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Lawsuits Hit Deck Coating

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

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Homeowners in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have become the latest to take Rust-Oleum Corp. to court over a deck coating that they say is prone to premature peeling and requires costly repairs.

Plaintiffs Steve and Gina Cady, Scott Reinhart and John Riello allege that Rust-Oleum’s Deck & Concrete Restore product is defective.

Deck coating
Rust-Oleum Corp.

Rust-Oleum Corp.'s Deck & Concrete Restore coating is the focus of lawsuits.

The lawsuit was filed Oct. 28 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs are seeking more than $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

The suit was initiated as a class action, but it has not yet been certified as such.

The Pennsylvania suit follows similar federal-court cases filed June 26 and Oct. 15 in the Northern District of Illinois and July 15 in the Northern District of Maryland.

Company Responds

"Rust-Oleum takes its customers' satisfaction and the quality of its products very seriously," Katelin Sieckman, a spokeswoman for Rust-Oleum, wrote in an email this week. "We are investigating allegations made in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).  

"Because of the ongoing nature of this litigation, Rust-Oleum is unable to comment further on the lawsuit, its merits or lack thereof. "

Based in Vernon Hills, IL, Rust-Oleum has produced paints; primers; automotive, industrial, and concrete coatings; and wood-care products under its own brand and others since 1921.

Rust-Oleum is a subsidiary of holdings giant RPM International Inc.

About the Product

At issue is the performance of Deck & Concrete Restore, a pre-mixed, water-based acrylic coating introduced in May 2013. The product is designed to repair and revive existing decks and concrete surfaces.

According to Rust-Oleum, the coating offers a scuff-, peel- and chip-resistant finish that withstands temperature changes, heavy foot traffic, and furniture abrasion.

Rust-Oleum / YouTube

In this video, the company explains the surface preparation method for applying Restore.

The company says Restore:

  • Boasts “10 times the thickness of regular paint or stain”;
  • Is suitable for resurfacing most wooden and composite decks and concrete patios; and
  • “Lasts for years with minimal maintenance."


The Pennsylvania and New Jersey families accuse Rust-Oleum of marketing and selling a defective coating that fails prematurely.

Their complaint says Restore is “plagued with design and manufacturing flaws that cause the paint, among other things, to separate, crack, bubble, flake, chip and generally degrade shortly after installation."

The plaintiffs say they purchased and applied Restore to wood or composite decks at their homes in the summer of 2013.

Shortly thereafter, they say, the paint failed (chipped or cracked).

Warranty and Removal

The company offered a limited lifetime warranty, equivalent to the product's purchase price, but that is "just a fraction of the actual replacement cost," according to the complaint.

The coating contains crystalline silica, which requires additional precautions when removing through sanding, the complaint says. Removal and replacement are labor-intensive and run the risk of damaging the underlying substrate, which carries substantial costs, it says.

Consequently, Rust-Oleum is “responsible and liable for, among other things, the cost of removing and replacing the Restore paint installed in the homes, offices, buildings and other structures of Plaintiffs and members of the proposed Class,” according to the complaint.

Online Reviews

A number of online consumer reviews of the product make similar allegations.

For example, Yankee Ingenuity posted this YouTube video in April about his experience allegedly using Restore on a splintered, old deck.

Yankee Ingenuity / YouTube

Consumers have taken to Facebook, YouTube and other social media to complain about the product.

The narrator says the coating began peeling within one month of application.

Some of the commenters on the video question the narrator’s method of surface preparation and say that the product worked fine for them. Others say they have had a similar experience with Restore.

Moreover, a Facebook group, Rust-Oleum Restore Users, was created for homeowners who have used the Rust-Oleum product.


Tagged categories: Coatings manufacturers; Concrete coatings and treatments; Deck coatings; Laws and litigation; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; RPM; Rust-Oleum Corp.; Wood

Comment from Ronald Lewis, (11/5/2014, 5:54 AM)

Assuming the old deck and hand-rail paint had been removed and the surface clean and a bit rough, and the paint properly stirred and not thinned (especially with the wrong thinner) what's left. How was the REL applied? Brush or roller should have been ok. Now what, oh; was the deck wet or did it rain following painting. Did dew fall soon after painting. Well, what else, not much. Should have been absorbed, dried, cured and performed but, well, doesn't look like REL is working for you. Ron Lewis

Comment from john schultz, (11/5/2014, 8:30 AM)

You know what's on the back of those chips! Behr's turn will be soon. I cringe watching the commercial showing it applyed over an unprepped deck

Comment from peter gibson, (11/5/2014, 12:35 PM)

These coatings companies wont learn..they oversell and overpromote. They sell it as an easy DIY thing...again,amazing grace.

Comment from Chuck Pease, (11/6/2014, 9:43 AM)

It has been my experience over the 30 years of my career that 9 out of 10 times the coating failure stems from either lack of adequate surface preparation or an incorrect installation due to the applicator. Then as Ron mentioned above there are many other factors that aren't known at this time such as enviro conditions before and after application. Typically, it is very rare that the coating manufacturers product is at fault.

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