CAUTION: Do not expect to get this project done in one day!
Believe me, I know. It is the eye sore that you just don’t want to think about. That nagging in the back of your mind about that barn red paint peeling off the deck. Do I really want to eat this elephant, you say. Come on….just take that first bite. You will find in the end that you have a full stomach that will last 2-3 years!
This was my deck 3 months ago. Lucky for you, the snow is covering the peeling paint and cracking wood that is bound to give someone a splinter someday soon. I use this picture only because it is the only before shot I have. The deck was literally that ugly. I purposefully edited it out of every shot. Too bad this makes the barn red look ok because it was the only place on the entire surface that was left intact. Not ok.
And our journey (and your deck refinishing tutorial) begins…
Able bodied men
Electric sanders/belt sanders
Rollers (mini and regular size)
Extending roller handle
1. Start by checking the weather to choose a good date. This is important! You want a week that is neither raining or too hot. TRUST ME! We started on June 6th and didn’t finish until July 18th because there was not a week dry enough in between there to stain! When does it ever rain for weeks straight in the middle of summer in drought ridden Utah? Right after we strip our deck to it’s bare wood. Sweet.
2. Now that you have a date collect the first three supplies. You can rent a pressure washer at Home Depot for a half day for around $60. Get the smaller, lower pressure one. The other one can really cut in to your wood if you are not really experienced with pressure washers.
3. Clear everything off the deck and either cover the stuff with plastic or place it far enough away that it will not get wet or stained.
4. The pressure washer will do most of the cleaning and sanding for you. Just hook it up and walk along with it keeping the nozzle 8-12″ from the wood. Once the deck looks mostly stripped (there can be a few spots where the tough paint remains, that is what the sanders are for) let it dry completely (for at least a day).
5. Now come in with the electric sanders/belt sanders to do the touch ups and remove any extra paint. We were really picky and sanded pretty much the entire deck so the wood would be really smooth and nice to put the stain on. Once again, check the weather! We did the following steps on a 104 degree day. Not so smart.
7. Now comes the fun part! No, seriously. After hours of washing and sanding this part really is not that bad. Purchase a high quality stain (you get what you pay for!) We went with Kwal because it was recommended by our contractor friend. We chose to do translucent stain instead of paint stain because it looks more natural and does not peel. You just need to reapply every couple of years. No more sanding every time! Woohoo!
8. We applied the stain to the railings using mini foam rollers (seriously made this part so quick!) and paint brushes (use a good quality brush! We had one from Home Depot and two from the dollar store. We threw out the dollar store ones after 5 minutes) for the corners and underside. We found it worked best to fill a disposable tupperware about 1/4 full of stain so we could be totally mobile. For the floor of the deck we used a roller with an extendable handle so you did not have to kneel or hunch and poured the stain in to a roller pan. We went back along the cracks between the floor boards with a brush to be sure we got in between. Just be sure not to let the stain puddle or it sill turn out sticky! (or so warned the man at the store, I was a puddle stickler, so I cannot testify to this!)
9. Let dry for a bit and go around for touch ups. Let dry for at least 24 hours before any major traffic. Then, have a major BBQ to show off all your hard work!!
I think the name of our stain is Natural brown. It turned out darker than we thought, but once we got the stuff back on the deck I really liked it. See the puddles on the left. That’s how you know we did our job. We forgot to turn off the sprinklers and the water was repelled less than 24 hours later. And now we don’t have to think about our deck for another couple of years! Yay!
Sorry about the terrible pictures. My friend Quinn is going to teach me how to take good pics sometime soon.
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