Homeowners Say Deck Product is Damaging Their Backyard Investments - NBC Chicago
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Homeowners Say Deck Product is Damaging Their Backyard Investments

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Homeowners who were hoping to extend the lives of their decks with a brand-name resurfacing product say they may need new decks altogether after applying the product to their backyard investments. Chris Coffey investigates.

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017)

    Homeowners who were hoping to extend the lives of their decks with a brand-name resurfacing product say they may need new decks altogether after applying the product to their backyard investments.

    At least two class action lawsuits have been filed against Behr and Home Depot, alleging Behr’s DeckOver deteriorates quickly and causes damage. DeckOver, a more expensive alternative to traditional paints and stains, is marketed as a long-lasting product that brings new life to old wood and concrete.

    Several Chicago-area homeowners have already contacted law firms which have filed the lawsuits.

    “I loved it for the first couple of years we had it until this year when it started to rot through,” said Terry Zitt of suburban Plainfield.

    Zitt said he applied DeckOver to his older, upper deck in 2013 and said it worked great. The next year he applied DeckOver to his newer, lower deck. But several months ago, Zitt said he noticed his decks were chipping and trapping moisture.

    “I’ve been out there on Sunday’s tearing the boards off and replacing boards because it’s rotting away,” Zitt said.

    Mike Ammirata of Connecticut said he applied eight gallons of DeckOver in 2015, but has spent much of this summer scraping it off.

    “I think we’ve been in the pool twice this year. You know why? We scraped and got sweated up and then jumped in the pool,” Ammirata said.

    Behr offered Ammirrata eight more gallons of DeckOver or a refund for his purchase, which is in line with the product’s limited warranty. But he said that’s not good enough because he wants Behr to pay for someone to remove the paint.

    Attorney Eric Gibbs of the Gibbs Law Group, which filed one of the lawsuits, said his firm has received inquiries from hundreds of disappointed consumers.

    “Our lawsuit intends to cover all affected consumers nationwide, which means generally people are covered whether or not they contact us,” Gibbs said.

    A spokesperson for Home Depot said the company was unable to comment due to pending litigation. Behr, too, said it was unable to provide further comment due to pending litigation.

    But in court documents, attorneys for Home Depot and Behr deny that DeckOver does not live up to promises. And lawyers for Behr argue any issues with the product may be a result of improper preparation or maintenance.

    However, Gibbs said the numbers don’t lie.

    “We allege that the problem isn’t the people applying it, but rather that the product isn’t living up to the promises that justify the premium price people pay when they purchase it,” Gibbs said.

    Zitt said he followed the application instructions. But he said he has yet to contact Behr and Home Depot with his concerns because he said he would not accept a refund for the product.

    “I want them to get (the product) off because I don’t want to keep going out there every year and finding holes somewhere,” Zitt said.

    Gibbs said concerned consumers who have used DeckOver should make sure water doesn’t get trapped in or around places where they’ve signs of peeling, cracking, bubbling, chipping or degrading. He also said consumers should document everything related to their DeckOver purchase, including receipts and “before and after” photos of their decks.

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