Waterproofing your deck might seem like an overwhelming job to many. However, it is a crucial part of maintaining your property and taking care of your home.
Luckily, if you know what you are doing and how to get it done, it doesn’t have to be such a stressful task.
In this article, we are going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to properly waterproof your deck using professional techniques. We’ll also explain the benefits of doing it right.
How to Waterproof Your Deck (The Right Way!)
Waterproofing your deck is extremely important for many reasons. You want to make sure you take the time to do it the right way and with the best techniques, tools, and materials available.
That is why we have prepared a step-by-step guide to help you get your decking job done right the first time around.
How to Waterproof Your Deck
Follow these instructions for a waterproof deck that will last a long time and be able to withstand some of the harshest outdoor weather conditions.
What You Need:
- Stain with your color of choice
- Waterproof sealant
- Garden hose or a power washer
- Paint roller
- Thin stick
- Deck cleaner
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
Step 1 – Inspect Your Deck
Before you add any paint, stain, or sealer on your deck – whether it’s a wooden deck or any other sort of deck surface – you want to first make sure it is safe and solid. You never want to put the time and effort into waterproofing a deck that is warping or is going to require repairs.
If you have decking boards that are rotting due to water saturation, growing mold or mildew, or starting to splinter, you should replace them before adding your product.
Step 2 – Prepare Your Space
Next, prepare the deck before adding any stain or formula. This will require a little elbow grease; grab your safety glasses and a bottle of water for this job.
First, pull out your sander and remove any old remaining stain or paint. This is very important because it will show through the new coating. You will need to sand the entire deck to eliminate splinting wood and revitalize the old wood for better absorption.
Step 3 – Rinse the Deck Off
Now it is time to grab the hose and spray away all of the dust, dirt, and debris. Grab a scraping tool if you need to remove any stuck-on gunk, mold, or sap.
There are deck cleaners available if you find yourself struggling to clean the wood.
Allow your deck time to dry – about 24 hours – before moving on to the next step. (If you do not give your deck enough time to dry, the sealant will not cure properly.)
Step 4 – Apply Your Waterproof Material
With a paint roller or paintbrush, apply an even coating of your sealer or stain to the wooden parts of your deck. Grab your headphones and put on your favorite music or podcast because it might take some time.
Once you are finished with the first coat, let it dry for up to 10 hours, depending on the product’s instructions.
Next, sand down the deck once more, provide a waterproof barrier in the wood, then apply another coating of stain or sealant.
After two or three coats, your deck should be just about complete. Let it cure for up to 48 hours before you reset your furniture or open it up to frequent use.
Why Should You Waterproof Your Deck?
Now that you know how to waterproof your deck, do you know why it is so important to do so? Obviously, we do it to keep water from seeping into our decks, but there are very important risks at play.
1. Extends the Life of Your Deck
When your deck is exposed to any type of moisture for long periods of time, that liquid will build up inside the wood and cause it to rot, break, and bow. This will lead to expensive repairs and might even require an entire deck replacement.
2. Fights the Elements
No matter where you live, chances are good ol’ mother nature provides you with plenty of water forms throughout the seasons, whether it is rain, snow, or ice.
If your deck is prepared before the weather comes, chances are good the weather won’t make any impact at all on the wood.
Even in a torrential downpour or through a record-breaking blizzard, once the snow melts and the water dries up, your porch will still be intact.
3. Increases Curb Appeal
Not only does waterproofing keep water from absorbing into the wood of your deck, but it also keeps the color from fading.
When you properly waterproof your deck, you are going to have a beautiful porch that all your neighbors will envy.
4. Increases Your Deck’s Durability
Waterproofing your deck is going to help increase its durability and make it a safer, more sound platform. This will also keep it from splitting and scuffing.
5. Eliminates Mold and Mildew Build-up
Any type of wood that isn’t treated has the ability to develop mold and mildew build-up, which will happen if the deck is frequently exposed to water.
Mold and mildew will stain your deck and make it look awful, as well as ruin the wood and cause it to crack and break.
To add to the damage, mold and mildew can create some serious health concerns, especially for those who are sensitive to mold spores or have allergies.
6. Protects Your Deck From the Sun’s Harmful Rays
Adding a waterproof seal to your porch will add a layer of protection from harmful UV rays that are known to discolor, break down, or stain your wood.
7. Helps Prevents Scuffs and Scratches
Another benefit of waterproof products is their ability to help keep scuffing and scratches to a minimum. These formulas help protect the wood and make it more difficult to ding up.
8. Saves The Wood From Insect Activity
Insects are a huge issue when it comes to damaging or invading wood, porches, and homes. When you add a layer of waterproof protection to your deck, insects will be discouraged from coming near the area.
These types of sealants will also make it nearly impossible for any type of insect to infiltrate, including the dreaded termites.
Things to Consider When Waterproofing Your Deck
Waterproofing your porch may seem very straightforward, and for the most part, it is. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before taking on such a big outdoor job if you decide to go the DIY route.
The process of waterproofing your deck can be dangerous, especially when you don’t take the proper precautions. Make sure to keep your safety glasses on when required, and remember that a lot of the products you use are strong chemicals and can cause irritation, rashes, or other reactions on your skin.
If you have asthma or plan on doing a lot of sanding, you may want to consider wearing a mask to protect your lungs while you work.
Also, keep an eye on your electrical tools and cords. You’ll want to avoid electrocution, tripping, and accidentally cutting wires.
Know What You’re Using
Before choosing a waterproof material, take the time to do a little research and make sure the option you use is the best product for your situation.
Know the difference between sealants, paints, and stains, and decide which one will work the best for you.
Protect Your Yard and Plants
Waterproof materials are chemicals that can cause severe damage to your grass and plants. If you are working anywhere near foliage, cover it up with a tarp, drop cloth, old sheets, or towels.
Watch the Weather
While waterproofing your deck is going to protect your wood once it is completed, it isn’t going to work until it is cured.
Because this process takes a few days, make sure the forecast for outside isn’t calling for any rain and the temperature isn’t going to skyrocket. If it gets too hot, the sealant will begin to evaporate before it can absorb into the wood. If it is raining out, it will not cure properly, and it won’t create the seal you are looking for.
Call a Professional
If you find you don’t have the time or aren’t sure you can handle such a large project on your own, feel free to give a local professional a call.
There is no shame in letting someone who is experienced in this type of work take over, and doing it this way will give you peace of mind knowing the job is done right.
If you don’t want the burden of replacing or repairing your deck frequently, you should consider taking the steps to waterproof your porch ASAP. Use the techniques listed above to get the best look and coverage possible.