Vinyl Deck Membranes Appearance Promises vs. Appearance Warranty

Vinyl Decking Appearance After Accelerated UV Weather Testing

Be cautious when evaluating vinyl deck membrane choices…

Some companies offer a “Scuff Resistant” clear top coat, with No Appearance Warranty!! That’s a pretty bold promise with nothing to back it up.

But really, the chance of light scuffing on a well-used deck is the least of your worries if you want a waterproof membrane that will last for decades.

Clear top coats have historically been a problem on plastics under constant UV exposure, but how do you determine how well a product will stand up in 10 years when it has only been on the market half that time?

Accredited testing agencies like Atlas Material Testing Services perform accelerated UV exposure tests to help answer that question.

These unaltered test results below show actual results of UV exposure testing (ASTM G90) of two brands of vinyl deck membranes. The product on top is a vinyl product with a clear top coat.  The vinyl on the bottom is the ‘tried and true’ Duradek membrane with a 40-year history.

Vinyl Deck Weathering Tests - New clear coat vs. 40 year history

Vinyl Deck Weathering Tests – New clear coat vs. 40 year history.

Pretty shocking, right?

Almost unbelievable, so the product was not just tested once, but twice…

The 2nd test included multiple product comparisons and all those with a clear top coat exhibited the same failed results.

Vinyl Deck Weathering Tests - New clear coat vs. 40 year history.

Vinyl Deck Weathering Tests #2 – New clear coat vs. 40 year history.

Vinyl Deck Weathering Tests - New clear coat vs. 40 year history.

Vinyl Deck Weathering Tests #2b – New clear coat vs. 40-year history.

All vinyl scuffs to some degree under certain conditions…as does wood, composite deck boards, even concrete. In fact, almost everything we walk on scuffs, marks or fades over time. This is the inevitable, realistic result of a ‘wear surface’; particularly with decks under constant exposure to the elements. And anything under constant exposure to the elements will age to some degree.

However, long term results should be taken into consideration. Be careful not to forgo the long term protection of a proven product with an appearance warranty for short term promises of “scuff resistance” that may have unexpected and unwelcome appearance issues over time.

Deck 'burnt' from UV exposure

Make sure you are using a proven product so you don’t get surprises like this. This deck was originally a light grey and reached a point where UV rays darkened it completely and quickly.

Read here about the History of Clear Top Coats in the Pedestrian Vinyl Membrane industry. With deck surfaces, clear coats on vinyl have not traditionally been met with a lot of success…in fact, most have failed miserably!

Download the images of the test result swatches in .pdf format:

Test #1 – AQ31696 – June 2012

Progression Sequence  (644.2 kb .pdf)  |  Single Sample vs. Control (1.16 MB .pdf)

Test #2 – AQ32825 – June 2013 

Progression Sequence (663.6 kb .pdf)  |  Single Sample vs. Control  (792 KB .pdf)

Test #2b – AQ32825 – June 2013 

Progression Sequence (607.5 kb .pdf)  |  Single Sample vs. Control  (693 KB .pdf)

Vinyl Decking Appearance After Accelerated UV Weather Testing

Actual test swatches from results of Atlas Material Testing – Accelerated Weather Testing (AQ31696 @ 3080 MJ UV). Duradek on left – Competitor vinyl on right.

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