Different ways to waterproof wood deck flooring

A wooden deck can add more style to your home. But as you know, wood has a moisture issue. Being a natural material, it’s very porous, so moisture can easily penetrate it.

You sure have read numerous tips on keeping your wooden floor intact. Most of them will include moisture control.

How to make a wooden deck floor waterproof

Some think they only need to add a sealant to make the wooden deck waterproof. But it’s more complex than adding another layer during the finishing process, especially if you’re working with an old deck.

Before you start any waterproofing process, you need to check the deck to see if you need to repair some parts. Clean the deck by sweeping and paying attention to the slits between each panel. Before sanding, you could use a pressure washer to clean it.

You can include this process during the annual deck cleaning routine. It will help your wooden deck to keep its wooden feature. Some woods may even show their colors better with regular cleaning.

Waterproof vs. water-resistant: What is the difference?

Most people conflate both terms and use them interchangeably. But waterproofing is not the same as water resistance. The main difference lies in how the material treats moisture of any kind.

Being waterproof means the water won’t be able to penetrate the material at all. The sealant coat will repel the water and won’t retain any moisture. This means that it will not allow any water to pass through it, even if it is submerged in water for an extended period.

While water-resistant means the moisture will still be able to permeate the pores and stay there. But the protective seal will protect it to a degree, so you don’t have to worry much about it.

Some water may be able to get through water-resistant materials, but they can still handle being wet without getting damaged or weak.

Materials resistant to water are often used when water protection is essential, but full waterproofing isn’t necessary.

Regardless of your choice, different wood types require different treatments. Some woods are only good for water-resistant protection, and others can handle both.

Should you stain or seal the deck?

Remember that exposing wood to nature means it will be more impervious to damage. You can choose between staining and a sealant finish.

Each has different purposes and features. Of course, they also work differently based on the wood you have.

Staining your wooden deck may blur and diffuse the grain. It will only keep your deck water-resistant, meaning moisture can seep in and stay inside. Staining is great if you use engineered wood or species with no particular grain patterns.

You can cover it up with the stain and have a perfect deck. And if you choose to use the sealant, you rely on the wax to protect the plank. This finish is great for wood with beautiful grain patterns.

What can I put on my wooden deck to make it waterproof?

When you use a waterproofing product on your deck, it’s important to follow the directions given by the manufacturer. This will ensure you get the best results possible and use the product correctly.

There are several ways to make a wooden deck waterproof:

Deck sealer

This is a clear or tinted coating on the deck’s surface to keep water from damaging it. Deck sealers are usually made from a mix of natural and synthetic resins. They form a barrier that keeps water from getting into the wood and rotting it.

Deck stains

Deck stains are like sealers, but they have pigments that give the wood color. They are usually put on the deck’s surface in a thin, even layer and are meant to soak into the wood, making the finish more durable and long-lasting.

Deck paint

The deck’s surface is covered with this thick, opaque coating to give it a solid color. Most deck paint is made with water; you can use a brush or roller to put it on.

Waterproof deck coating

This thick, rubbery material is spread out in a single layer on the deck’s surface. It makes a waterproof barrier that can’t be damaged by water, sunlight, or other outdoor elements.

Under-deck drainage system

A system for draining water from the deck’s surface comprises channels and gutters put in place under the deck.

Most of the time, these systems consist of a waterproof membrane or panel installed on the underside of the deck and a set of channels or gutters that direct water away from the deck.

Deck flashing

Putting flashing around the base of the deck can help keep water from getting between the deck and the ground.

Flashing is usually made of metal or plastic. It makes a barrier between the deck and the ground, which helps keep water out.

waterproof decking membrane

These waterproof layers under the deck surface make a barrier between the wood and the ground. Deck membranes can be rubber, plastic, or “composite.”

Best options to waterproof wooden deck flooring

When waterproofing a wooden deck, you need to know whether it’s a solid wood or an engineered one.

The difference will determine your maintenance methods and cost. Whether you use sealant or stain finish also matters.

But at any rate, you can choose between vinyl or rubber membranes to protect your wooden deck. These options are not cost-friendly to most people, primarily because you can’t treat it as a DIY project.

Even though vinyl is the more affordable of the two, it still requires professional work to apply it correctly.

And even though both membranes are time-consuming to install. But you will love the result as it provides perfect protection against moisture.

How to make the space under your deck floor waterproof

Here is what most people often forget. That is to waterproof the space under your deck. Whether you choose a wooden deck or another type of flooring, ensure it has the correct drainage system.

As you build your deck, you need to consider the drainage system for your deck. Without proper drainage, you’re exposing your wooden deck to more moisture. It’s a common mistake to apply the sealant only on one side.

Suppose you want to rejuvenate the wooden deck and see it already has a sealant. Then you can add the drainage system on the wooden deck.

Even though ideally, you add the system when you build the deck, you can install it on an existing one. This drainage system will redirect the water from the beams.

Things to consider before and after waterproofing a deck

Considering these aspects, you can ensure that your deck is adequately waterproofed and maintained.

Proper preparation

Cleaning and prepping the deck’s surface is essential before applying any waterproofing agent. Sanding, scraping, or power washing the wood may be required to remove dirt, debris, and existing coatings or finishes.

Repair any damage

Repair any damaged or decaying wood on your deck before adding a waterproofing compound. This will help ensure that the product adheres correctly and that the deck is in good overall condition.

Multiple coats

Depending on the product, many sealers, stains, or coating coatings may be required to obtain the desired level of protection.

Adding more extra coatings does not improve the waterproofing effect.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions and let each coat dry completely before applying the next.

Regular maintenance

Waterproofing a deck is a multi-step process. The waterproofing compound must be used regularly to keep the deck’s water-resistant characteristics.

Depending on the product and the conditions in which the deck is exposed, this is usually done every one to three years.

Regularly cleaning your deck will help eliminate dirt, debris, and stains contributing to water damage.

Clean the deck’s surface with mild soap and water, then thoroughly rinse.

What is the most cost-efficient outdoor flooring

A wooden deck may be popular, but it can be expensive to install. Even when you help build it, having a wood deck may cost more than installing the indoor floor. However, the deck redeems itself by being durable and easy to maintain.

Among all types of flooring, the most cost-efficient ones are concrete slabs and tiles. Naturally, both flooring materials are waterproof and easy to install and maintain.

They don’t require too much work, and you can have them as a DIY project.

Natural materials like stones, bricks, and wood are also popular. They can be cost-efficient when you make them the focal point of your outdoor area. And with the right material, it will also boost your house value.