Choosing the right waterproof deck coating might not be keeping you awake at night, but making the right decision can greatly extend the life of your deck or walkway. A well-maintained deck that is protected from the elements will save you money in the long run as well as give you more time to enjoy relaxing on an attractive deck surface.
Here are 10 questions you can ask to ensure you’re getting the best product for your needs.
1. Will Your Deck Get a Lot of Rain?
Protection against the elements is a key function of most deck coatings, so all coating products work to repel water. But if your deck is especially exposed, or your climate is particularly wet, you’ll want to pay special attention to how the coating you’re considering handles rain. The last thing you want is to have water leaks that impact the structure of your house, which can lead to costly repairs.
2. Will Your Deck Get a Lot of Sun?
You’ll want to make sure you choose a product that protects against UV rays and fading. Some products also contain slightly reflective material that keeps the deck cooler on a warm day.
3. How Much Use Does Your Deck Get?
Casual, seasonal use may not require a heavy-duty deck coating. But if you entertain a lot, have children who will be playing and perhaps riding bikes on the deck surface or may see more traffic than typical, you’ll want to look at a coating product designed for high-traffic applications.
4. How Long Do You Need Protection?
Most people will automatically say, “As long as possible!” While lifetime warranties may be available (and more costly!) with some products, these often don’t transfer if you sell your home, make changes to your deck or have made errors in the construction process. A good rule of thumb is to look for a coating product that has a 10-year warranty that defines the care procedure to ensure that you get reasonable protection at a reasonable cost.
5. Is Your Deck Likely to Get Slick?
If you do get a lot of rain or your deck gets slippery when wet, you might consider a protective coating that includes an aggregate to make a non-skid surface. This is particularly useful around pools and hot tubs to prevent slips and falls.
Non-skid surfaces can also help the elderly or very young to better manage their footing and can provide more traction for those with disabilities or others who are less steady on their feet.
6. Will You Walk Barefoot on Your Deck?
It may not be important for you to walk on your deck sans footwear, but if you do plan on moving around barefoot — or you have kids who will be walking around without shoes — look for a coating that will create an extremely smooth surface without splinters. Lath-based systems, for example, use a top coating over a metal lath layer that makes for a smooth and extremely walkable surface without the risk of splinters or gouges in the wood.
7. Will the Coating Help Keep Your Home Safe?
Look for a coating product that helps suppress fire. Some coating systems are available with 1-hour fire rating — meaning that the deck will be able to slow down a fire that threatens your home.
8. Do You Have Railings or Other Woodwork That Needs Protection?
While you won’t be walking on your railings, you may want them to mesh with the look of your deck. And you’ll definitely want them to have some protection from weather.
One of the biggest potential problems with protecting deck railings is that the gap where they connect with the deck can allow leaks if not correctly sealed. A lath-based system is one good solution because it can incorporate a good seal from the deck surface to railings and other woodwork.
9. What Do You Want Your Deck to Look Like?
Most coating products allow you to tint them in various shades of tan, brown or gray. The intensity of the color depends a great deal on how the product you select works — some penetrate the wood and some sit on top of the wood, like a coat of paint would. Most modern coatings are a combination of polymer resins and are easy to tint, even if you want a less natural color. Some products even allow you to just mix your favorite latex paint with the coating product to produce your ideal shade.
The coatings that are made from a proprietary polymer resin or combination of resins may be especially difficult to remove or cover with another coat. Remember that you won’t be able to easily switch the color or change the look of your deck if you don’t like it in a few months, so choose color wisely.
10. How Much Do You Want to Spend?
The truth is that a long-lasting, protective, attractive deck coating is not going to come cheap. But it will also protect the area and keep your deck in good condition for many years, and it will not need to be re-applied for many years, depending on your warranty. Calculate a per-year cost by dividing the price of the product by the number of years on the warranty for each product you’re considering to get a more accurate picture of cost. Don’t forget that being easy to apply and providing features like a non-slip texture are worth a higher price, as well.
To learn more about our waterproof deck coating options, contact us today.