It is no secret that on the west coast of British Columbia, we have a very wet climate. Inevitably, we will have anywhere from a few days to a few weeks that are below zero, with periods of freeze/thaw cycles. Add in hot summers and generally high humidity, and it is clear that if you want a deck that lasts, you need to consider the best options.

For these reasons, especially on the west coast, it’s important to research the best waterproof deck for your situation carefully.

Two of the popular options for decking include polyurethane membrane decks and vinyl decks. But what’s the difference?

The Difference Between Polyurethane Membranes & Vinyl Decking

Both polyurethane and vinyl require good surface preparation to ensure the deck material bonds with the subsurface.

The Application

Vinyl Decking

Vinyl decks are applied as pre-made strips of manufactured PVC. The seams are then heat sealed.

Polyurethane Deck Membranes

Polyurethane membranes are applied as coatings in a 4 layer process. The layers bond together and there are no seams.

The Biggest Challenges

Vinyl Decking

One of the biggest challenges with Vinyl Decking is that, for all but the smallest jobs, there will be seams on your deck or patio. And, seams always present a challenge.

Anything less than perfect workmanship means water or dirt can get into the space between vinyl sheets. Eventually, allowing for leaks, mould, rot, or other problems to follow. Even quality cleaning brushes or pressure washers can make a small imperfection worse.

Polyurethane Deck Membranes

Polyurethane Deck Membranes like NewPort Dry Deck’s OmegaDeck are not composed of different sheets. For this reason, there are no seams to provide a weak point in the deck coating. They form a complete seal around your deck.

Where your deck joins a patio door, staircase, riser, or other places, and where a vinyl deck would require seams or edges, polyurethane membranes are applied as a complete seal and integrate with the building envelope.

Vinyl Decking

Vinyl Decks can rip or tear after a few years – they rarely last completely intact for more than a decade.

Polyurethane Deck Membranes

Polyurethane Decks like OmegaDeck don’t rip or tear and are 100% waterproof for life. They are a complete coating integrated with the plywood.

They also hold their colour better and don’t fade the same way vinyl decks inevitably will. They will not turn yellow over time, as a vinyl deck will.

Cleaning Your Deck

When it comes to cleaning your deck, the wrong cleaners or a power washer can rip or damage seams on a vinyl deck.

Membrane decks like OmegaDeck will stand up to any cleaner or brushing, but also oclean easy enough so you don’t need to power wash.

Other Differences

While your OmegaDeck membrane coating deck will never leak, you may want to update the colour or texture years later.

With a vinyl deck, the old vinyl would have to be removed, often damaging the surface underneath.

With OmegaDeck, you can apply a new surface to the old surface with minimal prep work.

Choosing The Look & Coating

When it comes to choosing the look and coating you want, if you go with a vinyl deck, you will have to stick with the manufacturer’s offer of colours and textures.

With a polyurethane deck membrane such as OmegaDeck, because it is custom installed for you in layers, you can choose the texture and colours you want.

Warranties

Be sure to check the warranties that your deck suppliers offer.

Vinyl deck suppliers will often offer only a 5-year complete warranty, and at best a 15-year partial warranty.

OmegaDeck membrane decks are backed by a 20-year warranty.

Vinyl Decking or Polyurethane Deck Membrane?

There may be reasons to consider a vinyl deck. If you have a short term outlook and plan to sell or demolish the deck after a few years. Or, you aren’t able to allow 3-4 days for a proper membrane deck installation. If this is the case, then a vinyl deck may be the best option for you.

But if you are looking for a durable, long term deck solution that will not leak, then a polyurethane membrane such as OmegaDeck is the best solution for you.

The last thing you need is to be dealing with leaks, rot, or mould on your deck. But in the wet west coast of BC weather, these are always a threat.

If you would like to get more information on the differences between vinyl decking and OmegaDeck, or to get a quote on OmegaDeck polyurethane deck coating, please contact us.

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