The Case Study Challenge:

Every once and a while, Brekhus Tile & Stone gets called to a job where it’s necessary to design unique systems that can stand up to particularly demanding conditions. In the case of this heated outdoor deck on top of a mountain vacation home, there were requirements for waterproofing to handle heavy winter snows. The sloping deck would have to withstand extreme temperature differences including freezing winters and blazing hot summer sun. And, the owners wanted it to be heated – so the fabulous winter views could be more enjoyable. Did we mention wind? That goes without saying in the Rocky Mountains, and last but not least, it would have to be light enough to avoid stressing the weight-bearing capabilities of the house below it.

The Solution:

We settled on a Schluter system, the core of which was a hydronic heated floor. Below, we describe some of the layers that contribute to the comfort, stability, and resilience of this rooftop deck. Note the temporary roof that was built over the area during the construction process.

Outdoor Deck Waterproofing

The Schluter Troba layer provides extra protection to the waterproofing layer and is specially designed for sloped areas that need good drainage. It has an extremely high load-bearing capability, adds insulation because of the air in between the small plastic cones that cover its surface, as well as sound protection. If any water does get into the Troba layer, it’s designed to drain off to the edges.

Radiant Floor Heating

Next is the multi-purpose Schluter BEKOTEC layer which provides channels for flexible tubes in hydronic radiant heating systems. It also adds another layer of drainage potential and insulation.

Fibered Bedding Mix

Fibered Bedding Mix is packed tightly into the BECOTEK layer. This material is a precise blend of cement and aggregates that produces high compressive strength.

Schluter Ditra Drain

Schluter Ditra Drain – which is laid on top of the Fibered Bedding Mix – is specifically designed for use with thin-set ceramic and stone tile combinations outdoors. It is engineered with numerous special features that improve drainage, provide air circulation and faster drying for the thin set. Finally, its design allows it to minimize or “decouple” movement stress between the other layers that happens naturally as stone settles over time.

Thin Set for Tile Flooring

This material provides a level surface and adhesion for the tile or stone flooring.

Stone / Tile Flooring Installation

The final step is to install the tile. The finished product – slate conditioned with a protective coating – will preserve sheen, repel water, and resist scuffing and marking.

See a slideshow of the process and take a virtual tour of the finished deck