It’s not only important to use waterproofing decking materials, but also to understand how to use these materials properly. Follow these tips.
Having a beautiful deck on your house gives you somewhere to relax in the warmer months outdoors, creates the perfect entertaining space, and can even add value to your house. To get the most out of it though, you need to take good care of it. Waterproofing your deck is essential, so here are some tips from the experts on how to waterproof your deck the right way.
Why Waterproof The Deck?
Your decking is made out of wooden materials, and at first these will look great and be solid when you stand on them. As the deck is outside though, it is exposed to the elements. Exposure to rain will lead to rotting and warping, if you haven’t taken any precautions.
Of course, this will detract from the look of your deck. As well as this, it’s also potentially dangerous. Water can lead to rot and mold, some of which you won’t be able to see. If you step on a rotted part of the deck, it can lead to injury.
As such, it’s important to waterproof your deck. It maintains your investment fore longer, and keeps everyone in your family safe.
1. Check For Water Damage
Before you even start waterproofing your deck, you will need to see if there’s any existing water damage. You’re looking for any signs of mold or rot, as these need to be dealt with quickly. If it has progressed, then that section of wood will need to be cut out and replaced.
It’s a good idea to look for any pest damage, such as termite damage, at this stage too. Don’t forget to look under the deck, to ensure there’s no damage here either.
2. Clean Your Deck First
No matter what kind of waterproofing materials you’re going to use, you need to ensure that your deck is clean first. If it isn’t, then waterproofing sealants and paints won’t be able to adhere to the deck properly.
Luckily, it’s not too difficult to clean your deck. Wait for a spell of dry days, and get to work. Clear away any loose debris and dirt with a stiff brush. Once this is done, you can start cleaning. You’ll need a deck cleaning solution which you can pick up in any hardware store. Most of the time this can be applied with a sponge or cloth, although stubborn stains can be attacked with a brush.
Rinse away any residual cleaner with a hose, and allow the deck to fully dry. Then, you can get started waterproofing it.
3. Install A Drainage System
If you have a second story deck, then using a drainage system may be a good idea for you. This allows diverting water away from the deck, keeping it as dry as possible. There are two different types of drainage systems available to you:
Over joist system: This is installed over the joists, stopping water from coming into contact with the deck at all.
Under joist system: These are installed below the deck, allowing water to trickle between the slats and run away from the deck.
You do need to take care if you use an under joist system, as improperly installed ones will not allow the wood to dry out, causing problems.
4. Install Flashing
This is a way of stopping water damage in your deck before it starts. Flashing works in very much the same way as your roofing flashing, by sealing up joins and gaps in the deck to stop water from making its way in. For decking, this comes in the form of a tape which you can install yourself.
Many tapes will come with a guarantee, so shop around and find one that offers you long lasting protection. Many homeowners like to use this in conjunction with other waterproofing methods, as it’s quite inexpensive.
5. Pick Between A Sealant And A Paint
When it comes to waterproofing your decking, there are two main options: painting or sealing it. Both offer similar benefits but give you a different look.
Painting the deck will give you an opaque seal that allows you to change the color of your decking if you so wish. Most good deck paints are rubberized, giving you a waterproof and slip resistant coating. A sealant, on the other hand, is usually semi translucent, allowing you to see the wood through it.
Pick the right waterproofing sealer for you, and you can get started waterproofing your deck.
6. Sand Your Deck
Before applying any kind of waterproofing, it’s a good idea to sand down the wood first. This is especially true if it’s an older deck that has been waterproofed in the past. It will remove the old finish, as well as creating the best surface as the sealant will be able to penetrate the wood. Remember to thoroughly clean any sawdust off the deck, before you move on to painting it.
7. Paint In Thin Layers
Once you’re ready to apply your sealant, it’s important to apply it in thin layers on the deck. Use a roller to apply it evenly, and work in sections, making sure you’re overlapping them. It’s important to use thin layers, as these will dry and cure better than one thick layer.
Allow the sealant to fully dry before you move any furniture back onto the deck. You can find out how long you need to leave it by checking the packaging instructions.
8. Keep The Deck Clear
Once you’ve resealed everything, you’ll want to keep the deck well maintained to maintain the waterproofing. Inspect it regularly, to ensure that no damage is occurring. Also, make sure you’re brushing debris off regularly. Debris like fallen leaves let moisture sit below them, causing problems.
9. The Right Waterproofing Decking Materials
With these tips you’ll be able to effectively take care of your deck, waterproofing it and protecting it from the elements. Regularly waterproofing your deck will improve its lifespan, so ensure that you’re using the right tools to protect it from water and the elements.