Deck Coatings & Their Care

Waterproof deck coatings and Condominiums seem to go hand in hand in California. It seems that nearly every HOA complicated has them, either over a living space or connected off a room. Residents love them because their decks are regularly used as any other room of the house, owners and executives of income assets generally detest them due to the troubles that appear to usually come at the side of them Naperville Deck Service.

Some proprietors and executives seek to minimize their exposure to these issues by using searching for to trade the CC&R’s, making proprietors accountable for these specific use areas. Other Boards simply put their heads inside the sand, repairing decks as a complaint is available in, commonly with the bare minimum of work to forestall the deck from leaking. Smart managers and Boards will address the problem head on, trying to get their deck troubles below manipulate proper away. As a former HOA supervisor, I saw first hand how ignoring renovation on water resistant decks could be very expensive.

The fee of a new waterproof coating isn’t reasonably-priced, but the price of repairing dry-rotted framing helping the deck is lots worse. An Association I managed signed a agreement for resurfacing eight decks in Pismo Beach. That contract grew to become from an $eight,000.00 + resurfacing into over $100,000.00 in dry-rot upkeep while it become throughout. The Association had deferred the protection required by the producer for several years beyond the recommended renovation time table, allowing the surface to degrade to the point wherein water became able to penetrate into the framing and decay it from the inside out.


The key to stopping decks from turning into a problem is in inspecting the decks. Often instances the supervisor and or the Board will walk the Associations commonplace place property for inspection of the components the Association is chargeable for. Typical items which might be checked are downspouts and gutters; the condition of the paint on the homes, the roof and some thing else may be without difficulty considered from the street and sidewalks. As water proofed decks are normally on the second one or third floor, they generally are by no means inspected. Access through the home is difficult to set up with owners and what manager or Board member sincerely wants to climb a ladder?

Therefore, the decks just linger via themselves, in no way certainly idea of until an owner calls to mention that water is dripping into their home from the deck above them throughout the largest rainstorm of the season. Then the deck hassle increases it is unpleasant head, causing the supervisor to go into disaster control mode, calling a handyman out to temporarily cover the deck, expecting a deck agency to come out and take a look at it, getting the Board to approve the restore, all of which can take a month or greater. The proprietor is pissed off because their deck leaks, the supervisor is annoyed due to the fact he or she hears from the proprietor 2-three times with court cases, the deck organization is usually busy with masses of leak calls and it takes all the time to get some thing performed that treatment plans the trouble.

Frequent (as a minimum once in keeping with yr) inspections will assist cast off issues. Catching small issues before they become big troubles can shop tremendous sums of money from having to be spent on framing maintenance because of leaks. Summer is an ideal time to investigate decks, it isn’t raining and there may be some time before the wintry weather storms start anew to get bids and make needed maintenance. The inspection need not be a difficult aspect to do; there are numerous things to search for that a layman can spot pretty without problems. If the Association or management company has a deck enterprise that they consider, possibly hiring them as an outdoor supply to perform the inspections might work properly. Digital cameras can be used to offer photo documentation of the situations observed, permitting the manager and Board to get an specific concept of the troubles that they’ll be going through.

When doing your very own inspections, it will be useful to understand what kind of deck coating is at the decks. A brand name facilitates, but more importantly, understanding what type of cloth has been carried out is higher. Elastomeric, urethane, lightweight concrete and floating systems are regular coating materials in use on many decks. In knowing what kind deck coating you’ve got, you will be capable of recognize how often the deck will need to be maintained.

Warning signs and symptoms to look for on your deck inspection include cracks within the deck coating, nails popping via the coating from the subsurface, delaminating paint and bubbles in the coating floor. Any of those objects found is a sign that the waterproof surface has been compromised. Owners have to be searching out these warning signs and symptoms too, in addition to seeking out stains on their ceiling or walls within the home beneath their deck. Metal flashing can be checked for signs of rust, pulling free from the deck coating or if it’s far bent or broken.

