“Wow! That is a great looking deck.” The most common statement made by your visitors since you had your new deck coating installed. In fact you say it to yourself every time you step out on it. It feels great. Here are the key ways, as the owner, to extend the life of your deck coating by 5 years and continue that great feeling:
- Keep potted plants off the deck surface. Moisture will collect under a potted plant if is sitting directly on the deck surface. This moisture will encourage the growth of mildew and algae. After long periods of chronic exposure to moisture, mildew and algae the protective surface of the deck will begin to deteriorate causing staining and hasten the physical breakdown of the protective layer and deck surface. The solution is to raise the bottom of the potted plant off of the surface a few inches with a footed saucer.
- Ensure that door thresholds are properly caulked and functioning properly. The edge of a doorway that is not properly sealed will allow water to run under the edge of the deck coating causing damage. Inspect and re-caulk these areas on a yearly basis.
- Sheet metal flashing seams need to be inspected annually and caulked as needed. The sheet metal flashing is meant to ensure that the water flowing down the flashing side is not trapped under the deck surface. If there is a break in caulking or lifting of the metal flashing, because of dirt or damage, the integrity of the flashing will be compromised. This often leads to rust and mildew formation which will cause further separation of the flashing from the deck surface. In other words, a small problem is self-perpetuated into a serious problem, if not corrected.
- Don’t allow your pets to use the decks as a bathroom. Surprisingly, this is a common problem with small dogs and benevolent owners who consider the potted plant in the far corner fair game. After all, the thinking is that the coming rain will take care of it or it is excused as nothing more than ceremonial territorial marking. The problem is that it is more than that as the ammonia from urine begins to collect under the plant or remain on the surface. Ammonia is a reactive chemical that is very caustic given enough time. A few months later there will be evidence of staining and eventually surface breakdown. It would be better to move the plants elsewhere, the pet will follow.
- Inspect the caulking at wrought iron railing and wood posts. The vulnerable areas of the deck to deteriorate is more related to the adjacent structures than the deck surface itself. The buttress of the deck coating is at the mercy of the protecting caulking between the two structures. Wrought iron will rust and wood will rot causing loosening of the caulking seal. Repairing any breakdown of the caulking seal goes a long way in preventing breakdown of the deck coating in these areas.
- Clean and reseal your deck at 3-5 year intervals. Frequent hosing of the deck during everyday use is a good way to stay ahead of the damage that dirt will do to the deck surface. Dirt is like little stones that are abrasive. Everyday foot traffic will grind the surface, at the level of the particle size. A garden hose spraying goes a long way to prevent this. If there is mildew or algae, a light scrubbing with a soft brush and mild soap is a good routine to follow. A yearly power washing in areas that have a lot of tree debris is often in order and retains the beauty of the deck. According to manufacturer recommendations, thoroughly clean and reseal your deck.
- Keep your drains cleaned out. Clogged drains will shuttle dirt and leaves onto the deck surface. Decaying leaves can cause staining and surface damage.
- Ensure that contiguous areas are not allowing water intrusion behind the deck system. Water that goes around the waterproof deck edge by traveling through unsealed surface edge borders needs to be identified and prevented. This is a very important point concerning proper installation. If this is a problem, this needs to be addressed as early as possible.
Here at Pli-Dek we manufacture a range of waterproof deck coatings, with more than 35 years of experience. Feel free to contact us with more questions!