I had thought about trying Deck Restore on our wood decks a couple of times after seeing the product advertised online. I was never really sure that the stuff could withstand our severe conditions in Alaska.
I was all ready to start pulling screws and demolishing the surface boards of two of our outdoor decks.
After eight years of high winds, punishing ice and cold, a little sun, and a lot of rain, our decks were in pretty sad shape. It was time for some serious rehab with all new treated wood.
Or was it? Maybe it was time to give the heavy-duty acrylic deck resurfacer, Deck Restore by Synta, Inc a try...
Alaskan weather is truly punishing for any exposed wood.
Unrelenting high winds can drive glacier silt like the world’s largest sandblasting chamber. Ice expands and contracts for months on end. The summers bring the onslaught of either 24 hour sun or long periods of wet.
Our decks, despite repeated coatings with sealant, looked horrible.
One entry porch had the added damage of being the stomping grounds of our rambunctious and high strung dog.
A thousand times a day, she runs up the steps to look in the glass door. She has to keep tabs on what is going on inside the house. Then just as many times each day, a bird, a squirrel, or the passing mail truck sends her careening at top speed down those same stairs.
Sand in her paws and doggy toenails would eat through a fresh coat of stain in a matter of weeks.
Synta, Inc. Deck Restore is a tinted heavy acrylic product with a coarse aggregate silica sand mixed in. The marketing material explains that it is not a paint, and not a stain, but something completely different.
According to the company, when applied to a wood or concrete surface, Deck Restore creates a tough, flexible coating that can seal cracks of up to 1/4 inch. The sand aggregate creates a non-slip surface suitable for stair treads and other wet surfaces.
Synta also makes an opaque acrylic stain product in matching colors to be used on deck rails and other vertical surfaces where the extreme wear resistance and nonslip surface is not needed.
The first issue to consider when purchasing Deck Restore is that it will take a great deal of product to completely coat your deck.
In past years, a gallon of regular deck stain would coat all three of my decks with enough left over to do the mailbox post.
Deck Restore, on the other hand, advertises that a two gallon kit (which comes with the special applicator roller) will cover 100 square feet in one coat. Two coats are highly recommended. It took just shy of six gallons to complete our project in two coats.
The company also sells the product in four-gallon pails. I would hesitate to buy it this way, as the heavy silica sand in single gallon containers created a thick unusable paste at the bottom in a matter of hours. I would expect that the problem may be worse in a larger container that took longer to use.
Be ready for a lot of hard work in applying this product. This is some seriously thick stuff that needs to be worked from two directions and coated repeatedly. It took quite a bit of downward pressure on the roller to get a good uniform coat.
I read that one homeowner suggested adding water to the product and mixing with a commercial drill and paint mixer. The author of this suggestions stated that he was able to get a good coating with less intense labor and was able to use all of the product.
I can’t comment on what watering down the mix might do to the durability of the product. I would be hesitant to try it.
The product also tended to splatter sand in all directions unless the heavily textured roller was moved at the slowest of speeds.
Be warned that when the wet product goes on, it appears much lighter than your final color. Be patient. Disappointed with the Raggedy Anne hair red color we were initially seeing, we were ready to go back to the store and get a different color, only to discover two hours later that the stuff had cured to the exact color we wanted.
Like I said above, our decks really looked bad when we started. Pressure washing and prep had them looking so rough that I was fully prepared to pull up all of the horizontal boards and replace them. In fact, the top rails were so warped that I did replace them.
To our delight, a few hours of work produced a very good looking and apparently durable surface. These truly do look like new decks.
Although we have yet to see them through an Alaskan winter, I would be surprised if this stuff doesn’t perform well. It really looks tough--a lot like the spray-on bed liner products you see in pickups, only with a rougher surface.
So, how is this a greener product?
First, the company points out that this is an ultra-low VOC (volatile organic compound) product. The mix still has a fairly strong, though not too noxious) odor and the truth is that there are many more potentially nasty products that can be in low VOC products. Low VOC does not mean harmless (wear gloves, ventilate well, and use eye protection).
The greenest aspect of this product is in the fact that may well prevent the tear-off and replacement of many decks.
I was prepared to purchase several hundred board-feet of new wood and take just an much to the dump. All that waste was prevented with a paint-on product.
I like it.
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Robert C. Miller
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