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Deck repair tips, techniques, materials, tools

Tips and techniques

  • With a couple of exceptions, I tried to use the exact processes recommended by WEST System, Awlgrip and Interlux. I read their manuals and application guides many times over the course of the project. (I did not include every detail of the techniques used in this project.)
  • I connected my shop vacuum to my sanders for almost all sanding. I don't know if all sanders that have vacuum attachments are equal, but my Rigid rotary sander is excellent. It vacuums almost all of the visible dust while sanding.
  • Keep your work area and tools clean. I used a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket with a gallon of acetone to clean my tools. Buy good gloves designed to protect against harsh chemicals. I replaced the acetone when it became dirty and less effective.
  • I went through a few gallons of acetone during this project. As the acetone became less effective, I dumped it into another 5-gallon bucket with a tight lid. Once the project was finished, I put the bucket in a corner of my driveway and removed the lid. In a couple of days the acetone evaporated and the epoxy sludge turned hard.
  • Do plenty of online research and discuss your project with anyone who will listen, especially those who have done similar repairs. In the end, do what you think is best. However, I guarantee that if you have preconceived ideas of what you are going to do, your plan will change for the better as you discuss the project with others.
  • Wear coveralls you have dedicated for this job. You will get epoxy on these. Mine almost stand on their own.


WEST System epoxy resin 105

WEST System 205 fast hardener (used for all lamination, since temperature was cool)

WEST System 206 slow hardener (used for applying the fiberglass cloth and the barrier coats, since it was warmer when I did this and the thinner epoxy was easier to work with)

WEST System 403 microfibers (used for all laminations and some building)

WEST System 406 colloidal silica (used for all fillets)

WEST System 407 Low-Density (used for all fairing)

Acetone (for cleaning tools)

Awlgrip primer

Awlgrip Awlcraft 2000 paint, Cloud White

Interlux Brightside paint, Kingston Gray

Tools and supplies

Orbital sander

Fein Multimaster (for precision and difficult cutting, sanding hard-to-reach areas)

Shop vacuum, with sander attachments

Drywall tray (used to mix and apply epoxy for fairing)

Knee pads

Boxes of disposable gloves

Safety glasses and face masks

Solvent-resistant gloves (for washing tools in acetone)

5-gallon buckets

See related articles:

- Decked out

- Refit time

This article originally appeaared in the February 2010 issue.