Dark Deck Do-Over

When we bought this house the deck was old and yucky. Just like the rest of the place. Old and yucky.

There was a huge rotten spot in the corner and all the boards were warped. David would put 5 or 10 nails in the ends of some of the boards to keep them from popping up and us tripping all over the place.

But, we always be trippin'.

Also, the railing all around the deck was very loose and unstable. You could not lean on it, more less sit on the ledge, or you would fall over the edge. No good. That's what banisters are for...leaning and sitting.

We made do with what we had. I put a big plant over the rotten spot and we tried to keep people from leaning on the railing. We liked the deck anyway. Our last house didn't even have a back door, much less a deck. It had two front doors. Not sure why.

One day about this time last year, Daddy said that he would come help us rebuild the deck.

Rule #1 of Home Renovation: If someone offers to help you with something, you get a firm date from them, drop everything else, and work on that project no matter what you had next on the to do list. TAKE HELP ANYWHERE YOU CAN GET IT!!

Thank you, dear friends and family, who still love us even though we drag you into DIY projects that you never had any intention of being the "Y" in.

My dad came with a huge truck load of lumber and supplies, every tool he owns, and a 4-wheeler to haul everything up our steep narrow driveway. Over the next several days, he, David, and my brother tore down the old deck, reinforced the foundation and beams, and built and new better deck using treated lumber and about 1.4 million wood screws.

We could have a "Biggest Loser" clogging contest on this deck and it wouldn't budge. Mark believes in building things to last.

The old deck was wobbly and rotten. This deck is sturdy and solid. Really solid. My dad kept having me jump up and down on it during construction.

I bring a lot to the table when it comes to construction. I am the jumper. The go get-er. The bring-er to-er. I decide what we should eat for lunch. I am a critical element to these operations.

Daddy used parts of the old banisters to rebuild the railing. He just reinforced it with new strong wood so that it would be sit-able and not shake-able. We saved a lot of money by not having to buy those huge wood corner pieces and teeny tiny 2x2 spindles. We knew that it would be sturdy and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the old and new wood once it was all repainted white.

We LOVE the new deck. It is sturdy and safe and we enjoy spending time on it and in the back yard. 

This is a great example of our "work in progress" home, though. Fast forward one year, and here we are and the deck is still not painted. It just hasn't happened. Other projects were more urgent AND we are limited by the weather when working on an outside project like this.

No problem. We enjoy what we have done and add the rest to the to do list.

Finally last week we decided that this was the perfect time to get busy on the deck, since the weather is getting a little cooler and we're spending more time outside. YAY! The railing needed to be painted white and the deck floor needed to be water-sealed.

I got out my trusty Kilz primer and got busy. I put one coat of primer over the whole railing- some of which was already white and some was raw wood. Kilz is wonderful and it served to seal the raw wood (so it wouldn't soak up all of our more expensive top coat  paint) and to even out the yucky old paint remaining on the deck pieces that we recycled. I put on a nice even thin coat. It doesn't need to be pretty. Primer is very utilitarian and it's just not going to look real good. Just slap it on there.

Next, I applied one coat of latex exterior white paint over the Kilz. We used an Olympic brand paint from Lowe's and just picked up their straight-off-the-shelf generic white. David helped a lot with this part. We used a small roller and a paint brush to make the job as quick and easy and possible, but all those spindles were more than a little time consuming to paint! We laid it on pretty thick, because we REALLY didn't want to have to do two coats. We always use at least two coats on the walls, but this was such a job that I wanted to skimp. I didn't have the fortitude for painting all those railings three times.

You have to understand that...don't you? Please say you do.

It was also 100 degrees outside...I guess we should have waited a week, but I wanted the deck to be ready for a lot of use during the nice cooler weather that was headed our way.

And I just had the energy to do. It just hit me. Let's paint the deck. And I did.

You have to strike while the iron is hot... because tomorrow you may only feel like eating Cheetos and watching TLC.

Just look how much better it looks! It's amazing what a coat of paint will do!



I'll give you the deck tour next week. Right now there are 2 grills, 2 sleeping dogs, 6 chairs, 4 dog bowls, and 2 dead plants that I would like to do something with before I take that picture.

You can understand that can't you?


  1. Nice job!! You wouldn't even know you used the same wood! It's good to see Mr. Dark put to work ;)
    YOu are a great blogger!

  2. Your deck looks great!

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  3. Looks awesome, Melissa and I totally understand about striking while the iron is hot!!

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