Deck Coatings & Their Care

Waterproof deck coatings and Condominiums seem to head hand in hand in California. It appears that almost each HOA complicated has them, both over a residing area or connected off a room. Residents love them due to the fact their decks are frequently used as some other room of the house, owners and executives of earnings assets typically detest them because of the problems that appear to always come at the side of them.

Some proprietors and bosses are seeking for to reduce their publicity to these problems with the aid of in search of to alternate the CC&R’s, making owners chargeable for these one-of-a-kind use areas. Other Boards simply positioned their heads in the sand, repairing decks as a complaint is available in, normally with the naked minimal of labor to stop the deck from leaking. Smart managers and Boards will address the trouble head on, looking to get their deck troubles under manipulate proper away. As a former HOA supervisor, I saw first hand how ignoring maintenance on waterproof decks might be very steeply-priced.

The price of a new waterproof coating isn’t cheap, however the cost of repairing dry-rotted framing supporting the deck is lots worse. An Association I managed signed a agreement for resurfacing 8 decks in Pismo Beach. That settlement grew to become from an $8,000.00 + resurfacing into over $100,000.00 in dry-rot repairs when it turned into throughout. The Association had deferred the maintenance required by using the producer for several years past the endorsed upkeep agenda, permitting the floor to degrade to the factor where water became able to penetrate into the framing and rot it from the inner out.


The key to stopping decks from turning into a hassle is in examining the decks. Often instances the manager and or the Board will stroll the Associations not unusual location property for inspection of the additives the Association is liable for. Typical objects that are checked are downspouts and gutters; the circumstance of the paint on the homes, the roof and some thing else can be with no trouble regarded from the road and sidewalks. As water proofed decks are normally on the second one or 1/3 ground, they typically are never inspected. Access thru the home is difficult to set up with owners and what supervisor or Board member surely desires to climb a ladder?

Therefore, the decks simply linger via themselves, by no means honestly idea of till an proprietor calls to say that water is dripping into their home from the deck above them for the duration of the biggest rainstorm of the season. Then the deck hassle raises it’s unsightly head, inflicting the manager to enter crisis control mode, calling a handyman out to temporarily cover the deck, awaiting a deck enterprise to come out and observe it, getting the Board to approve the restore, all of which can take a month or more. The owner is annoyed because their deck leaks, the manager is annoyed due to the fact he or she hears from the owner 2-3 times with court cases, the deck company is commonly busy with plenty of leak calls and it takes all the time to get something finished that therapies the trouble.

Frequent (at least as soon as consistent with 12 months) inspections will assist eliminate issues. Catching small troubles before they emerge as massive problems can store vast sums of cash from having to be spent on framing maintenance due to leaks. Summer is a really perfect time to look into decks, it is not raining and there is a while before the wintry weather storms start anew to get bids and make wished maintenance. The inspection needn’t be a difficult factor to do; there are numerous things to search for that a layman can spot quite effortlessly. If the Association or management firm has a deck business enterprise that they agree with, possibly hiring them as an outside source to carry out the inspections would paintings well. Digital cameras may be used to offer photograph documentation of the situations discovered, allowing the manager and Board to get an exact concept of the problems that they may be going through.

When doing all your personal inspections, it is going to be helpful to understand what type of deck coating is on the decks. A logo call facilitates, but extra importantly, knowing what form of material has been applied is higher. Elastomeric, urethane, lightweight concrete and floating structures are standard coating materials in use on many decks. In understanding what kind deck coating you’ve got, you may be capable of know how regularly the deck will want to be maintained.

Warning signs and symptoms to search for in your deck inspection include cracks within the deck coating, nails popping via the coating from the subsurface, delaminating paint and bubbles inside the coating floor. Any of these items determined is an indication that the water-resistant surface has been compromised. Owners have to be seeking out these warning signs too, as well as seeking out stains on their ceiling or walls inside the domestic under their deck. Metal flashing may be checked for signs of rust, pulling unfastened from the deck coating or if it’s far bent or damaged.

