My deck was ruined by a company that was supposed to be fixing it.


Old 11-24-18, 11:38 PM
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My deck was ruined by a company that was supposed to be fixing it.

Several years ago, we had a textured paint-like product called Olympic Rescue It applied to our deck. Our deck is 6 years old and is cedar. The deck was in fine condition, but this Rescue-It stuff seemed like it would be a great long term way to protect our investment and make it look nice. Long story short, the Olympic stuff is junk and kept peeling off in many places after about a year. We'd have it reapplied and same thing would happen. We were sick of paying to have it reapplied every year or so and finally sought out a more permanent solution. We had a professional company come out and agree to strip all this Olympic product off down to bare wood then restain it with an oil based stain so we didn't have to deal with the peeling paint constantly. Bid was $6000. It was a big project, as our deck is big. The company we hired is a franchisee of a company with about 20 franchises in the midwest. (Later on, I found out that the franchise owner just purchased the franchise this year).

Anyway, I was letting them go about their business and hadn't really paid attention until the other night when I got home and they said they put their final coat of stain on, and all they had to do was come back and put on the rail spindles. Upon inspection, >90% of the deck looks ruined (see pics). From what I see online, they caused extensive damage with their pressure washer, leaving these extensive deep grooves/cuts throughout the wood, then they just applied stain over it. It looks horrendous. They didn't use any chemical stripping chemical or anything--they tried to blast this paint like stuff off with only a pressure washer apparently.

Anybody have any thoughts on what should be done? From what I see online, the only real solution will be to replace the damaged wood ( I told the owner of the franchise my concerns, and he said that he did notice "some of the wood grain coming through the stain". I told him that it's not just visible wood grain--there are quarter inch cuts through every board! He seemed flustered and told me that the wood was probably rotten which caused it to cut so extensively with pressure washing. I told him it has been power washed without incident several times, and as recently as 14 months ago without incident. I told him that the affected boards will need to be replaced (basically everything). He wants to meet with me next week to discuss "options" as to what can be done.

What "options" do you think he will propose? I think anything less than full wood replacement is a ripoff for me, as the wood looked great prior to his company getting a hold of it. I don't want to attempt to sand 1/4" cuts out of the whole deck or flip the boards over or anything.

I'd love to hear opinions on what my next course of action should be. Should I contact deck building companies and get estimates? Should I get a lawyer involved?

Ugh. Thanks in advance for any advice.

My deck:

The most recent image of my deck before this company's work (screenshot from a video dated 9/29/18):

Deck now (any variations in color are just lighting differences):

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Old 11-25-18, 01:13 AM
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If you do some searching on this site and on the internet you will find hundreds of complaints regarding the various deck coatings. Im surprised a lot of this stuff is still sold.

Cedar is extremely soft, personally I would never power wash any wood deck and certainly not a cedar deck.

Solution, not going to be pretty but I'm a HUGE advocate for composite decking, every deck I have built in the last 25 years has had this material.

My current 12 year old deck looks as good today as when initially built. If replacing the wood do it right and never deal with it again!
Old 11-25-18, 04:58 AM
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I'm not fond of sanding decks but that might be a lower cost method of making it look right. I agree pressure washing was the wrong way to strip that type of coating especially with cedar. I suspect his previous jobs like that weren't cedar decks. I pressure wash decks all the time but not as a means of stripping the existing finish nor the only means of cleaning, more of an aid in the cleaning process.

Hopefully you have some good recent pictures showing the condition of the deck boards prior to them working on it. Remember your check book is your best bargaining chip.
Old 11-25-18, 05:14 AM
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The damage to the wood is pretty typical of what a pressure washer will do. They were running a pretty high pressure to try and remove the coating but it has severely etched or dug into the wood where it wasn't protected by the coating. Prior to the pressure washing I would have suggested sanding to remove the coating. As you've noticed sanding now would require a tremendous amount of wood to be removed which is almost guaranteed to get down to the screws. I think replacement is the only option if you want a nice looking deck.

I don't think you have legal recourse against your current contractor. If there was a warranty with the first contractor that did the coating a claim might have been attempted. So, I don't see how you're not going to end up footing the bill for whatever repair you choose.
Old 11-25-18, 06:12 AM
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What mess! I hope he has insurance. This is a clear sign of poor workmanship, using the wrong tools and inexperience.

Here's what should happen. They pay for a new deck less depreciation, and you add to the cost of composite decking and never have a problem again.

Will this happen? Not without a court ruling. Get a lawyer and be prepared to go to court and sue.

BTW...Any of the Rescue deck stuff should never be used on new or good condition decks. Only place for that stuff is on a deck that needs replacement but you might get a few more years out of it buy using Rustolium 10 X or similar.

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