Originally Posted by Roguelawyer
My trailer deck needed to be replaced about 5 years ago. So I did it over the last two weekends.
Wish I would have done a number of things different but the end result is pretty good.
I ended up coating it with spar urethane. 3 coats so far (needs a long time to cure), sanded in between coats. I thinned out the first coat to ensure penetration and rolled it on all sides/edges before mounting. Then the others went on after mounting.
I was thinking of gluing carpet down but I kind of like the look of the finished wood.
On a hot day will the spar urethane get sticky? Will my raft get stuck to the deck on a hot day?
Anyone have any experiences like that?
I can still glue carpet down or give it a clear top coat of something harder (epoxy or a polyurethane with less oil) but I don't really want to spend the money unless I have to.
I can't speak to whether spar varnish can be "re-activated" with enough summer sun (though I doubt it, unless you're talking Phoenix in the summer), but I do have this input:
My experience with any affordable clear finish is that UV eats them up. There may be some exotic and very pricey clear finishes out there that hold up to UV, but I have not tried them.
Here's what I've had good luck with on my raft decking: 2-3 coats of spar urethane, then knock off the sheen with sandpaper and paint it with a good quality exterior trim paint (not flat) or even better, deck (flooring) paint. I'm sure oil base is better, but I just use a good water-cleanup paint. The idea is the urethane seals the wood, then the paint protects the urethane from UV and abrasion. Then I do an annual touch-up, as needed.
And the way I happened onto this, was that my first decking boards were just spar varnished, and within the first season, the finish was already failing....so I hit it with a sander and painted it - done.
Though most woodworker types (including me) tend to think it's a crime to cover the purty wood with paint, it just comes down to how I want to spend my time, and sanding/refinishing is very close to the bottom of that list.