Plastic Deck Coatings Offer False Promises

Have you seen the commercials about the products that promise to transform your timeworn wooden deck to a like new condition?

In our line of business, we have seen many deck owners place their hopes of restoring their aged or worn wooden deck into products that usually only offer false promises. A great example is the paint-on, do-it-in-a-day plastic deck coatings that are prevalent in the home improvement stores. Many retailers have been stocking products in the paint section that appear to put a thick coating on deck boards, giving them the appearance of synthetic decking. These products claim to offer superior protection to the wood itself and to eliminate splinters, nail holes and minor cracks. These products also boast about their ease of application claiming a homeowner can apply the product over the course of a weekend.

At Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio, we have experienced the truth about plastic coatings first-hand. And all is not what it seems. We recently we met with a homeowner in regards to redecking his backyard deck after having a bad experience with one of these products. During our consult, the homeowner was quick to point out that during application of the coating, the surface area reached a temperature hot enough to melt the bottoms of his shoes leaving an imprint on the surface. This, along with other factors, led to his consideration of redecking the space.

We realize that each individual case is different, however, our experience with “fix all” products such as these has proven to be anything but positive. These products only serve as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Many are made up of epoxy-style coverings that appear to be smooth, flawless and cool to the touch when exposed to the sun but in reality, can come out rough and retain heat on structures that have a southern exposure.

And that’s not all, the nature of the product is to form a coating over your existing wood deck. Bear in mind, that if moisture or any rot is already underway, using these products only lock the problem in, they do not address it. Application over rotten wood, damp wood, etc, will likely cause failures of the coatings.

Other inconsistencies that must also be addressed are tight spacing of existing deck boards and reduced drainage capabilities. The circumference of these coatings will make tight spacing worse, and the area between your decking boards must be cleaned out regularly or face side rot. Flashing issues at the ledger are also a concern as is a lack of proper waterproofing over joist tops.

The prospect of success, if any, of using these “paint-on” products lies within the surface preparation itself. Wood needs to be cleaned and free of any debris, oils or grease (this includes barbecue sauce). Prerequisites also include replacement of any loose nails. Manufacturers of the product even recommend your existing deck be screwed down to avoid the chances of any nails working up through the new finish. We are quick to point out these products should not serve as a “fix” for rotting wood or a surface in very bad condition as many deck owners may assume. These products serve as an alternative to conventional sealers or stain, not as a decking repair system.

Redecking an aging or failing deck through a quality deck contractor is the only real solution for invasive decking problems. Our diverse portfolio of decking materials includes quality wooden choices as well as the highest quality synthetic options on the market.

Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio is here to help you make an informed decision about which material is the best suited for your outdoor space needs. We have many redecking options available to accommodate your lifestyle and budget. Our knowledge and experience working with wood and synthetics over the years can ensure an outdoor living space that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Contact us today to learn more (937) 848-7040 or (513) 897-2040. You can also email us at wcohio@archadeck.net.

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