What do these deck painting companies use to redo wood decks, that they claim it will stain and protect the wood deck to the apocalypse? Can’t I get this product and just do it myself?
Paint that will last until the apocalypse? Now THAT we have to see!
It sounds like you are referring to a category of products known as “high build” elastomeric coatings. High-build is tech talk for thick paint, and elastomeric is a type of product that will expand and contract with the substrate, which is this case is your wood deck.
Some history here – about 20 years ago we began hearing about companies who would make similar durability claims for a product called “liquid vinyl siding.” Similarly, hard-selling contractors would claim that they could apply this paint to your wood-sided home and it would last and perform like vinyl siding. It did just that, except for months, not decades as promised. After that it began to peel of in sheets and/or allowed water to get behind and rot to set it. Those claims also extended to the products claimed ability to insulate as well — which is about when the Federal Trade Commission stepped in and put the kibosh on a lot of that.
Today we don’t hear much about liquid vinyl, but there are finishes designed to protect and restore decks and docks that sound a lot like that original product. The difference is, these are made by major manufacturers who thoroughly test and warranty their products.
Products such as Sherwin Williams’ SuperDeck Exterior Deck & Dock Coating or RUST-OLEUM’S Deck & Concrete Restore® 10X tout that they can fill gaps as large as a quarter-inch, adhere to deteriorate surfaces and can take the foot traffic. I’m more tempted to believe claims with a major manufacturer behind them but unfortunately, I’ve not seen enough independent reviews from purchasers to run out and buy any high-build products. The other deterrent we should mention is cost. The average good-quality gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet of surface area and costs around $25 a gallon. These products run around $50 a gallon, and offer coverage of just 75 square feet, so they are not inexpensive.
My best advice, pickup a gallon and do a small section of a deck, like maybe the stairs. Follow the prep instructions to the letter as this will ensure maximum adhesion, and see what happens. If it works as performed, then go all in the following season.