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Properly Maintaining Deck Coatings

A deck coating is a protective traffic membrane applied to concrete surfaces that protects them from harmful substances like salt, de-icers, water, oils, and grease that can cause deterioration. Like any other system, a deck coating must be managed properly in order to maintain its peak performance.

Here are “5 Key Concepts” to properly maintaining a deck coating, which includes understanding deck coatings, performing regular power washing, communicating with the snowplow driver, getting familiar with the maintenance manual and re-upping the warranty.

What are Deck Coatings and Why Do People Use Them?

A deck coating creates a protective layer, almost like a solid rubber barrier, to keep contaminants from reaching the concrete’s surface. A deck coating typically consists of a primer and a base coat (waterproofing membrane) that keeps water from penetrating any cracks in the deck surface and corroding the steel underneath.

Perform Regular Power Washing

Power washing a deck coating is highly recommended and required by most warranties. Power washing should be performed at least twice a year, and typically after the winter to rinse off any salt and de-icers that may have been used or brought in by vehicles off the roadway.

The membrane surface is keeping salts and de-icers from reaching the concrete, but if the corrosive elements are allowed to sit on the surface and the coating is ever breached, it fails or develops a crack, the corrosive substances can easily penetrate. Salts and de-icers are corrosive to steel and can cause concrete delamination.

Communicate with Your Snow Plow Operator

Snowplowing that uses steel blades is an aggressive method of snow removal. Because deck coatings are made of elastomeric or flexible materials, they are soft and can be easily damaged by steel snowplow blades. Request that your snowplow company uses a rubber tip blade and rubber feelers on the sides to keep from damaging and creating gouges in the coating system.

Get Familiar with the Maintenance Manual

The coating system maintenance manual will give additional details on how to properly maintain the deck coating. In addition to regular power washing and using a rubber tip blade for snow removal, maintenance manuals will also recommend conducting a visual inspection annually with the contractor that installed it. The maintenance manual will give additional recommendations for extending the life of the deck coating, so it is wise to read it cover to cover.

Getting the Warranty Extended

Most deck coatings come with a five-year warranty. Most reputable manufacturers will give property managers an opportunity to evaluate the condition of the deck coating at the end of the five years, and if there were any warranty issues, have those fixed under the warranty prior to the warranty expiring. If the coating looks in good, sound condition, property managers can get an additional five-year warranty by doing a lesser system and coats. Installing a single wear course is about half the original cost of a deck coating installation per square foot.

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