If you find these issues on a deck, a simple check of the circumstance of the substrate under can be accomplished by using the use of your foot to test for softness. Be careful, it can be so smooth that your foot should go through the deck in a worst-case state of affairs! Soft substrate is indicative of what might be a larger trouble underneath, dry-rotted framing and/or termites. The different hot button in trendy HOA international is mold and mold. This can also exist beneath also.

Another aspect to look for whilst performing inspections is checking to look what is on the deck-plants, tables, umbrellas, grills, carpet, and so forth. Table legs, grills, sharp objects and excessive heels can damage soft deck coatings. Plants in direct contact with the floor need to be raised up to permit air to circulate and dry off the water used to moisten the vegetation. Softer deck coatings are not constantly able to have those gadgets in direct touch with the coating, often caster cups will want for use to protect the coating.

Indoor/outside carpet is regularly positioned down on a deck by way of an uninformed proprietor, generally to cowl over an unpleasant, degrading deck floor. This is the worst factor an proprietor can do to their deck because it locks in any moisture trapped under, which may additionally allow dry-rot to set in.

Charcoal grills can drop warm coals onto the surface, burning thru the waterproof layers of gentle deck coatings. Grease from gasoline and charcoal grills will stain the deck, if now not wiped clean off quickly after spilling.


Maintenance is the key to an extended lasting deck. I have seen decks that are designed to ultimate 25-30 years with proper care, that are ruined beyond repair within five-10 years after being hooked up due to ignoring or delaying the renovation it needs.

Just like a automobile, deck coatings want to be washed from time to time. A right cleaning will rinse dust away which can put on down the coating. Just like the buildings, the deck wishes to be painted/resealed at the agenda recommended via the manufacturer. All water-proof coatings sealant wishes to be renewed, once in a while as often as every -three years. The topcoat is a specialized paint/sealer, formulated to shield and seal the under layer (that’s in which the waterproofing cloth is). The topcoat is usually implemented at the rate of about 8-10 mils thick, by means of brush, roller or spray. UV (solar) rain and foot traffic will put on this protecting layer away at a price of three mils in line with yr. Even although the deck may additionally look quite right and the paints shade is still there, through year 3 there may be little protection afforded to the underneath layer. Continued deferred maintenance is the beginning of the give up of the decks usable life, often ensuing in high-priced maintenance.

As a fashionable rule, gentle deck coatings (urethanes, elastomeric’s and floating systems) will want more common maintenance than hard concrete based totally deck coatings. They also have a more threat of failing in advance if they may be no longer maintained as encouraged. Concrete based structures are typically greater forgiving if not maintained according to the producer’s agenda. Consult with the producer or deck coating installer if you are not certain what you’ve got.

Selecting a New Deck Coating System.

To assist Boards and their managers in getting the exceptional deal for his or her cash, right here are some ideas to place into use when bidding for new coatings to renew the antique coatings at your Associations.

As usually, you may need to get at the least 2-3 vendors to bid your activity. Arrange a website visit in which all bidders can come on the identical time and overview the activity, they can ask questions that all of them can get the equal solution to. Having their respective producer’s sales consultant assessment the process may be useful too. The sales consultant have to write the specs for the contractor to use to bid on.

Ask each contractor bidding your work what deck system they’re proposing to put in. Tufflex, Mer-Kote, Pacific Polymers, Dex-O-Tex, Desert Brand and Life Deck are not unusual emblem names. Watch out for deck coatings that are not proprietary systems, manufactured through a bona fide chemical business enterprise. Some deck organizations “cook dinner up” their own deck coatings, seeking to decrease their expenses on materials. While some agencies who do this may have a coating system that works pretty nicely, there may not be any manufacturer’s aid if any problems arise earlier than, during or after the installation.

Ask your installer to provide you with the manufacturer’s facts, consisting of their call, deal with and phone quantity. Don’t be afraid to call the manufacturer and communicate with that company’s sales representative. Ask them to make a site go to, write the specifications for the work necessary, then evaluate the paintings all through and after the set up and provide you with a written assurance.

