Refinishing A Deck Tutorial

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.

So, my wonderful husband, more for me than for himself told my brother in law that for his birthday, in lieu of presents from my siblings, he would like help with our monster deck. Sweet, kind brother in law, thinking this would be one long Saturday of hard work agreed with a smile.

And our journey (and your deck refinishing tutorial) begins…

Supplies needed:
Able bodied men
Nice weather
Pressure washer
Extension cords
Electric sanders/belt sanders
Rollers (mini and regular size)
Extending roller handle
Paint brushes

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.

I saw my poor guys melting at 11 am after one hour of sanding and fashioned this makeshift canopy out of a tarp, a couple stray 2x4s, bungee cords and twine to protect them somewhat. Turns out we would not have been able to stain the deck without this because you cannot stain wood that is over 95 degrees. Yay for the DIY canopy!

6. Sweep the dust from the deck. You could use tack cloth if you want to be a perfectionist. :) We were lazy by this point.

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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Dress Up a Brown Bag for a Gift

This is such a simple idea which is what makes it so great. All you need to make this cute bag is a brown paper sack and a scrap of scrapbook paper. My friend got this at her baby shower and I thought it was so smart. Sorry it is so hard to see, but it has a piece of cute blue baby paper the plain brown bag.

It would be so easy to have a stash of brown bags and then just personalize them with scrapbook paper based on the occasion, birthday, baby or bridal shower, etc. Love it. (Thanks Tami!)

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Feature Friday-Life at Eventually Cottage

Our Feature Friday this week is Dawn from Life at Eventually Cottage.


I found Dawn’s blog a few months ago and immediately fell in love with her cookie sheet tray (don’t worry, I’ll share later). Dawn resides in Hudson Valley area of NY and has been transforming an 1850’s carriage house in to a cozy little cottage. I will take you on a whirlwind tour of some of her budget home decor tips. The transformations are to come, but for now, let’s get started with the one minute interview:

  • What is your favorite crafting tool or secret weapon? Ooh, do I really have to pick just one? Yikes, I have so many favs! I guess it would be a tie between Mod Podge and Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X spray paint. I’ve just discovered this fabulous spray paint! It’s AMAZING! It covers lickety-split and comes in some gorgeous colors!!!
  • What is your favorite piece of décor in your house? Definately my trash-to-treasure radio cabinet!!! I absolutely love that piece!
  • What is your best piece of tween/teen advice for everyone with kids entering this phase? Yikes! I’ve yet to figure this one out! Consistancy and sticking to your guns, I’d say. Don’t let them break you!!! If anyone has any other advice on this subject, I’d gladly listen!!!
  • What is in the cup holder of your car? Some change, a gas station receipt, and an empty Dunkin Donuts coffee cup.

I love a woman who can decorate her home dollar store style. It makes the cheapo in me squeal in delight. Check out the beauties below from Dawn’s Frugal Friday post. Each project cost less than $5, be still my heart!

Now for the tray that was love at first site. I mean come on, this tray was a Dollar Tree cookie sheet. If you can paint and stamp you can do this!

I love when people take the Trash to Treasure challenge and make ew things turn in to ah things! Dawn found this old radio cabinet by the side of the road and gave it a beautiful makeover.

Had enough, too bad! 😉 I just had to show these before and after shots of her bathroom door and porch light re-dos. First off, the bathroom door…



I am particularly in love with the fact that she spray painted the doorknob!! Why this never crossed my mind, I don’t know. I have slowly been buying new door knobs as I could afford them to replace the ugly brassy ones in the house. DUH. Why not instead buy a can of spray paint for the same price as one knob and give them all a facelift. This is why I love you guys! You give me those light bulb moments!

And the same thing with the ugly porch light. Again, we replaced out hideous lights. Why did I not think of this?!



This next bit is Dawn’s room reveal. She tells you where she got each piece and some of them may surprise you or make you want to sift through other people’s unwanted stuff. Bet you can’t guess where that white cabinet came from. It is her cousins old hutch top. AMAZING!

Is it possible to have a crush on someone’s house?

Great ideas Dawn! You are now entered in to the Hall of Fame as Tipster of the Week!

Also, just as an FYI I will be on a pioneer trek all next week and for some reason they do not get wireless in a handcart in the desert of Wyoming, so I am planning on scheduling some posts so you will not get lonely. I warn you of this fact in case for some reason the scheduling goes haywire and you don’t hear from me for a week. If you don’t hear for me for 2 weeks please send help! 😉

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Ode to the Pioneers-Make Your Own Butter

We had a Family Home Evening on Pioneers (preparing for trek next week) the other night and as our activity made our own butter. I thought I would share this just in time for Pioneer Day the 24th! I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but it was great and it entertained my husband and nearly 20 month old son for a good 15 minutes.

All you need to make your own butter is:

  • A baby food jar (we only had the big ones, but I think the small ones would work better)
  • Whipping cream-a half pint should suffice unless you have a big family or want a lot of butter.

Just give each family member a jar (we just did one jar because I wasn’t sure how the attention spans would last) and fill it 1/4 to 1/2 full of whipping cream. Then, shake, shake, shake, until it is the consistency of whipped butter. If there is liquid, just keep shaking. It will be really soft unless you put it in the fridge.

I made cornbread (from a mix) to go along with it and my boys LOVED it! We ate the whole pan.

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