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Re: Lt wt. conc topping for exterior decks

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That just sounds downright scary.  Is there a really good reason for not going with metal deck (2" conc on 2" deck = 4") and exterior finish materials which are a little less likely to shrink and expand with moisture levels?   

Gerard Madden, SE wrote:

I’m designing a house overlooking Napa valley for my best client (he bought the house and is doing a massive renovation). Part of the project includes about 2000 square feet of exterior decks and terraces over two levels.


He wants to use concrete topping slab over plywood sheathing over wood framing. I have designed everything for a 2” light weight concrete topping slab.


He is specifying waterproofing over plywood and 5/8” gyp bd. w/ skim coat of stucco on the underside.


He asked me about using a fibermesh type of topping slab and I told him that my experience with that has been with metal deck filled slabs on the interiors of steel framed buildings.


Does anyone have any comments, warnings, etc… on the above assembly. I know two people on this list aren’t great believers in this stuff and I greatly respect their opinions, so I’m cautious about saying go for it.


He obviously wants minimal shrinkage cracking and is concerned about the sun beating down on the finish surface topping slab. Maybe a sealer over the slab is a better solution?


I hope that made sense, I’m not too sure…hopefully someone can share their past experiences good or bad







Gerard "Jared" Madden, SE, PE

California Licensed Structural and Civil Engineer



50 South Linden Avenue, Suite 9

South San Francisco, CA 94080

T: 650.952.3551

F: 650.952.5312

E: gmadden(--nospam--at)



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