When selecting your deck system, there are a number of selections available. Since additionally it is tough to get an “apples to apples” bid with 2 or three contractors all bidding the identical gadget, the hassle is compounded whilst you are evaluating one of a kind coating systems. Each machine may additionally provide advantages and drawbacks over the other. What works incredible on concrete decks won’t paintings so properly over a plywood/OSB* substrate deck.

* Some producers will not warranty their product over OSB, which isn’t recognized as suitable substrate with the aid of the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO). Be certain to invite your bidders whether or not this is the case with their product. Others can also grant a unique exemption if conditions warrant.

Urethanes, elastomeric’s, floating systems and light-weight acrylic structures are normally heard phrases in describing deck-coating systems. Understanding what you are buying is essential in your venture’s fulfillment. Many coating merchandise can have lengthy curing times, necessitating retaining the decks closed for a long time period, every now and then for 24 hours. Does your Association have residents who might be adversely affected by being locked in or out of their home, sometimes for days at the same time as a brand new machine is being mounted? Some may additionally have odors associated with the curing and alertness process, odors that can be fairly offensive or poisonous. Do you have citizens that might be afflicted by those smells? Ask your contractor approximately access to the residence, specially if the decks they may be running on are entryways into the house. Urethane deck coatings specifically are notorious for sturdy odors related to the curing technique. It’s higher to find out in advance of time that a product can be stinky so that you can offer note to citizens.

A question you want answered from each bidder is whether or not your protection staff can provide destiny protection to the deck or if the deck installer have to offer those offerings. Some producer’s warranties may require that simplest an authorized installer renew the topcoat. Others won’t have that requirement. Is your Association set up with onsite preservation personnel or an outdoor source that might reapply sealer for the Association?
You need to also ask the contractor what would/could show up to their deck coating if the Association didn’t hold it according to schedule. The painted topcoat is normally 8-10 mils thick with coats implemented. All deck coatings topcoat will wear down from foot visitors, solar, rain etc. On a few systems, when this happens, it exposes the soft underneath layer (in which the waterproofing materials are generally) to rapid degradation.

Other Items to Consider

While deck coatings are one element to remember, there are other objects to don’t forget which can fee quite a bit of cash too. Flashings for example. Generally there are two sorts of flashing to be discovered at the deck-L metallic flashings that appearance similar to an L and drip facet flashings. Each plays a key role in waterproofing your decks.

L metal flashing is observed at the wall to deck junction. It is on occasion difficult to identify as it could had been painted over. It maintains water out at this very essential area. Drip aspect flashing is the second kind of flashing normally determined on decks. It is determined on the outer edge of the deck. A small bend on the bottom lip will kick water faraway from the deck as it runs off.

You want to understand if your flashing is well suited with any new coatings you are considering. It may not be due to it is being rusted, improperly installed or that it in reality does no longer meet the producer’s specs to use waterproof coatings too. Removal of L steel flashing can frequently be expensive, involving elimination of stucco or timber siding to get admission to it. Repairs via different trades can be required for your siding. Drip side flashing is generally not as costly to take away and replace as it’s also pretty handy, however, operating round railings, posts and so forth. Can push the value up if get entry to is difficult. Are expenses of alternative covered to your bid? Beware of bids that don’t consist of these gadgets or guarantee you that the flashings meet specs for the coating you’re applying. Beware the contractor who, after moving into an agreement with you, may also then let you know that they “want a trade order as your flashings don’t meet specification.” This is a typical “gotcha” in which they can add high profits onto the bid while you’re caught having to make emergency decisions. Again, ask the producer’s consultant to cope with this in their scope of labor.

Door thresholds, access door and screen door clearances are some other object to reflect onconsideration on. You may also need to finances for shaving doorways down or elevating threshold heights whilst making use of a brand new coating over an antique coating.

