Learn How to Waterproof a Plywood Deck or Balcony with These DIY Steps

how to wateproof a deck

A lot of people think that they have to use expensive, premade, waterproofing sealers when they are trying to waterproof a deck or balcony. The truth is, these sealers are pricey, and they can also peel, crack and chip. A much cheaper, and more practical solution, is to use a polyurethane liquid rubber sealant that is designed for decks and wood surfaces. 

In this article, we will teach you how to waterproof a plywood deck or balcony with liquid rubber, so that you don't have to worry about it getting damaged from water, weather or age.

The Benefits of Sealing Plywood

Plywood is a popular building material for decks because it is strong and relatively inexpensive. If you want to protect your plywood deck from the elements, you will need to seal it with a waterproof sealant. 

Sealing plywood is an important step in the construction process. This is because plywood is a type of sheet material, made of multiple layers of wood, often oriented perpendicular to the direction of the wood grain. It's important to seal the plywood before finishing the wood with paint or varnish to ensure durability and longevity. 

Extended Life

Extending the life of your decking is important. You've put all that time and effort into the materials and the workmanship that you'll want to make sure you take the necessary steps to enjoy your hard work for a lifetime to come.

Benefits of waterproofing a plywood deck or balcony:

  • Sealing a deck can extend the lifespan of it fivefold
  • No More Painting - Once you have sealed your deck, you shouldn’t have to repaint for a long time afterwards as the sealan will lock the paint coat in.
  • Moisture Protection - The best way to keep the moisture out of your deck and prevent wood rot is by sealing the deck. 
  • UV Protection - By sealing your deck, you also extend its life cycle by protecting the wood from potential damage caused by UV rays.
  • Helps prevent warping, dry rot, buckling and weather damage. 

Dry Rot Prevention

Plywood decks and balconies are a popular option for decks and balconies because of the ease with which they can be installed and their versatility. However, if you live in an area with frequent rain or snow, or if your deck or balcony is angled or has a slope, you will want to take steps to make sure your plywood does not warp, buckle or dry rot.

Dry rot is an especially dangerous type of decay that can cause irreparable damage to the wood on decking. It is caused by a fungus which enters through cracks in the wood. As the fungus spreads, it can completely destroy the wood and make it unsafe to step on. Warping and buckling, by comparison, are caused by improperly sealed or aging wood, rotted wood, water and snow or weather damaged wood, and wood that wasn't properly sealed when the decking was installed.

Rot Prevention

Long-lasting decking materials are the key to any deck. Rot prevention is important for homeowners to keep their deck looking beautiful for many years. In order to prevent rot, homeowners should choose a decking material that is long-lasting. This will ensure that the homeowner will not have to worry about the long-term maintenance of the deck. 

Being that wood is an organic product, it is susceptible to rot. The key to preventing rot is to select a decking material that won't rot, then properly sealing it with the right liquid rubber compounds when you install it.

Does Liquid Rubber Work on Flat Plywood Decks?

If you're looking for an innovative way to cover your next deck, liquid rubber is the perfect solution. This water-based product is applied directly to your deck as a liquid and dries to a durable, flexible and water-resistant coating that lasts for years. You'll be able to achieve a perfect, seamless finish with this product, and it can be applied to any type of wood surface, including flat plywood.

How Much Liquid Rubber Deck Coating Do You Need?

The amount of Liquid Rubber Deck Coating you will need depends on the size of your deck and the desired thickness of the coating. 

As a rule of thumb: A typical deck will require about 1 gallon of Liquid Rubber Deck Coating per 100 square feet.

DIY Steps to Use Liquid Rubber Deck Coating

The best time to apply liquid rubber deck coating is in the spring or fall. You can apply it in the summer but it will dry and will not seal. You should apply it in the morning, when it is cool and dry. Your deck is usually warm from the sun and will not allow the coating to dry.

You should wear rubber gloves, a dust mask, and closed-toe shoes. You should also wear long sleeves and pants. You should also use a roller to apply the coating evenly.

How to use liquid rubber deck coating:

  1. Before waterproofing a plywood deck, you should repair any damage to the surface. You can use a patching compound to fix any holes or cracks in the deck.
  2. Once the surface is repaired, you can begin waterproofing the deck. The first step is to clean the deck and remove any dirt, dust, or debris. You can use a pressure washer to remove the dirt, or you can use a broom and a detergent to clean the surface.
  3. Once the deck is clean, you can begin applying the waterproofing coating. You should use a roller or a brush to apply the coating. Make sure to apply the coating evenly and to cover the entire surface.
  4. Allow the coating to dry completely before using the deck.

What If It Rains on Liquid Rubber Deck Coating Before It Dries?

If it rains before the liquid rubber deck coating dries, it will not harm the coating. 

  • The rain will simply wash the coating off the surface, but a small application may need to be reapplied. 
  • It's important to keep in mind that liquid rubber coating is a waterproof coating and as long as the rain doesn't soak into the wood and the coating is still wet, there is no need to worry. The liquid rubber coating will continue to protect the wood from water. 
  • Make sure to check the coating after the rain has dried. If you think it's been compromised by the water, simply repeat the application steps once it's dried and allow the coating to fully cure.

Wrapping it All Up

Installing decking or a balcony on your own is hard work that can pay off in the form of a valuable addition to your home that you can enjoy for years to come. Make sure you’re proactive in your approach and take the necessary steps to protect the investment of time and money by sealing it with liquid rubber coating in advance. 

Need some more tips? Check out our related guide: PREVENT YOUR WOOD DECK FROM BECOMING SLIPPERY WITH THESE 5 EFFECTIVE WAYS

learn how to waterproof a plywood deck 

Back to blog