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Removing Waterproofing from Decking Surfaces

So you’ve applied waterproofing to your decking surfaces, but now you want to remove it. Whether you’re looking to update the appearance of your deck or address issues related to the previous waterproofing application, removing the waterproofing can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are several methods available to help you effectively remove waterproofing from your decking surfaces. In this article, we will explore these methods and provide you with tips on how to achieve the best results.

Methods for Removing Waterproofing from Decking Surfaces

  1. Chemical Strippers: Chemical strippers are one of the most commonly used methods for removing waterproofing from decking surfaces. They are formulated to break down and dissolve the waterproofing material, making it easier to scrape or power wash off. When using chemical strippers, it’s important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and take necessary safety precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and eyewear.

  2. Power Washing: Power washing utilizes high-pressure water to remove layers of waterproofing from decking surfaces. This method is effective for removing loose or flaking waterproofing material. However, it may not be as effective for heavily applied or multiple layers of waterproofing. When power washing, be sure to use the appropriate pressure and distance to prevent damage to the wood.

  3. Scraping: Scraping is a manual method that involves using a sharp scraper or putty knife to remove the waterproofing layer by layer. This method requires physical effort and patience, especially if there are multiple layers of waterproofing. Ensure that your scraping tools are sharp to make the process more efficient and minimize damage to the decking surface.

  4. Sanding: Sanding can be an effective method for removing waterproofing from decking surfaces, especially when combined with other removal techniques. Use a coarse-grit sandpaper to initially remove the waterproofing, gradually transitioning to a finer grit to achieve a smooth finish. Remember to always sand with the wood grain to avoid causing unnecessary damage.

  5. Heat Guns: Heat guns can be used to soften the waterproofing material, making it easier to remove. Be cautious when using a heat gun, as excessive heat can damage the wood. Keep the heat gun moving and at a safe distance to prevent scorching the decking surface. Once the material is softened, you can use a scraper or putty knife to remove it.

  6. Chemical Solvents: Some chemical solvents can effectively dissolve waterproofing materials, making removal easier. Always read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when using chemical solvents. Take caution and follow proper safety measures, such as wearing gloves and working in a well-ventilated area.

Tips for Removing Waterproofing from Decking Surfaces

  • Before starting the removal process, thoroughly clean the decking surface to remove any dirt, debris, or loose materials. This will ensure a more effective removal process.

  • Test the chosen removal method on a small inconspicuous area to ensure it does not cause any damage to the wood.

  • Take breaks during the removal process to prevent fatigue and maintain accuracy in your work.

  • Consider using a combination of multiple removal methods to achieve the best results, especially if the waterproofing is deeply embedded or multiple layers have been applied.

  • Always prioritize safety when working with chemicals, power tools, or heat guns. Wear protective gear, work in a well-ventilated area, and follow all manufacturer’s instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I reapply waterproofing after removing it from my deck?
A: Yes, after removing the waterproofing, you can reapply a new coating to protect your decking surfaces.

Q: How often should I remove and reapply waterproofing on my deck?
A: The frequency of reapplying waterproofing depends on various factors, such as the type of coating, weather conditions, and foot traffic. It is generally recommended to reapply waterproofing every 2-3 years or as needed.

Q: Do I need to remove all the old waterproofing before applying a new coat?
A: It is recommended to remove loose or flaking waterproofing before applying a new coat for better adhesion. However, you may not need to remove all the old waterproofing if it is still in good condition and adhered well to the surface.

Q: Can I hire a professional for removing waterproofing from my deck?
A: Yes, if you are unsure about the removal process or lack the necessary tools and expertise, hiring a professional can ensure that the removal is done safely and effectively.


Removing waterproofing from decking surfaces can be a challenging task, but with the right methods and techniques, you can achieve successful results. Chemical strippers, power washing, scraping, sanding, heat guns, and chemical solvents are all effective methods for removing waterproofing. Remember to prioritize safety, test methods on a small area, and clean the surface before starting the removal process. By following these tips and guidelines, you can confidently tackle the task of removing waterproofing from your decking surfaces.

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