Oh, my poor deck. The last two summers really did a number on it, with temperatures topping 112 degrees, followed by winters with low windchills of -22 degrees and record snowfalls. Kansas is a rough place.
Although I regularly waterseal my deck with either Thompsons or Behr, after the last couple years, my deck was weathered and cracked and generally sad looking.
|More sad railing|
I just didn't feel like sealing it again would do the trick this time. I know a lot of folks are opposed to painting decks, but I really felt this was on its last legs, and was willing to sacrifice seeing the wood grain if it meant I could preserve the deck for a bit longer and hide some of the deep cracks.
Again, full disclaimer, I am not an expert, just a random person. You should check with an expert if you are going to do this, and if you follow my lead and break your deck, don't blame me.
Deck Restore vs. DeckoverThere were two options that I explored: Synta Deck Restore and Behr Deckover. When I saw the samples in person, I felt like the Deckover looked a little more attractive. For some reason, the Deck Restore leaves a dotted texture that I wasn't sure I would enjoy. They both looked better than what I was starting with, though. The prices seemed comparable when you compare square footage covered. Both claim to cover cracks up to 1/4" thick (mine topped 1/2", so I knew I wouldn't get total recovery with either), both create a slip resistant finish, cover splinters, and they both claim to last many years.
I decided to go with the Behr Deckover. The color I chose was Cappuccino:
Preparation:It's the same standard instructions you are used to: strip any peeling paint (I had none), clean thoroughly with a deck cleaner, allow to dry. I used the Behr All in One Wood Cleaner and a bristle brush. The deck dried pretty quickly in the Kansas sun.
Application Process"Was it easy to apply?" my friend asked me the next week. Well, yes and no. The application steps are simple, but I wouldn't say easy. It was a lot more labor intensive than staining, but then again you are going for a more full coverage. If it truly lasts as long as it says it will (5 to 10 years), it would be worth it. But get a friend to help you, really. It will go a lot faster.
The basic steps I took, plus commentary:
- Fill in cracks up to 1/4" thick using a brush:
- There were so many cracks! This took a lot longer than anticipated.
- Some of the cracks seemed to "puff" up the next day too. Did I use too much, or is Kansas just too hot? The temperatures were within the range recommended (50 to 90 degrees) when applied.
- Railings and spindles took half a day and a gallon of Deckover by themselves.
- If I had to do it over, I may have skipped the spindles, and just used regular paint on those.
- This stuff has the consistency of pudding, applies thickly and dries very quickly. You know how when you are painting, you sometimes will work on a small area, and then do a long stroke to even out a larger area? You can't do that with Deckover. The long stroke will muck up the paint an inch over that has already started to dry. Very peculiar.
- Deck floor was much faster, since you can use a roller, but the coverage didn't seem as good as the brush.
- Again, this dries very quickly, so I would recommend putting a very small amount in your pan at a time. When we put a normal amount in the tray, it would form a film in a matter of minutes.
- This ended up being overnight, since it was so late by the time we were done.
- Before we began applying the second coat, I was inspecting the deck and was very disappointed to see a few spots peeling... I hoped a second coat would take care of it. The consistency of this product is very strange, after all, and I know that a full cure takes 3 days.
- Applying the second coat was a lot less pleasant due to the fact that Deckover gets really hot after application. So the first coat reflected a lot more heat than the bare deck did... When I touched it with my hand it was painfully hot. Consequently, I was burning up by the time I was done, and looked like a beet with hair (my body prefers to turn lobster red rather than allowing me to sweat like a normal human). I don't think I would walk barefoot on this stuff during direct sunlight hours.
The lighting during the brightest part of the day makes it seem brighter, so I will include several shots with different degrees of sun:
|Former sad railing, improved|
|Looks really bright here, in direct sunlight.|
Previous pictures are more true to color.
Now, I am happy with how the deck turned out for the most part, but the color I chose was cappuccino...
I think it turned out a bit lighter (and pinker?) than this. What do you think?
ReviewI am going to wait for a bit to decide if I am ultimately happy with this product. Can it really withstand our weather extremes? Here is a summary of the pros and cons so far:
- I do like the finished look, and I feel like the deck is more protected from the elements.
- The product appears to have covered small cracks, as promised. The bigger cracks still show, but I had measured several at 1/2" or more, so I wasn't expecting a miracle there.
- The deck is much more pleasant to walk on. Smoother, no splinters, very comfortable for bare feet (except when very hot during the afternoon).
- If it truly lasts for 5 to 10 years, it will be a really good deal.
- The deck definitely feels hotter when in direct sunlight. I am glad I didn't choose a darker color.
- Speaking of colors, I don't feel like I really got "cappuccino." It looks more terra cotta. I am okay with it, but others who are trying to match something exactly might be frustrated by this.
- I am worried about the peeling I noticed after applying the first coat. I hope this doesn't mean there will be problems down the line. After spending several hundred dollars and a weekend working on this (complete with sunburn), I do not want to have to repeat my efforts anytime soon.
- As I mentioned, it was hard to get an even application, since the product dried so quickly (and became lumpy in the process). So, if you are a perfectionist, it may not suit your needs... there are spots where you can see the imperfections.
|See what I mean?|
- Also, this was weird... After the product cured, even though my deck is close to 20 years old, sap started to seep out of the paint in a few spots. I have never seen that from my deck before! I don't know that this is Deckover's fault, but it was a strange happening.
Anyhow, that is my story. I will keep you posted as to how the deck holds up. Maybe I will do an update post here and there. And maybe someday I will be able to replace the deck with composite. How nice would that be? Any volunteers to help me build one when the time comes?
People have been asking for updates... click below for one year and two year updates!
**Update, One Year Later**
**Update, Two Years Later**