Decks of all kinds commonly fall prey to three major vulnerabilities. The first is exposure to the elements, given that most decks are built outside the facility. The second is water damage given that decks are flat surfaces that retain any quantity of moisture when not dried completely. And last is impact damage given that decks are supporting various amounts of weighted traffic — mechanical or foot — almost everyday.
Decks therefore need to be protected from these vulnerabilities or, when any form of damage has already occurred, repaired as soon as possible. This is achieved with the help of deck epoxy coatings that delivers maximum protection when applied correctly.
A successful deck coatings project involves identifying general and technical coating requirements, and the application and post-application methodologies to be implemented.
Deck Coatings General Project Requirements
Facility managers should ensure that all general project details or issues are addressed, such as:
- Compliance to any existing building codes in the area, commonly requiring weather-exposed areas of any facility — like decks — to be protected with weather-protective components, such as epoxy coatings systems.
- The scope of the project, the type or purpose of the deck structure, its occupancy level and amount of daily traffic. These factors will gauge the effect of epoxy coatings application on building tenants and the level of disruption to building operations, if any.
- The building condition and life expectancy, and the deck requirement, which aids in clarifying actual project needs to the painting contractor.
- Applicability of epoxy coatings in providing the expected deck protection. The epoxy coatings system should be able to serve its expected function either as a water-proofing, weather-resistant, or damage-protection system.
- Availability of funds to support the deck coatings project and future maintenance costs.
After the initial requirements have been identified, facility managers should get down to the technical project requirements, specifically that of epoxy coatings to use for the project. Below are some guidelines:
- Specify the actual epoxy coatings requirement. If the deck is an exterior landing which is exposed to weather and moisture constantly, a waterproofing epoxy coatings system should be specified. If there are cracks along a concrete deck, then sealers should be specified.
- State the function of the deck that may affect the coating product selection. Any special conditions that surround the deck structure should be taken into consideration when choosing the epoxy coatings product. If heavy vehicular traffic passes through the deck, for example, a tougher coating system should be installed.
- Verify product performance through data sheets, and records of test and actual performance. This is an effective way to single out the most appropriate epoxy coatings system for the deck project, given that there are many options in the market to choose from.
The last key area for consideration in deck coatings project is the actual application process. For this, facility managers should discuss with the painting contractor and accomplish the following:
- Verify the surface preparation procedures to be conducted. The success of surface preparation affects the quality and longevity of the installed epoxy coatings system. Any surface should be free from dirt or contaminants that could undermine this quality.
- Detail out the actual installation procedures, even right down to the actual sequential tasks to be performed.
- Identify actual products to use, after a careful selection process, the reason for the choice, and any product warranty or maintenance restrictions.
- Determine the materials, tools, and equipments to be used, as well as the manpower needed to perform all application activities from preparation, application, dry or cure time, and post-application clean-up, among others.