof - just slapping on some "waterproofing" (which is not waterproofing, just water repellent) is not going to last in a roof environment, much less in a walk-on roof situation. i would not waste my money.

If NOT walking on it, then probably a single-ply membrane roof or tar built-up roof is likely going to be your cheapest solution - but neither will tolerate more than very occasional maintenance walking on them.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Hi Leslie,

This is Robin K. in Member Care. I'm happy to help!

It sounds like a carpenter may be a good fit for this job. I have included some highly rated carpenters below.

Regal Construction & Remodeling Inc
7050 Owensmouth Ave
Canoga Park, CA 91303
(818) 340-1700

Build For You
1825 Stearns dr
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 943-7997

David Gluck Carpentry
1937 12th St
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 490-3179

As an Angie's List member, you can find these same results and additional providers by logging into your membership and searching for "carpentry - woodworking" in the "Search the List" tab.

If you would like information on additional providers through this forum, please let us know. You can respond to this thread or submit a new Answers post. You can also reach us at We're happy to help, Leslie!

Answered 4 years ago by Member Services


I seek a handyman/contractor with experience repairing and waterproofing plywood sundecks with a system that uses Primer, Fiberglass/Base Coat, Texture Coat, Color Coat. No metal lathe or concrete layers.

There seems to be no way to drill down a search to my specific needs!

Can anyone here refer me? Please don't tell me to search "Decks and Porches" which brings me Teak Deck providers or "Waterproofing" which brings me basement contractors!

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_93386501


You are looking for more vendor detail than the system stores - for specifics on what exact types of services wach vendor provides you need to choose a few highly rated and reviewed ones to look at, then contact them or check their ads and websites using Google or such. You need to call either Handymen (if you want to go the cheapo route, like it sounds) or Roofers and ask each if they do what you want, and if not then if they know anyone who does. Not likely to find many, because what you are describing is not a typical or approved walk-on deck surface, and is likely to have a poor survival in a walk-on roof application.
One other alternative - I don't remember if you said where you lived, don't see it in the question - you could try boat repair shops (AL does not have a category for this), because what you are describing is basically a fiberglass-over-plywood system like is used on boats - though for walk-on deck typically is about a 6 layer system like you said you did not want, with primer (over marine plywood), at least 2 coats fiberglass cloth with resin and commonly 3 or 4, surface resin coat, texture layer (which can be colored) and gel coat (which can also be colored) - or commonly a textured boat deck paint over the fiberglass, expecially if a rubberized coating is desired. A glassing shop that has done large cats or trimarans or houseboats/party boats (which have large exposed flat decks) should be able to do what you want.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Please don't reply if you don't know!

A little research and I've found multiple systems that do not use a Desert-Crete type system:





Flexstone Coatings




How do I find a provider that has experience using something like these?

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_93386501



This is Chris F. in Member Care. Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help!

Unfortunately, most providers don't list these specific methods and building materials in their descriptions. That is why we aren't able to provide that detailed information. When being asked for a list of providers such as concrete pouring, concrete driveways, or others we can provide the best rated providers in that category. However, it is up to our members to contact the provider to ask about specific materials or services that they may, or may not, cover. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion.

If you would like a list of providers for a specific category just let us know. We can provide what we have for you and we're always happy to help!

If you require further assistance, please let us know. You can respond to this thread or submit a new Answers post. You can also reach us at We're happy to help.

Answered 4 years ago by Member Services

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