Finishing up the deck

I’m pleased to welcome Sarah in Illinois back to the blog. Today’s post is full of the things I love: a big doggie, country views and a great DIY transformation. Take it away, Sarah.

One of Steve and my favorite places to relax is on our deck. The summer of 2013 we drew up plans and built a large deck off the back of our house. There are some things about the deck that we wish we had done differently, but overall we are very happy with it. (Hello, Treu!)

Deck with Treu

We had done a little research on how to protect it. One thing that we had read was to wait a year to put any sealant on it.

We chose to wait even longer. The boards we used were very green. That is, they had a lot of moisture in them. This was obvious when we installed it, but it also showed up over time as the boards warped more than we had liked as they dried.

This year I decided that it was time to get at least one coat of sealant on it. The thing was, after two years, the deck was very dirty and stained. I believe this was a combination of normal use, stains from the grill, mold from moisture and just pollution in the air.

Deck railing before

So I chose to clean it first. It took just a little bit of prep work. I have two unbelievable huge and beautiful mums, so I made sure to drape plastic drop cloths over them to keep the cleaner off of them. The deck wash I purchased was a bleach base and it worked like a charm for cleaning the deck.

Cleaning the deck

I bought what I believed to be enough based on the square footage that it said it covered. This was way off. I ended up needing double the amount. I think that part of the reason was that maybe the square footage listed did not take in account the railings. But I am sure it also had to do with how heavy I sprayed it on the wood.

I used a hand held pump sprayer to apply the cleaner, then I used a broom to lightly scrub trouble spots, and finally I sprayed it off with a garden hose. This was easily a one person job and if I had had enough cleaner would have taken just one afternoon.

Then I let the deck dry for a couple weeks. I wanted to make sure not to trap any moisture in with the sealant.

Deck before and after cleaning

When it was time to seal the deck, it took more prep work and took two people. Steve and I used the same hand pump sprayer to apply the sealant. We found the method that worked for us was for Steve to spray the railings, then the floor and for me to follow up with a brush and smooth any drips and puddles. We wanted to make sure we put a heavy coat on, but we wanted it to be fairly even.

Applying sealer to the deck

The sealant was much messier than the cleaner. It got everywhere–on us, on the siding, and even oversprayed to my nearby herb garden. We are planning to reside the house in the next year when our addition is finished, so I was not too upset by the overspray on the siding, but I sure wish I had harvested my basil and oregano before we got started.

We feel the deck needs at least one more coat of sealant for us to be happy with it. But since harvest has started, it looks like it is going to be next spring before that gets done.

In the meantime, I am so happy to have the first layer of protection on it. The cooler weather is just begging us to come out of the house and relax!

Deck with mums

What a great outdoor space, Sarah. Those mums are amazing. I’m always so impressed by how wood can be restored with a good cleaning and a bit of work. Good job. I hope you get to relax outside and enjoy it.

Anyone else have tips to share about restoring wood? Have you ever stained a deck? Who else has had a project that’s taken a bit longer to complete than planned?

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2 thoughts on “Finishing up the deck

  1. Those mums ARE amazing!! Beautiful. Your deck is lovely. I would love to sit there and enjoy those prairie views! I love the west coast but do miss the prairie too.
    All my projects seem to take longer than planned. My office has now spanned two ORC’s and all the time in between… :S

    • Thank you Jan! Every year those mums come back even bigger. I am continually amazed at them! We plan to try to split them up and spread them around the deck in the Spring.

      I love our view when the crops are out of the fields. We can see storms coming in for miles!

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