Subject: Deck Repair Guidance
Date: Wed, 22 May 2002
Dr. Rot, I have a deck that is four years old, it is made of 5/4"
pressure treated wood (pine). The 2 biggest issues I have are splintering
and cracking. It has become a big issue. My kids are getting slivers
and itís driving me slightly over the bend, but it goes beyond that
too. I feel that the deck is to new to rip up and replace with Trex.
My house faces north/south so the deck is constantly in sunlight. When
I first built it, it was treated with Flood Co. Seasonite. The next
year I applied Cabots. I know these 2 products are good, but they can
only do so much. My neighbors have the same problem. They rented a floor
sander, refinished the surface and re-coated it. I have heard this is
not a good idea, your thoughts? Basically, is there something (a product)
I can do to fill in the cracks and splinters so they do not pose a problem?
Again, I do not want to rip up my deck. Dimensions 16x25 upper and 12x16
Yes, your problem is a chronic one for decks with the kind of exposure you
describe. The sanding/refinishing will solve the problem for awhile,
but it will return.
And you're right that there are no common stains or finishes that will
stop this from happening. The problem occurs because of sun heat, and UV
light. UV light gradually degrades wood. The standard deck stains are
generally petroleum-based, and they degrade rather quickly under direct sunlight.
Unfortunately the only good solution is an opaque coating on the deck
surface, because that reflects back the sunlight and totally blocks
UV light. A standard paint will work, although not for long, and it
produces a slick surface. If you can tolerate the idea of an opaque
coating, we can suggest our RHINO TOP, ideally laid down over wood that
has been treated first with CPES for bonding and wood protection from
bacteria and fungi. There are several colors, and these can be lightened
by mixing one color with the white. It comes in a nonskid formula, the
sand already incorporated into the mix. It's water-based and goes down
easily. Two coats are required, with coverage being about 200 sq ft
per gallon. It can be spot retouched easily as required.
Beyond that, for a "permanent" 10++ year coating there is the Elasta-Tuff™ 6000-AL-HS.
Same colors. This is very tough stuff, and you add the sand to get the
nonskid. Expensive, though.
Cost is somewhat of an issue with these high-end coatings. I would guess
you would need 4 gallons of the CPES @ about $300.00, and then 6 gallons
of the RHINO-TOP at about $210.00. This would be your least-expensive
I wish there was a good answer for your problem, but there just isn't. There
are UV-resistant clear coatings, but they are basically nothing more
than marine-grade varnish, which goes for around $100.00/gallon, produces
a slick surface, requires at least 3 coats, and has to be completely
redone annually. Ask any boat-owner with topside varnish! We have a
home with two broad decks and they are doing the same exact thing yours
is. We are going to RHINO-TOP them this summer.
Hope this has been of some help, and please come back if you have
additional questions or comments.
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