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Waterproofing: Life Deck FM System

Life Deck FM Waterproofing System for Plywood & Concrete decks

The “Life Deck FM” (Fiberglass Mat) Waterproof Decking System is a series of distinct applications of highly flexible acrylic resins. The base coat is integrated into a chopped fiberglass mat. Life Deck FM is designed to be a skid resistant waterproof walking surface for installation over plywood, concrete, magnesite, metal, and most existing deck surfaces.


  • Economical
  • Low Maintenance
  • Fast Drying
  • Durable yet flexible
  • Waterproof
  • Skid Resistant

How to Apply the Life Deck FM System:

Step 1: Clean all surfaces and prime

1.Power wash the surface and/or scrub with TSP (rinse off TSP with water) for better adhesion over existing systems or over concrete.

2. A slurry coat (thin coat of acrylic modifier and cement) is sometimes necessary for leveling and to achieve a smooth and consistent

3. Prime all surfaces with FM 1575 Primer.

4. Patch, with FM 1577 Texture (with trowel) all knot holes, cracks, and voids in deck and flashing completely before laying out fiber- glass.

Step 2: Fiberglass and FM Base Coat.

1. Cut all fiberglass and layout, first. (Butt up strips together, do not overlap).

2. When applying the Base Coat resin, start at the inside and work bubles out toward the edges. Some fiberglass is woven tighter than others and requires more attention. Be sure to push the resin through the fiberglass completeley (use a 1/2” roller cover) or it will not bond to substrate.

3. Use a fiberglass cutter (found in many fiberglass/polyester resin supply houses) to cut the bubbles out of the fiberglass immediately after you have applied the base coat resin.

Step 3: FM Texture Coat.

1. Before spraying the Texture Coat, spray a small sample and adjust your hopper gun or if roling with Life’s A15 Texture carpet roller, adjust your technique to meet your needs. You may also add a few ounces of water if the texture is too thick.

2. You may tape out a tile or flagstone pattern on the deck if you wish. Place the tape over the base coat in a pattern of your choice. Ask about our special pattern tape. Be sure to remove tape as soon as the texture is dry. Remember to do a small sample before beginning the project.

3. Be prepared to spray the entire deck area without stopping or stop only at seams.

Step 4: FM Top Coat.

1. Apply the Top Coat in two thin coats at 250 square feet per gallon, rather than one thick coat to achieve a more uniform consistency.

Note: FM instructional application video available.

Life Deck FM System Inspection

♦Plywood decks must be at least 3/4” ACX grade with finish side up. The deck should be tongue and groove and properly blocked and nailed (glued & screwed is best) to meet local building codes. Plywood shall have a maximum span of 16”.

♦ Slope must be a minimum of 1/4” per linear foot.
♦ Please refer to Notice to Customer for Deck Coatings.

Life Deck FM System Deck Preparation

Be sure the surface is clean, dry and free of grease, paint, oil, dust or curing agents. Concrete should be cured a minimum of 28 days prior to installation and should be profiled to resemble 60 grit sandpaper.

Life Deck FM System Flashing

Flash wall-to-deck with 4” x 4”, fascia with 2” x 4” minimum 26 gauge bonderized sheet-metal overlapped at least 4” and caulked in front and back with a Life Deck approved sealant. If the flashing is not bonderized it must be etched or roughed up so that the coating will bond. Nail all flashing every 4”. Smooth uneven surfaces with FM patching compound, 1577 Texture, Life Deck Concrete Patch, or Life Deck approved Urethane Caulking.

Life Deck FM System Primer Requirements

Clean all surfaces and roughen all glossy surfaces by sanding. Remove all peeling, loose or blistered material by scraping and wire brushing. Remove all chlorinated rubber and hydrocarbon finishes by sandblasting. Clean all surfaces thoroughly with a T.S.P. Solution and then rinse thoroughly with water. The surface must be primed using Life Deck 1575 Primer at a coverage rate of 200-300 square feet per gallon. Drying time is 30 minutes, recoat 2 hours.

Life Deck FM System Plywood Joints/Concrete Seams and Cracks

♦Cracks or seams should be cleaned out, dry and free of debris.

♦Apply Life Deck approved Polyurethane Caulk in all plywood seams and Life Deck seam tape (self adhering).

♦Life Deck Seam Tape (self adhering) should be laid out over all cracks, seams and plywood joints.

♦Apply Life Deck 1577 Texture into the tape with a trowel or putty knife to cover seam tape and all imperfections in plywood sheeting. Allow to dry to tack free before laying fiberglass. Multiple applications may be necessary.

Life Deck FM System Crickets/Sloping

♦Sloping should always be done in the framing or in the concrete subsurface. This is the responsibility of the building owner and not the deck coating applicator. If sloping is requested, it should be noted on the work order. The applicator along with manufacturer should not be held responsible for the outcome of these remedial measures to help correct these pre-existing slope conditions.

♦Crickets (reverse slope to divert water to drain) may be installed and sloping may be done using a Life Deck Concrete Patch. Concrete Patch is LD-81 mixed with LD-3 or LD-1 cement (see Life Deck Concrete Patch Spec for details). Galvanized metal lath should be stapled to the plywood to strengthen and help bond.

♦When building up over concrete it must be rough enough to bond (see deck preparation).

Life Deck FM System Optional Slurry Coat/Concrete Decks

♦If the surface is uneven or if there are imperfections that require additional smoothing or feathering, you may apply a slurry coat.
♦The slurry coat is made of 1 bag of LD-1 and 1 gallon of LD-81 along with approximately 1 qt of water. Slowly blend the bag into the liquid using a slow rpm drill and a jiffy mixer. Using a trowel, smooth over all uneven surfaces completely.

♦For best results, slurry coat the entire deck area, stopping only at seams. Using a wet paint brush to smooth all edges. When the slurry is dry, scrape or sand to smooth any rough spots. This process is demonstrated in the Texture Concrete Overlay and Life Deck AL dvd.

Life Deck FM System Fiberglass/Base Coat Resin (1588)

♦Fray all outside edges of the fiberglass to insure penetration of the base coat resin.
♦Position fiberglass over the entire area to be covered butting the seams together.

♦Pour the FM base coat resin on top of the fiberglass, completely saturating it using pressure from a 3/4” nap roller. Coverage is at 45 square feet per gallon.

♦After saturating fiberglass, immediatley roll entire area with an aluminum fiberglass roller to eliminate air bubbles and wrinkles.

♦After surface is dry, cut out any bubbles and apply Life Deck 1577 to smooth out any imperfections. Sand or scrape patches to smooth.


4 Step easy application






Residential Decks


Easy Installation


4 Steps

Primer, Fiberglass/Base Coat, Texture Coat, Color Coat.

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