What Is Mower Deck Coating Used For?


Mowers are essential equipment for taking care of grasses. While mowing, stray debris could cause harm to the mower or the operator, which is why a mower deck is installed. Sometimes, this mower deck has a coating. So, what is mower deck coating used for?

Mower deck coating is used to prevent buildup of grass clippings and other debris as well as preventing excessive wear and tear. Rust can also be curbed with proper mower deck coatings. The process ends in a longer lasting and more efficiently operating machine.

After learning what mower deck coating is used for, you probably want to try it out for yourself. Read on to find out what you can use to undercoat your mower deck and if you should even do it at all.

Should You Undercoat Your Mower Deck? 

Typically, a mower deck is made of strong, rust-resistant metal. The purpose of a mower deck is to protect bystanders, animals, property, the engine, and blade of the mower against the impact of strong debris. The size of the mower and cutting area determines the size of the mower deck.

It is considered best practice to undercoat your mower deck due to dents from flying debris, moisture from cut grass, and other effects from the elements. This controls rust, grass clipping buildup, and potential issues that could affect your mowers longevity or current operation.

Metals rust when constantly exposed to water and air regardless of how rust-resistant they are. This means that although a mower deck is made of strong metals, it still needs an extra layer of protection. 

Usually, during mowing, wet grasses and other debris get stuck between the blades of the mower, and this leaves the mower deck wet. Constant repetition of such incidents can lead to the leads to the wearing your mower deck. 

If you want your mower to last longer while retaining its efficiency, consider undercoating the mower deck.

What Keeps Grass From Sticking to Mower Deck? 

In ideal working conditions, the mower moves the cut grass out of the mulching chamber, and this leads to a smooth and easy mowing experience. Mowing decks are designed to easily move grass clippings, mulched leaves, and other debris through the chute with no obstructions.

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the cut grass gets stuck between the blades of the mower and the deck, causing it to slow down or break down. What can stop this from happening? What keeps grass from sticking to the mower deck?

The best way to keep grass from sticking to mower decks is to regularly clean out clippings so other debris does not have something to hold on to and collect. Other solutions include making narrower passes in taller grasses and using lubricants like vegetable oil or spray on lubricants.

I can assure you that this is never a pleasant experience. Imagine the frustration of struggling to get your mower running while you still have a large portion of grass to cut. 

You can take some precautions to prevent this unpleasant situation from constantly happening. 

Make Narrow Passes

Instead of trying to fill up the entire space of the mower deck, make narrow passes. The more clogged the deck is, the higher the chances of grass getting stuck between the blades. A half-filled deck provides enough room for the grasses to move freely. 

Apply Vegetable Oil?

This next one is a myth that some may spread unknowingly.

As odd as this may sound, some attest to applying vegetable oil before and after usage helps to prevent grass from sticking to the mower deck. Vegetable oils are greasy and slippery. The slippery effect makes it easier for the cut grasses to move freely without hindrance.

The problem occurs when the oils begin to break down over time. When left on for a long enough period, these types of oils tend to become gummy and act more like a glue than a lubricant.

This can have the exact opposite effect than intended. I don’t recommend vegetable oil or any types of oil for that matter. You will eventually end up with a clumpy, sticky, mess of grass clippings under your deck.

Keep It Clean

If both of these other suggestions seem a bit odd and something most mower owners don’t tend to do, you are correct. Most owners make the mistake of not cleaning their mowers after use. This tends to be the best way to keep grass from sticking to mowing decks. Trapped grass and debris dry out and become difficult to take out. 

To keep your mower in good working conditions, always clean it immediately after use. This may come off as additional stress, but the longer the mower goes uncleaned, the worse the mowers operation can become.

Due to the design of most mowing decks and the paint or enamels applied in the factory, cleaning out built up clippings is the best way to keep other debris from adhering to the sides. The buildup of clippings promotes even more buildup.

How To Clean A Mowing Deck

This is a rather easy process that should only take a few minutes. This couple of minutes could make your mower perform much better and last longer.

  1. Before cleaning the mower, make sure it is turned off.
  2. Disconnect it from any power source.
  3. Position it carefully and support it with a mower jack or lift, so it doesn’t fall over.
  4. Scrape off all underlying clippings, dirt, or debris with a plastic scraper. 

Do not regularly use water while cleaning unless your mower deck has been well coated with a protective material. The use of water can cause your mower to rust especially around dents and dings.

If some grasses are a bit of a challenge to take out, an air compressor can get the job done. An air compressor releases pressurized air, which would help force out stubborn grasses.

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What Do You Use To Undercoat a Mower Deck?

The point of undercoating a mower deck is to improve its durability. Though you can spray rust prevention right over rusting areas, these types of coatings are meant as a preventative measure.

Rubberized or enamel are believed to be the best materials for this purpose. Enamel provides a slippery layer of protection to the mower deck when applied. While rubberized coatings prevent rust and wear from thinning the deck walls and causing structural failure. 

When you have finally decided to undercoat your mower deck, you need the right steps to get the job done. First and foremost, you need to consider your safety.

Here are two products I would recommend found conveniently on Amazon…

Steps To Undercoat A Mower Deck

  1. Remove the mower deck.
    1. To remove the mower deck, follow the instructions in the manual. It is important to note that all mower decks are not the same; therefore, you must follow the correct removal step.
    2. You can alternatively jack or lift the mower and tape off all areas where coating is not desired.
  2. If taking off the deck, once you have removed it, ensure you place it on a level surface while sitting upside down.
    1. If propping or lifting the mower it is even more crucial that the supporting surface is level and solid.
    2. The use of hydraulic jacks are not recommended for extended periods, but can due for short stints.
  3. Be sure to disconnect the mower from any power source and keep it turned off. Properly position the mower to avoid falling over and harming you while applying the coating. Do not skip any necessary precautions.
  4. Moving forward, clean out all underlying dirt on the mower deck. If it is starting to rust, scrape it off gently and adequately. You do not want to damage the mower deck while trying to protect it. 
  5. This process can be done on your lawn or on hard surfaces. Using a water hose is acceptable in this infrequent scenario. While cleaning, increase the force of the water. This would ensure that most of the hidden debris and grasses are forced out. 
  6. Allow the deck to dry out completely before applying the undercoating. The process of application is dependent on the type of rubberized solution or enamel you use. This could either be a paint-on or aerosol.
  7. To use a paint-on coating, shake the can and remove the lid. Give it a good stir using a paint stick or a suitable alternative. 
    1. Apply a thin layer of the undercoating on the deck of the mower using a paintbrush. You should this twice, however, you should apply it a second time after 24 hours.
  8. In the case of an aerosol coating, shake the can for a few minutes so all the content mix well. Protect the surfaces around and underneath with any suitable material such as a newspaper. 
    1. Take off the can cap after a good shake then apply on all parts of the deck. Apply the coating until the deck is well covered. While at it, make sure follow a pattern to avoid a messy appearance.

It doesn’t just end in undercoating the deck. Wash off all underlying dirt from the mower immediately after each use. The presence of the coating makes this process a lot easier and faster.

The Final Touches On Mower Deck Coating…

Coating a mower deck is not always necessary depending on the construction and design of the mower. It is possible to go for many years and not see a problem. Yet, from my experience, if you plan to keep you mower for many years, you will eventually run into buildup and rust issues.

Coating the mowing deck will definitely lengthen the lifespan and improve day to day operations.

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Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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