Replacement or restore of substrate under the deck coatings is every other object which could fast upload up, often exceeding the cost of the coating work itself. A thorough inspection can generally find any gentle spots beneath the coating that imply weak rotted plywood/OSB board. A precise estimate will encompass allowances for substitute of plywood, casting off maximum surprises. What no one can are expecting with out unfavorable trying out is to what volume does the damage cross? Soft plywood is one element, rotted framing supporting the deck is completely another. Remember the Pismo Beach condominiums described above? An $eight,000.00 contract turned into $100,000 + in maintenance to framing and almost eight months of time earlier than the owners may want to use their decks again. Damaged framing must be repaired before putting a brand new coating on-there is no experience in throwing cash away as the brand new coating will simplest fail because the deck supports fail too.

Insurance must also take delivery of attention-some deck coatings, whilst carried out immediately over plywood, will convey an ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials) Class A and a One Hour fireplace rating. Your rates may also drop if you observe a coating that meets the rating standards. Inquire with your deck employer as to whether their coating is ICBO rated for Class A Fire resistance and if it’s far one hour rated. Existing coatings may additionally need to be eliminated first to gain this rating. Your insurance agent/underwriter must additionally be consulted with regard to re-rating the belongings.

Reserve Fund Considerations

Before you decide on a deck coating, you will want to discover what all of your charges of ownership absolutely can be. There is brand new price of purchasing the product and there is the following day’s value of future upkeep to consider as well. Selecting a high upkeep deck coating can effect your Associations dues and reserve needs for years yet to come. For example, if a coating required a clean and reseal each 2-3 years to preserve your assurance, how lots would that cost whenever and multiply that over the expected life span. A low price on installation should easily become a high value upkeep nightmare for the subsequent 30 years.

Ask the contractors bidding on your paintings to offer you with a “at today’s expenses, how an awful lot would it not fee to easy and reseal your coating, primarily based at the square pictures we’ve at our complex?” Compare each different coating’s fees to clean and reseal it and multiply that component out over its predicted lifestyles. The deck machine you choose need to have a 25-30+ year life expectancy, just like most roof structures. Compare the distinction and determine for your self wherein you want that cash to move-into your reserves for a few other thing’s reserve desires or in your contractor. Your reserve study preparer can be a precious supply of facts too and ought to modify your Association’s reserve look at while you positioned a new machine down or reseal your present system.

Important Considerations When Choosing a Contractor

When it comes to deciding on a contractor to put in the deck device you’ve selected, it’s far crucial which you make the proper desire. Often instances a Board will choose what seems to be the least pricey contractor. That could backfire to your Association if that contractor isn’t always well certified, insured and bonded and an twist of fate passed off even as the contractor’s body of workers is on the activity website at your HOA.

Ask your contractor to offer you with this information and test it! Call their Insurance Company as listed on the shape they have furnished. Look up on the internet web site of the California Contractors State Licensing Board at http://www.Cslb.Ca.Gov for their license fame and sophistication, bonding and people reimbursement records. Ask them to call the Association and your management firm as an extra insured on their liability insurance. Note, in the event that they can not call you as a further insured, their coverage service may not insure them when working on condominiums. While you can not be named as a further insured on workers reimbursement, you may be named as a celebration in hobby and be informed if any adjustments occur to their workers comp coverage. Consult your chance manager for in addition records on protecting your Association in opposition to viable claims.

Whatever you do, don’t allow any contractor onto the Associations belongings to paintings until you have all their information in vicinity.

References. Your contractor must be willing to provide references for paintings much like yours that they have got completed recently. You ought to also ask if you can go to the jobs which are on the reference listing. Talk to the supervisor, the residents or the general contractor who ran the process about the firm you’re considering the usage of.

You should additionally ask to examine jobs that are numerous or more years vintage. This will can help you see how well the coatings they applied have held up. Ask the producer’s sales representative approximately the firm you are thinking about and what their revel in has been with the contractor.


Once you as a supervisor or Board member understand what to look for, you needn’t worry the worst on the subject of your decks. Proactive is the important thing phrase, performing the essential renovation before the deck becomes a trouble.
Just just like the rest of the Associations renovation needs, incorporating the decks right into a normal protection schedule will keep heartache, time and money.

Information deemed dependable however not guaranteed. Check with the producer of your deck coating for up to date guarantee and care facts.