Manufacturers agree, preparation, commonly referred to as “prep”, is the key to all installations of their products. Without the proper preparation, most system and coating installations will fail prematurely. We always recommend using a licensed contractor and meeting together throughout the preparation process. In this article, we will focus on deck preparation for concrete and plywood waterproofing systems.
Deck inspection is the first step for proper prep and this is the time to ask the most questions. What is the construction of the deck? Does the deck have the proper slope? Is there any damage? What type of drainage exists? Has there been a coating or waterproofing system previously installed? If so, what is that coating or system? What is the purpose of the deck, ie; walkway, entertainment, parking, relaxing? And, of course, these questions will probably have follow up questions depending on the answers.
During the deck inspection, be sure that there is a 2% slope (1/4 inch drop per linear foot away from the structure.) Water flowing back to the structure is a popular cause of deck system failures. Design your flashing accordingly, inspecting thresholds and stucco weep screeds. Make sure all water flow goes to any drains and/or the end of the deck away from the structure.
Identify & Repair
Damage of the substrate should always be repaired. Be sure to identify all damage and repair appropriately. A weak substrate will ultimately result in a weak waterproof system. For plywood decks, replace any damaged joists, plywood, and thresholds. Delaminated concrete, large cracks, spalling, and pits should all be repaired before installation. Products like Life Specialty Coatings’ Life Deck product, LD-10, is designed to repair those damages.
Whether it’s a concrete or wood constructed deck, the deck surface must be prepared and ready to accept any waterproof coating. Removal of stains, dirt, debris, and any loose coatings is a must. Pressure washing a deck to be waterproofed is never recommended. Spot cleaning stains, scraping off residue or failing coatings, using a push broom or leaf blower are better methods of cleaning a deck.
Life Specialty Coatings has been manufacturing and selling waterproofing systems for almost 40 years. Our Life Deck Specialty Coatings brand is widely used and covers millions of square feet.