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. Case in point are the “paint on” plastic deck coatings you may have seen on TV or noticed in the “big box” 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 for the wood and to eliminate splinters, nail-holes and minor cracks with ease of application as a homeowner can apply the product over the course of a weekend.
Although each individual case is different, our experience with “fix all” products is 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.
In addition to the many shortfalls these products have, they also require frequent and costly reapplication in most scenarios. With wooden decking, as with any of the effects of sun and water on horizontal surfaces, application over rotten or damp wood 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 lack of proper waterproofing over joist tops.
The possibility 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.
Archadeck of Central SC is your redecking expert in the Columbia region. Redecking an aging or failing deck through a quality deck contractor is the only real solution for invasive decking problems. Our diverse portfolio of materials includes quality wooden choices as well as the highest quality synthetic options on the market.
Keep in mind, when redecking with a composite, it is critical to replace all joists. When going from wood to composite, you have to add joists. Typically the wood deck has joists that are eighteen inches apart. So some contractors would put new joists in between the old joists, giving you joists every eight inches. However, mixing new joists in between old ones will result in A) waves in the deck when the level new joists shrink and B) loose-fitting boards unless you screw down every single joist every eight inches, which are too many screws to look good. We tear out all of the joists and build as new to get a problem-free deck. In many cases we may still use the old posts and beams if in good shape.
We have many redecking options available to accommodate your lifestyle and budget. Contact Archadeck of Central SC to help you make an informed decision about which material is the best suited for your outdoor space needs. 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. Call today for a free design consultation (803) 603- 2160 or email us at