If you find those issues on a deck, a easy check of the situation of the substrate below can be completed by way of using your foot to test for softness. Be careful, it may be so tender that your foot should undergo the deck in a worst-case situation! Soft substrate is indicative of what will be a larger hassle underneath, dry-rotted framing and/or termites. The other warm button in contemporary HOA international is mold and mould. This may additionally exist beneath also.

Another element to look for while acting inspections is checking to look what’s on the deck-plants, tables, umbrellas, grills, carpet, etc. Table legs, grills, sharp items and high heels can harm gentle 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 plants. Softer deck coatings are not continually able to have those objects in direct touch with the coating, often caster cups will need to be used to shield the coating.

Indoor/outdoor carpet is often placed down on a deck with the aid of an uninformed proprietor, commonly to cowl over an ugly, degrading deck surface. This is the worst thing an proprietor can do to their deck as it locks in any moisture trapped under, which may additionally permit dry-rot to set in.

Charcoal grills can drop hot coals onto the surface, burning through the water resistant layers of tender deck coatings. Grease from gas and charcoal grills will stain the deck, if no longer wiped clean off quickly after spilling.


Maintenance is the important thing to an extended lasting deck. I have visible decks which can be designed to last 25-30 years with right care, which are ruined past repair within five-10 years after being installed due to ignoring or delaying the protection it desires.

Just like a automobile, deck coatings need to be washed sometimes. A exact cleansing will rinse dust away which could put on down the coating. Just just like the buildings, the deck desires to be painted/resealed on the agenda encouraged by way of the producer. All waterproof coatings sealant desires to be renewed, every so often as frequently as every -3 years. The topcoat is a specialised paint/sealer, formulated to guard and seal the underneath layer (which is wherein the waterproofing cloth is). The topcoat is normally applied on the rate of about eight-10 mils thick, by means of brush, curler or spray. UV (solar) rain and foot traffic will wear this defensive layer away at a charge of three mils according to 12 months. Even although the deck may additionally look pretty true and the paints color remains there, through yr 3 there’s little protection afforded to the under layer. Continued deferred protection is the beginning of the quit of the decks usable life, regularly ensuing in expensive repairs.

As a wellknown rule, tender deck coatings (urethanes, elastomeric’s and floating systems) will need greater frequent upkeep than tough concrete primarily based deck coatings. They actually have a more hazard of failing upfront if they’re no longer maintained as encouraged. Concrete based systems are generally extra forgiving if not maintained in keeping with the producer’s time table. Consult with the manufacturer or deck coating installer if you aren’t certain what you have got.

Selecting a New Deck Coating System.

To assist Boards and their managers in getting the best deal for their money, here are some ideas to place into use when bidding for new coatings to resume the old coatings at your Associations.

As usually, you’ll want to get as a minimum 2-3 companies to bid your process. Arrange a domain visit wherein all bidders can come on the equal time and evaluation the task, they are able to ask questions that each one of them can get the equal answer to. Having their respective producer’s sales consultant overview the job will be beneficial too. The sales consultant ought to write the specs for the contractor to apply to bid on.

Ask each contractor bidding your work what deck system they are proposing to put in. Tufflex, Mer-Kote, Pacific Polymers, Dex-O-Tex, Desert Brand and Life Deck are common emblem names. Watch out for deck coatings that are not proprietary systems, synthetic with the aid of a bona fide chemical company. Some deck corporations “cook dinner up” their very own deck coatings, in search of to decrease their fees on materials. While a few companies who do this will have a coating machine that works quite properly, there might not be any manufacturer’s help if any troubles rise up earlier than, for the duration of or after the set up.

Ask your installer to provide you with the producer’s information, together with their name, deal with and cellphone quantity. Don’t be afraid to name the producer and communicate with that company’s sales consultant. Ask them to make a site visit, write the specifications for the work vital, then assessment the work at some stage in and after the installation and offer you with a written warranty.

When deciding on your deck device, there are a whole lot of choices available. Since it’s also hard to get an “apples to apples” bid with 2 or 3 contractors all bidding the same system, the hassle is compounded whilst you are evaluating exceptional coating systems. Each gadget might also provide benefits and downsides over the other. What works exceptional on concrete decks might not paintings so properly over a plywood/OSB* substrate deck.

