Ready Seal is one of the most popular deck sealer choices among contractors. There are lots of reasons, and I want to state the case here about the economic reasons to make this choice. The figures I quote here are based on internet searches and a few calls to the manufacturers - all done in 2008. I don?t pretend to have scoured the world to find the lowest price anywhere, by the way. I just did some simple Google searches. This is not a ?scientific? study.
Prices On Ready Seal Ready Seal is just plain economical to purchase. Keep in mind that this is a premium oil sealing product (not the DIY sort of sealer by any means). The highest contractor price is close to $150 per five-gallon pail, and that price drops with volume buying. By comparison, a range of typical prices for other contractor-preferred oil sealers is much higher. The following prices were found on the top Google websites for these products.
We can also look at price-per-square-foot, which is a smarter way to judge the actual cost of the product. Here we divide the price above by the number of square feet (in parentheses) each gallon is estimated to cover:
Sealers that fully penetrate and don?t form a film on the surface are less expensive to restore a second or third time since they do not need to be stripped. If a sealer contains film-formers (any vegetable oil such as linseed) they must be stripped prior to recoating. In a nutshell, if you don?t strip the old film off of the surface there is no way for the new finish to bond to actual wood (as it was designed to do) because the old sealer prevents that. All it can do is bond to the old coat and build up by layers. The more layers, the less permeable the finish is. Period. Eventually the wood cannot breathe through all those layers, which can lead to rotting beneath the sealer.
Ready Seal is the only 100% penetrating sealer on this list, with the possible exception of TWP 100. The 100 Series product at one time was a 100% penetrant, but the product we got was not. It definitely formed a film on the surface. TWP 100 is made under license by a number of different manufacturers, and formulations vary between these manufacturers. This means that what you buy might be a full penetrant (no linseed oil) or might not.
If the product you use is not a 100% penetrant, then it must be stripped before applying a replacement coating of sealer a few years down the road. Several manufacturers have begun making claims over the last few years that their products don?t have to be stripped, but these claims just don?t make common sense. Time will prove this is a problem.
Labor is one of the most critical areas of savings for contractors. Most pressure wash contractors are not painters by nature. If you use a product containing linseed oil (the main ingredient in oil paint, forms a coating on the surface) you really need painting skills to apply the sealer. Lap marks are a problem (as well as drip and sag marks) with these products.
Since Ready Seal penetrates the wood completely and leaves no film on the surface, you can even walk on the sealer immediately without even leaving a footprint.
The sealer applies so easily (we have always called it ?contractor-friendly?) that you can train unskilled laborers to apply it properly in their first application. That means lower labor cost and lesser skills required of new hires. While it is hard to quantify these savings, think of it this way: You can hire almost anyone and teach them how to use the product properly on the first day. What does that save you? In our opinion, this could easily save a contractor $5 per hour or $40 per day.
The weather factor is huge for contractors, too. Reading the labels on almost all of these other products, you will see that they warn against applying the sealer if you are expecting any rain within 24 hours or any temperatures below 54 degrees within 24 hours.
Ready Seal, on the other hand, has no temperature limitations or rain limitations. The only limitation on applications of Ready Seal is that the wood be dry before you start. I don?t know for sure how things work in your area, but in the southeast I have a hard time remembering a summer day when we didn?t have at least a 20% chance of rain in the forecast.
If you have 30 "rain days" during your 5-8 month deck sealing season, which is about typical in many areas of the country, then these are 30 days you cannot apply most deck sealers. We might estimate the half of these rain days are single-day rain events and half are multi-day. With Ready Seal, you can seal on those 15 days that are dry just about right up until the drops start falling. That is 15 more ?paydays? for contractors, which is terrific economic news!
Now let?s look at temperature. As one example, I looked at Little Rock, AR. I counted the number of days over a two-year span where the temperature was between 40 degrees and 53.9 degrees. The total came to 145, which means this covers around 72 days per year. That means that there are 72 days when you can apply Ready Seal when you are not supposed to apply other products. Seventy Two is a huge number, and stretches credulity.
So let?s cut that in half, assuming that some of these temperature days may just not be suitable for sealing in spite of the temperature. They could be Sundays or holidays, they could follow a rain day, etc. In fact, let?s cut that number in half again ? just to really understate the advantage of switching to Ready Seal. That leaves at least 18 extra sealing days each season just because you use Ready Seal. That also means 18 extra paydays for contractors.
Since you don?t get paid by your customer until you finish the job, having more days to finish the job means that you can do more jobs every year and make more money every year ? just by switching sealers!
In fact, with the 15 extra days you get because rain doesn?t scare you plus the 18 days you get because temperature is not a factor adds up to 33 extra paydays every year. If a payday includes two decks at around $700 each, that is about $46,000 more in earnings possible just because you chose the right sealer.
So, let?s recap. Less expensive to buy, lower labor to apply, lower labor to renew, and more sealing days every year?
It is impossible to quantify exactly what the impact on your business could be, but it is safe to estimate that using Ready Seal could make a significant difference in the amount of money you can make every year.
If you are used to doing 100 decks averaging $700 each during a season with a different sealer, we might estimate the benefit you might make by switching to Ready Seal this way:
Plan I (using something else)
100 decks @ $700 each = $70,000
100 pails of sealer @ $148 = $14,800
Gross Profit = $55,200
Plan II (using Ready Seal)
166 decks @ $700 each = $116,200
166 pails of sealer @ $115 = $19,090
Gross Profit = $97, 110
Nice simple way to almost double your income. Just wanted to get you thinking math as the weather turns decky?