Skip to content

Urethane vs Acrylic: Your Deck Coating Resource

Maintaining a healthy deck should be just as important as maintaining the rest of your home. So when it comes to deck coatings, which one is best for your deck needs? Here’s a look at urethane vs acrylic.

Urethane vs Acrylic: Your Deck Coating Resource - All Climate Roofing

Your deck is a place for entertaining and relaxing, but it’s also an investment. To start, you’ll need to pay the initial fees of having it designed and installed. From there you’ll want to spend some extra funds on keeping it maintained. One way to protect it from the usual wear and tear involves applying a protective coat or finish.

Specifically, a deck coat will safeguard against scratches, sun damage, and rotting. As you might imagine, a rotted or scratched deck can cost a lot to repair. Your best course of action is to simply apply a protective coat beforehand.

You may want to protect a brand new deck or something that’s already seen some wear. Either way, you have a variety of materials to choose from. In most cases, a professional will recommend either an urethane or acrylic blend.

So, how do you decide between urethane vs acrylic?

Deck Coating Layers

Having a deck is one of the great joys of home ownership and can facilitate the enjoyment of your space during warmer months. Just like other spaces in your home, your deck needs regular maintenance in order to prolong its lifespan and protect its condition. Outdoor deck coatings, whether urethane or acrylic, keeps your deck safe from scratches, sun damage, and moisture.

If your area is made of wood, you can forestall rotting, the material becoming brittle and falling apart. Repairing a damaged deck, or rebuilding one altogether, is very costly. Properly installed and maintained deck coatings can safeguard against this expense.

Your outdoor deck coatings will have several layers, with the top ones providing the waterproofing as well as protecting the lower sections. Usage abrasion, such as rips, holes, and/or burns, as well as constant exposure to the elements, will contribute to the maintenance needs of your deck. If you keep your area properly maintained, you will be swapping out the disappearing top layers as needed (approximately every few years), and your lower layers could potentially last a lifetime.

Urethane vs Acrylic Outdoor Deck Coatings

These two types of material coatings are among the most popular choices for property owners. The choice of one versus the other will vary depending on your unique needs, with one of the main differences being that urethane can withstand water exposure because it is solvent-based.

Acrylic coatings are water based, by contrast, so the material may break down if comes into contact with rain or water (especially important to avoid before the layer has dried). They are, however, cheaper than urethane coatings, so they are popular in places with warmer climates. Other selling points include being easy to clean and minimal odor and toxin emissions.

Urethane benefits include a longer lifespan in general and a superior toughness overall.

Choosing the right outdoor deck coatings, as well as keeping your outdoor sphere updated regularly, can be guided with the help of a professional. Making this a priority ensures you can delight in your deck for years to come.

Urethane Coatings: Pros and Cons

Urethane coatings have a few of the same advantages associated with their acrylic counterparts. For example, the material also looks glossy and emits fewer odors. That being said, this product is generally solvent-based.

This results in some different features, such as:

  • Strong resistance to traffic.
  • Toughness, flexibility, and less risk of chipping over time.
  • Less vulnerability to spotting and discoloration.
  • Ability to level out well-making it a great product for metal.
  • Ability to adhere to previous finishes.
  • No susceptibility to water damage.

As with any product, there are a few disadvantages to keep in mind.

For example, urethane coatings may:

  • Pose fire hazards.
  • Trap water during application-creating cracking or bubbling.
  • Cost more.
  • Have a plastic-like appearance, which doesn’t always look great on wood applications.

Of course, the market has a variety of urethane products to choose from. Depending on the blend, you may lose or gain some of these disadvantages. Your best course of action is to consult with a professional as you seek a material.

Urethane vs Acrylic: Your Deck Coating Resource - All Climate Roofing

Acrylic Coatings: Pros and Cons

Acrylic coats are water based and among the most popular materials on the market.

A few of this coat’s advantages include:

  • Fewer odor and toxin emissions.
  • Lower price tag.
  • Easy to clean (with soap and water).
  • Good color retention.
  • Shiny and polished; great for concrete.
  • Resistant to UV damage.

Because this material is water based, applying the coating can prove tricky. If rain or water touches the deck before the coat has dried, the material may run.

Other disadvantages include:

  • Inability to hold up well in cold weather.
  • Poor bonding; shorter life span.
  • Softer finish.
  • Higher susceptibility to marks from shoes.

Because we live in a warmer climate, the disadvantages of acrylic coatings are pretty minimal. In fact, this material reigns as one of the most popular in the area.

Choosing a Product and Preparing for Application

A variety of factors will impact your ultimate decision.

You’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I in search of a natural-looking finish?
  • Is my deck covered?
  • What’s my deck made out of: concrete, lumber, or vinyl?
  • Is the deck low to the ground?
  • Has the surface been previously coated?

A professional can answer your questions and provide needed information. Once you decided on a product, you’ll want to prepare your deck for application.

Generally speaking, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Purchase enough of the material for two or more coats.
  • Consider refinishing the deck and repairing any damages.
  • Sand down the surface of the deck to allow for greater adherence.

Because we live in a sunnier climate, applying more than one coat is almost always a necessity. Your decking consultant can evaluate the surface of your deck. From there, he or she will determine exactly how many coats your deck needs.

Urethane vs Acrylic: Your Deck Coating Resource - All Climate Roofing