How to Waterproof a Plywood Deck

Thinking about building a new deck but worried it won’t last because of the rain, snow and other wet weather you get in the Pacific Northwest? If so, you’re not alone. Many people who build a new deck later regret it because it doesn’t last as long as they hoped. The good news is that with a little research and some simple DIY skills, you can build a deck that will last for many years. 

But what if your current deck isn’t looking so great after all these rainy days? If that is the case, there are a few things you can do to make it last longer and avoid making the same mistake again. 

Check out these 5 DIY Deck Waterproofing solutions to help extend its lifespan by quite a bit.

Seal the wood with stain and sealer.

Stain and sealer will give your deck a beautiful and durable finish that will protect the wood from the elements. One of the best things about protecting your deck is that it requires very little upkeep and can last for many years. You can use a solid color stain or a stain that has a bit of a sparkle to it. If you plan on having kids or pets around your deck, we highly recommend using a stain that has a bit of sealer in it. The sealer will protect the wood from moisture and prevent it from getting too hot in the sun. Remember, the sun’s UV rays can damage your deck, even if it’s covered in shade!

Apply a liquid rubber membrane to the wood.

This is one of the best ways to waterproof your deck. A waterproofing membrane is a product that you lay on top of the wood before you put down your deck boards. This will protect the wood from rot and mildew, and also help prevent water damage to your boards. From a cost and labor perspective, using liquid rubber to waterproof your plywood deck is the most efficient way to extend its lifespan, and also the most efficient method you can use for DIY. 

Install a drainage system under the deck.

Depending on how your deck is built, you may need to install a drainage system under the deck to help it dry out faster. You can do this by installing gutters, adding downspouts, or by building a French drain. When you build a drainage system, you direct the water back toward the ground and away from your foundation. You can also add a sump pump if you want to collect water and store it for use in your garden.

Add more gravel to your deck – also known as “screed.”

Another great way to waterproof your deck is by adding more gravel to it. Gravel is a great material to use near the house because it’s porous, so it allows water to flow through it and go back into the ground. It’s also a great alternative to wood. You can mix gravel with a bit of sand and cement to create deck screed. Screed is a layer of material that sits between your deck boards and the ground. It’s a great way to waterproof your deck and help keep it from sinking.

Incorporate a barrier on top of the decking material you choose.

A barrier is a layer of material that sits on top of your deck boards. It’s meant to protect your decking material from water and other elements that could cause it to rot or mildew. You can achieve this by using a material like rubber, cork, or vinyl. Alternatively, you can use a low-growing plant like sedum to act as a barrier. This is a great way to add some color to your deck and help it last longer.


When we build a deck, we have a vision in our heads of how we want it to look, and how it will be used. That vision doesn’t always match up with reality. When your deck turns out a bit different than you expected, don’t get discouraged. Instead, use it as an opportunity to try something new and get creative. If you follow these DIY deck waterproofing tips, you’ll extend the lifespan of your deck and make it more usable. You can then sit back and enjoy your new deck for many years to come!

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