* Some producers will now not assurance their product over OSB, which isn’t always diagnosed as appropriate substrate by using the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO). Be sure to invite your bidders whether that is the case with their product. Others might also supply a unique exemption if conditions warrant.

Urethanes, elastomeric’s, floating structures and lightweight acrylic structures are commonly heard terms in describing deck-coating structures. Understanding what you’re shopping for is crucial on your challenge’s success. Many coating merchandise could have lengthy curing times, necessitating keeping the decks closed for a protracted period of time, now and again for twenty-four hours. Does your Association have residents who might be adversely affected by being locked in or out in their domestic, now and again for days while a new gadget is being mounted? Some may additionally have odors associated with the curing and alertness system, odors that may be rather offensive or poisonous. Do you have residents that would suffer from those smells? Ask your contractor about access to the house, particularly if the decks they’ll be running on are entryways into the house. Urethane deck coatings mainly are infamous for robust odors associated with the curing system. It’s better to find out in advance of time that a product may be pungent so that you can provide word to citizens.

A query you need replied from every bidder is whether your preservation body of workers can provide destiny preservation to the deck or if the deck installer must provide those offerings. Some manufacturer’s warranties may require that most effective a certified installer renew the topcoat. Others might not have that requirement. Is your Association installation with onsite preservation personnel or an out of doors source that might reapply sealer for the Association?
You need to also ask the contractor what could/should occur to their deck coating if the Association did not maintain it consistent with agenda. The painted topcoat is commonly eight-10 mils thick with two coats implemented. All deck coatings topcoat will put on down from foot site visitors, solar, rain and so on. On some systems, while this takes place, it exposes the smooth beneath layer (where the waterproofing substances are generally) to speedy degradation.

Other Items to Consider

While deck coatings are one component to take into account, there are different gadgets to don’t forget which can fee quite a piece of cash too. Flashings for example. Generally there are kinds of flashing to be observed at the deck-L metal flashings that look similar to an L and drip area flashings. Each plays a key function in waterproofing your decks.

L metallic flashing is discovered at the wall to deck junction. It is once in a while hard to spot as it can were painted over. It continues water out at this very important place. Drip part flashing is the second one kind of flashing generally discovered on decks. It is determined on the outer edge of the deck. A small bend on the lowest lip will kick water faraway from the deck because it runs off.

You want to understand if your flashing is like minded with any new coatings you’re considering. It may not be because of it’s being rusted, improperly set up or that it in reality does now not meet the manufacturer’s specs to use water-proof coatings too. Removal of L metallic flashing can often be costly, regarding removal of stucco or wood siding to access it. Repairs by means of different trades may be required for your siding. Drip area flashing is normally now not as highly-priced to do away with and replace as it also includes pretty handy, but, operating round railings, posts and so forth. Can push the fee up if get entry to is tough. Are costs of alternative protected to your bid? Beware of bids that do not consist of those objects or assure you that the flashings meet specs for the coating you are making use of. Beware the contractor who, after getting into an agreement with you, may additionally then tell you that they “want a change order as your flashings don’t meet specification.” This is an ordinary “gotcha” wherein they are able to upload excessive income onto the bid when you’re caught having to make emergency selections. Again, ask the manufacturer’s consultant to cope with this in their scope of labor.

Door thresholds, entry door and display door clearances are any other object to think about. You may additionally need to finances for shaving doorways down or elevating threshold heights while applying a new coating over an vintage coating.

Replacement or restore of substrate under the deck coatings is another item that may quick upload up, frequently exceeding the fee of the coating work itself. A thorough inspection can commonly find any soft spots below the coating that imply weak rotted plywood/OSB board. A good estimate will consist of allowances for alternative of plywood, putting off most surprises. What no one can predict without damaging trying out is to what extent does the damage go? Soft plywood is one element, rotted framing helping the deck is absolutely another. Remember the Pismo Beach condominiums described above? An $8,000.00 contract turned into $a hundred,000 + in upkeep to framing and almost eight months of time before the owners may want to use their decks once more. Damaged framing ought to be repaired before setting a new coating on-there’s no sense in throwing money away as the brand new coating will handiest fail because the deck supports fail too.

