I am asked all the time
“ How do I maintain my nice new deck installed by Fluid Floors?”
Whether you have a Tufflex deck installed by Fluid Floors or any other waterproof deck installed by others, we’d like to share some simple steps that you can take to care for your deck. You can extend the life or your deck to last 25-30 years or more by following these steps. Remember that all urethane coatings, just like paint and stains, will need to be renewed periodically to keep the integrity of your base coat intact and for proper waterproof deck maintenance.
Periodic Physical Inspections
These should be conducted at least yearly and should only take 10 minutes or less, depending on the size of your deck. This can be done by simply walking your deck and looking for the following:
- Check for proper adhesion at all areas where a horizontal surface meets a vertical (deck surface meeting the wall of the building). Look for any cracking or the coating pulling away from the wall. There should always be deck to wall flashing, also called L flashing at these areas, so look for any lifting or deterioration of the flashing.
- Check the underside of the deck, where possible for any signs of leaks.
- Inspect all drains or scuppers to be sure that nothing is clogging them to avoid ponding water on your deck’s surface.
- Check all joints for nail pops.
- Check surface for bubbling.
- Inspect the surface of areas subject to high abrasion like exit ramps, start and stop areas, etc. Look for signs of excessive wear.
How often you need to clean will depend on where you deck is located and the surrounding environment. A deck on the north side of a home, for instance, will be much more susceptible to the green, mossy and very slippery layer that forms on the surface. It will need cleaning more often than the deck on the south side without any trees around.
- Sweep as often as needed to remove dirt and debris. Dirt buildup can trap water so this simple step helps quite a bit.
- Pressure washing every 3-6 months is recommended to remove mossy buildup and dirt.
Here’s what you need to know before you turn on the pressure washer:
- Do all the doors leading to the deck have a door pan? If Fluid Floors installed your deck then they do. If you don’t know and can’t tell then it would be wise to protect the bottom section of your door with plastic or something to prevent the water from pressure washing from going underneath the threshold and into your house.
- Next, you want to keep the pressure under 2000 psi.
- Use a 15-25 degree tip about 6-8 inches off the deck.
- It is also important to know the brand of urethane coating on your deck. It should be urethane produced by a chemical company like Tufflex, Pacific Polymers, Westcoat, Dex-O-Tex, or Polycoat. Other products may be inferior and peel up when pressure washing. If you are not sure about your deck surface we recommend scrubbing.
- Scrubbing the deck with T.S.P. or Simple Green, a biodegradable detergent in another acceptable cleaning method. Scrub and rinse well. Not all stains will come out no matter how hard you try. This will not impair the waterproofing of the urethane, however. If your urethane deck coating is nearing the 5 year mark your best solution may be to re-coat it.
- Snow Removal is something we don’t usually have to worry about. On the occasion that we do get 18” or more of snow, removal of the piled snow is recommended to prevent structural damage to your deck that can be very expensive to repair. Be gentle and use a plastic snow shovel so you don’t tear your coating.
Renewing Your Deck
We mentioned that all decks need to be renewed periodically. Waterproofing is in your base coat. Topcoat preserves the base coat so it's pretty important to take good care of that topcoat. Ignoring your deck for 5 years or more can lead to water intrusion and costly repairs. We recommend re-coating every 5 years. However, that can vary depending on the environment of your deck and the type of traffic that it receives. It may need to be sooner if your deck is used commercially and receiving a lot of traffic. Or, your deck may be under cover and only need to be recoated every 10 years. Replacing a deck coating is much less expensive than fixing framing and dry rot. An inspection is free of charge so call us today.
Now Let’s Talk About What is on Your Deck
Your Tufflex Deck is very durable so it should be a space to use and enjoy frequently. We are confident that you can use your urethane deck as an extension of your home. You can put furnishings, planters, and a barbecue on your deck and prolong the life of it.
Follow These Simple Steps:
- Keep bird feeders away from your deck. The oils in bird seed are very destructive to the urethane topcoat.
- BBQ’s can drip grease on your deck. Wipe the spills up immediately. If left, the grease can destroy your coating in a short time. Remember to keep hot items away from the surface of your deck as they can burn a hole in your deck.
- Cedar planters can stain the deck permanently. We suggest keeping all planters off the deck surface via casters or some similar method.
- Many door mats have a rubber backing or tannins that can cause texture changes and/or discoloration to your coating. We recommend doormats sold through The Rope Company. They are nondestructive to the surface of your deck and hold up very well in our wet pacific northwest. They are also resistant to mold and mildew.
- Some people will try to use deck cleaning solutions sold at hardware stores. These are not recommended for a urethane deck and may contain bleach which will destroy or discolor your deck.
- Never put down indoor/outdoor carpeting or rugs on your deck. This can trap water and is destructive to your deck.
What to consider when shopping for furniture for your deck
Outdoor furniture can make your outdoor deck another room of your home. Here's a few things to think about before purchasing and placing your furniture.
- Inexpensive metal furniture might just leave rust stains on your deck. Rust does not wash off and can only disappear by re-coating.
- It may be worth the splurge to buy furnishings that are well constructed and finished with quality products that won’t leach onto your deck and stain it. While stains won’t harm your deck, they don’t add to your deck’s beauty.
- Lastly, remember that when moving anything on your deck, pick it up. Don’t drag it. Heavy furniture, especially with sharp metal edges, can tear through your coating.
- Now stop reading, go out and enjoy your beautiful deck!