Deck Renovation Part 2: Painting the Deck

June 23, 2017 in DIY Tutorials / Home Design

Have you ever reminisced about your 7th grade summers detasseling corn in the hot Nebraska sun? No? Me either. But if you would like a similar experience as an adult try painting your deck!

To start you need to decide on your color(s) and figure out which product fits your situation best. After looking at a few photos online we decided we really liked the two tone effect created by painting the railing and deck base different colors. The trim on our house is white and the siding is a light blue-gray color so we chose to do the new railing white and the base blue-gray. After looking at a few reviews and chatting with the guy at Lowe’s we landed on Sherwin Williams Weathershield in White Satin and Olympic RESCUE-IT Moderate in Powder Mill (it is pretty gray but dries more blue then it looks). He then guided us on the best rollers to use for each product and we got to work.

I read a ton of different blogs and reviews about these products and people’s experiences painting and to be honest I was seriously dreading it. One gal said it took her one month to do her deck. ONE MONTH! She said it was super labor intensive and she had to keep stopping because it was so overwhelming. Uhhh, sign me up? So I can joke about it being as bad as a 10 hour day detasseling but we honestly got it done over the course of 3 days and it wasn’t all that terrible.

Prepping Your Deck

I am notorious for wanting to jump right in and get the project started. JR can’t stand it. He is all about prep work and following the directions to a tee. Be sure to account for prep work in your deck base painting plan (see below) as you will need to give yourself 24 hours post-cleaning. We used the Olympic Biodegradable Deck Cleaner. To apply use one of these handy dandy pump sprayers. I wouldn’t skimp on this part – apparently there are other deck cleaners that come with a sprayer built in but don’t work as well – you can check out YHL’s experience with other cleaners here.

We sprayed the cleaner on and let it sit per the instructions and then power washed it off with our new power washer. It worked fabulously!! I don’t think this deck had been cleaned in 10+ years! I read a couple other reviews about a regular hose with a sprayer attachment working fine but our deck was super dirty and we were in the market for a power washer any ways!

Painting the Railing

If your deck is at all similar to ours I would suggest starting by painting the railing first. There are 10x more nooks and crannies in the railing so in order to get the best coverage we opted for a combination of rolling and using a paint sprayer.

I would highly suggest if at all possible removing your railings and painting them then reinstalling. Since our deck is raisied up 10ish feet and the support beams are anchored in the cement that obviously wasn’t an option for us. But to get the best coverage that would probably be the easiest. 

Since you are painting the railing first you don’t have to tape any thing other than your house siding, doors, windows, etc – and you don’t have to worry about overspray. We did about 1.5 coats. My best tip for getting started is to go over anything and everything you can get with a big roller first (see first photo). And depending on your current railing go with as big of roller as you can. A lot of reviews say to use the smaller 3-4 in long ones and I used a 7 in roller and could almost get 1.5 horizontal slats done at once. Once you get as much covered in paint as possible go back and worry about the hard to reach spots.

In the areas that are hard to get with a roller we really slathered it on with the sprayer on the first coat so we wouldn’t have to go back and then did a second coat with the roller in areas that are really visible (i.e. the pergola cross beams, the inside planks). We used this super affordable paint sprayer and it worked like a charm. A tip for any outdoor paint – you will really need to water it down to get it to go through a sprayer. We used almost 60/40 paint (60%) and water (40%) to get a good consistent spray. Also be sure to check your paint if you need paint thinner or water. For Sherwin Williams Weathershield you can use water.

Painting the Base

After we were all done with the railing and the pergola it was time to get started on the base. Be sure to plan around your schedule and check the forecast because you have to avoid rain and any heavy furniture for 72 hours after you apply. We used an old bucket, a paint grate, two 7 inch rollers with an extender, the recommended roller, and Olympic RESCUE IT Moderate. We took the same approach as we did with the railing and didn’t worry about taping anything off (honestly, we probably only used 3 ft. of painter’s tape for this whole project). We just got started and covered as much surface area as we could and avoided getting too close to the railing.

Some tips on applying the resurfacer:

  1. Prep, prep, prep! Don’t skimp on the deck cleaner and make sure you hammer in any nails that are coming up and replace any old boards. We hammered in quite a few nails and replaced two boards on our steps.
  2. No crack is too small! (see above!) When you start you are going to be all “Dang this has great coverage” but it gets even better. Keep in mind that it claims to fill in cracks up to 1/4 in thick. It helps to go with the grain and also against the grain in areas that need more coverage. Once you fill in a huge crack your “DANG, will turn into a DAYUMM”
  3. Old Clothes! This paint is seriously brutal. It has sand in it and is essentially like spreading cement. It works great but you will not get this out of your clothes.
  4. Do the stairs last.
  5. Check out Olympic’s Online Guide if you need help! It has some other great tips.

Once we got the majority of it covered we left it for 72 hours to cure. It will be a bit tacky even on the third day still. I started reading a couple reviews about people over applying or not prepping correctly and it stayed tacky for like EVER. It ended up raining around 80 hours in and post-rain all the tackiness was gone.

*insert bad 80s windbreaker joke*

Once the majority of the surface was cured and the rain cleared up we went back with a paint brush and small roller and touched up the areas around the posts and under the railing. We didn’t end up doing in between the deck base planks or under the deck. We absolutely need to but honestly we were pretty burned out (did I mention we did all of this while on days 4-10 of Whole30? Nightmare.) Under the deck is definitely a next summer project.

And that was it! Super manageable and pretty affordable given our results. We are so happy it’s all done and now that its officially summer we can spend the rest of the season enjoying our new outdoor space! Itching to see the final reveal – check back on Monday to see the final pics!

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  • Reply Our Unbelievable Deck Renovation | the happy camp June 23, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    […] our railing – you can check out the story and some helpful tips! Then we slathered on some paint and deck resurfacer. And voila! A modern boho outdoor space dream! Above is our deck halfway through the new railing […]

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