Here's a more detailed report:
I keep promising to put pictures up from our 2+ year deck project
(yes, 2 years). The reason it took so long is that we spent a year doing the prep work: grinding and filling cracks, making repairs
, rebedding failing fixtures, etc. That, and it was a very part-time project
, just a couple of weekends a month. We ground out all cracks and defects, and then filled them with MarineTex. We wanted a UV stable filler, because we knew it was going to be a long project. As well, MarineTex is easy to work with, very stable, smooths with water
, and cleans up with water
We then sanded the whole deck
(except the non-skid), put on 2 coats of Interlux
Primekote. The other issue we think we ran into with Primekote is that it can only be left exposed to the sun for 2 weeks. We had a section that we let run this long (weather), and we did have some problems in a few spots with paint
sticking to the primer. So, our advice is to leave exposure to a max of 1 week. Don’t let the rolling/tipping of Primekote discourage you. It goes on like crap – really not very smooth at all. It does leave you with a brush-marked finish that has to be well sanded. It gets very hard with time, so you will have an easier time sanding
this right after it sets up. If you leave it for a week, you will have a bit of work ahead of you. Also, if you leave it exposed for a while, I’d recommend a light sanding
right before paint
. We then wiped the surface down with CLEAN rags soaked in acetone. Turn them often. We also found that double gloves (nitrile) lasted many times longer with acetone than a single
We then top coated with 2 (or in some cases FIVE) coats of Interlux
Perfection (2 part polyurethane). We have had some problems with Perfection "kicking" right - we think - in low humidity. It seems go on fine when it's hot and sunny (under 90), and medium to heavy humidity (as long as it dries well before the dew). It doesn't seem to like those crisp, dry fall, winter and spring days. We sanded between coats with 320grit paper. Get some sanding blocks, we like the flexible ones. Also, we pretty much wore out a Black and Decker Mouse sander – great piece of equipment
for tight spaces. Especially the diamond shaped piece at the front of the mouse. We bought hook/loop sheets
and cut them to fit the diamond, to save money
. If your first coat comes out perfect, you can use 3M maroon pads instead (I bought a case online for not much money
, and still have half left). Not green pads.
We did the deck in sections. At 47', it was just too much to tackle all at once. 5 sections, to be exact. We were worried about the seams, but only we know where they are. We chose places where the white sections narrowed to minimize them. No one else sees them. We mostly rolled with hard foam rollers. We tipped and/or brushed where we had to, but with a variety of rollers (2" to 6") they worked best, without tipping. We bought them from Lowes, liked them more than the HD ones. We heard later that the West System rollers are even better? Buy lots of disposable rolling pans – small ones for the rollers. For those areas where you need to tip, use the very best brush you can find – they aren’t any more expensive, but you can’t buy them at the local store. Badger and Ox hair are both good brushes
. 1-1/2 to 2”. Big brushes
are still sitting in their boxes, because we had good success with rollers. You will need to change rollers, because they don’t last longer than about 20-30 minutes. To change them, we use an old glove, and slip it over the roller and pull it off of the handle. It makes less of a mess. As the old paint peels right out of the mixing pots, we reused them for all of the coats except for final coats. We figured in the grand scheme of things, the top coat is important.
It does take some practice getting the right amount of paint down. We are still practicing! Too little, and it shows. This is way easier to get it right over primer, rather than the second coat. Too much, and it runs/sags. We found that we had to use quite a bit of reducer, but, we are in a pretty hot environment
(South Texas). We reduce 10-20%. We also added reducer as we went, as the paint started to drag a bit. Be aware of pot life – and try not to get past about ˝ of it. We made paint up in smaller batches, about ˝ what we thought we’d need to do the section. I’d leave her to paint while I mixed the next batch. Remember to let it sit for 20 minutes before using. We found not using enough reducer results in coats that are too thick, and the solvent gets entrapped during curing, making for a rough surface. At least that’s what we think caused it.
BTW, we used a kitchen scale for mixing - Jay provided us with the ratios for each color (they are different, as the pigments are of different weights). This worked way better than trying to read the lines on a mixing pot. We did find ourselves running short on catalyst a few times. Not sure why.
We did the non-skid with one coat of Perfection mixed with Intergrip (1 heaping tsp per 100grams of paint). To get the right amount, look at the stir stick and it will tell you how much grit there is in it. Mix it OFTEN, or you will get “shadows” on the non-skid. The second coat on the non-skid was 50/50 flattening agent, no Intergrip. We hot - coated the second coat later in the same day (see overcoating instructions). This worked REALLY well, and saved us a taping session.
Also, we found that the new 3M Blue 2093EL tape with the GREEN writing (not brown) is an insanely wonderful product. It will last over 2 weeks in the sun, and gives a nice fine line. Here’s why: We found that when we had 2 coats to do in a weekend or 2, we saved a lot of taping time by using 2 tapes. We'd first tape with it (1 inch) with the 3M Blue (green writing) close to the edge, but not on the edge. Then we’d run a second tape line to the edge, usually with a thinner tape. Tape MUST be removed within a few hours of painting – don’t let it wait too long, and certainly don’t leave it overnight. So, we then just pulled the top tape, leaving the blue tape underneath. Even when it would be a week or 2 between coats. Using 2 sets of tapes really is a huge time saver. The thinner tapes are much easier to apply, especially for curves. Taping is one of the most time consuming tasks – don’t underestimate it.
We used thin green automotive tape for the second layer, as it’s not exposed for a long time, does curves well, and has a decent edge. When taping corners and sharp curves, use an Exacto knife with a new blade to cut the curve. We put “tails” on each end of the tape (folded over) to make it easier to pull the tape after painting. You HAVE to pull the tape next to the paint within a few hours of painting – you can’t leave it for the second coat, unless you are hot-coating the next coat. It is a messy job, and gloves seem to make it worse. If you have any areas that seeped under the tape, now is the time to clean it up. NOTHING dissolves this cured paint. If you are taping over recently painted areas, and it doesn’t need to last more than a week in the sun, try the new 3M Blue 2080 for delicate surfaces (brown writing). It says it’s fine for 60 days. But, it does not stick as well, and doesn’t tolerate sanding or solvents as well as in 2093, and it’s not designed for outside use.
One final note: tape everything that might get near a brush or roller, or spatter from a roller. We are replacing our windows, so we didn’t worry too much about them, but you might.