Insurance need to also take delivery of attention-some deck coatings, while implemented without delay over plywood, will carry an ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials) Class A and a One Hour hearth rating. Your prices can also drop if you practice a coating that meets the rating criteria. Inquire together with your deck employer as to whether their coating is ICBO rated for Class A Fire resistance and if it’s miles one hour rated. Existing coatings may additionally want to be removed first to achieve this score. Your insurance agent/underwriter have to additionally be consulted in regards to re-score the assets.

Reserve Fund Considerations

Before you decide on a deck coating, you will need to discover what all your expenses of possession surely will be. There is today’s value of purchasing the product and there’s the following day’s fee of future maintenance to think about as properly. Selecting a excessive preservation deck coating can effect your Associations dues and reserve wishes for future years. For instance, if a coating required a easy and reseal every 2-3 years to keep your guarantee, how much would that fee every time and multiply that over the expected life span. A low price on set up may want to without problems become a excessive cost renovation nightmare for the subsequent 30 years.

Ask the contractors bidding on your work to offer you with a “at trendy expenses, how plenty would it fee to clean and reseal your coating, primarily based on the square pictures we have at our complex?” Compare each exceptional coating’s charges to smooth and reseal it and multiply that aspect out over its expected existence. The deck gadget you pick out must have a 25-30+ 12 months lifestyles expectancy, similar to maximum roof systems. Compare the difference and determine for your self where you need that money to head-into your reserves for some other component’s reserve needs or in your contractor. Your reserve observe preparer can be a treasured source of information too and ought to adjust your Association’s reserve have a look at whilst you placed a new system down or reseal your existing gadget.

Important Considerations When Choosing a Contractor

When it comes to selecting a contractor to put in the deck gadget you’ve decided on, it’s far crucial that you make the right choice. Often times a Board will pick out what appears to be the least steeply-priced contractor. That could backfire on your Association if that contractor isn’t well certified, insured and bonded and an coincidence occurred even as the contractor’s team of workers is on the process web page at your HOA.

Ask your contractor to provide you with this statistics and take a look at it! Call their Insurance Company as listed at the shape they have furnished. Look up on the net site of the California Contractors State Licensing Board at http://www.Cslb.Ca.Gov for his or her license repute and class, bonding and workers compensation records. Ask them to call the Association and your management company as a further insured on their liability insurance. Note, if they can not call you as an additional insured, their coverage carrier might not insure them when working on condominiums. While you can’t be named as an additional insured on employees repayment, you could be named as a party in hobby and be knowledgeable if any adjustments occur to their employees comp coverage. Consult your hazard supervisor for similarly facts on protecting your Association towards feasible claims.

Whatever you do, do not permit any contractor onto the Associations property to paintings until you have got all their information in region.

References. Your contractor should be willing to offer references for work just like yours that they have got completed these days. You need to additionally ask if you can visit the roles which might be on the reference listing. Talk to the manager, the residents or the overall contractor who ran the task about the firm you’re thinking about the use of.

You have to additionally ask to examine jobs that are numerous or extra years antique. This will let you see how properly the coatings they implemented have held up. Ask the producer’s sales consultant approximately the company you’re considering and what their enjoy has been with the contractor.


Once you as a manager or Board member recognise what to look for, you needn’t worry the worst when it comes to your decks. Proactive is the important thing word, appearing the vital upkeep before the deck turns into a problem.
Just like the rest of the Associations preservation wishes, incorporating the decks right into a normal preservation schedule will shop heartache, time and money.

Information deemed dependable but no longer guaranteed. Check with the producer of your deck coating for up to date guarantee and care records.

Bill Leys is a licensed contractor inside the state of California, concentrating on the area of expertise subject of putting in water-proof deck coatings on new residential, tract and custom houses, as well as rehab work on growing older condominiums. Bill was an authorized Homeowner Association Manager, and now owns a consulting and inspection company, imparting services to the HOA, constructing and architectural trades. Bill is the writer of several articles on decking, has appeared as a speaker at CAI, ECHO and APRA subsidized activities and has a direction permitted by CAI for continuing education credit for CAI licensed managers.

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