Around the House: Decked out

Even though I didn’t blog about it at the time, last fall we started plugging away on a major outdoor update: refinishing our deck. To say this project was an undertaking would be an understatement. It was excruciating! But it was also long overdue. Long long overdue.

The reason it was such a pain is that we have a fairly large deck. With two sets of steps, and a built in bench, there were nooks and crannies galore that all had to be washed and refinished- with two coats. The reason I haven’t blogged about it yet is because we were only able to get one coat on a lot of it before the first snow fall of the winter hit us. Boo.

But I’ll get to that in a minute. First let’s catch up. Our deck used to look like this:


Actually not too shabby considering the shape the rest of the house was in when we bought it. Not great, but not bad. We love the outdoor space and use it all the time, but with a few years of wear, it was looking pretty sad:

designingdawn Deck Before-1

designingdawn Deck Before-5

designingdawn Deck Before-4

designingdawn Deck Before-3

Yeah. Sad.

We’re still hoping to get the exterior of the house painted this spring/summer. There is a lot of siding repair and replacement that has to happen first, and we’re in the process of getting all that figured out at the moment. Last year we tackled some landscaping in the front of the house, adding a nice rock patio, so we thought another good project before the BIG painting, would be a deck overhaul out back too.


The other reason the deck thing made me crazy was that I am already a little crazy to start with. That is to say, instead of using one solid color like it had been previously. I was dead set on a two tone deck. I kept things structured by painting all horizontal surfaces gray, while all vertical surfaces went white. I LOVE how it turned out and think it has way more personality and visual interest than one color would have had. But there were definitely times when one color would have been way easier. Picture me crawling on my belly (pre-prego of course) under the benches, trying to paint the posts without getting any white paint on the gray deck. Yeah. Those times. (You can see some of the posts in the back, under the bench, that were still waiting on getting painted when this photo was taken.)

deck one coat

As for the process, it took five of us (thanks Dad, Dania and Chad!!) about 6 hours over a weekend to get the first coat on. All those little spindles, steps, nooks and crannies made it quite a task. My dad and Brett had power washed the whole thing the day before, leaving over 24 hours for dry time before any paint went down. Here’s the deck before the washing:

I don’t have a photo (bad blogger!) of the power-washing process, but we didn’t worry too much about getting all the previous stain off. We just made sure any peeling stain was up and that the whole thing was nice and clean. The product we decided to use is designed to be completely opaque and covers very well. It is made by Olympic and called ‘Rescue It’, and it also seals the wood, fills in cracks, and locks down splinters, etc. Basically a perfect product for our beat up deck, and the look we were going for (i.e. not stained wood).

The product recommends two coats, and over the winter months we learned why. The one coat we had down is definitely chipped and peeling in a few areas thanks to shoveling snow off the deck. We will likely be power-washing it all again before the second coat goes down this spring. (And possibly a third coat depending on how much comes off during the power washing phase.) Once we finally get the second coat on and can call the deck finished, we plan to go ahead and refinished our previously unused sandbox and the unsightly air conditioner cover as well. I might also gave the swing set a coat too, just so everything looks all fresh and matchy.

The ‘Rescue It’ has a slightly textured, non-slip finish. It almost feels gritty, but it looks great. Here’s a close up of the flooring painted after one coat. You can see the gritty texture of the paint.

deck close up

And here is a crappy phone photo, but it shows one of my favorite views. The one I get so see from my bedroom window every morning. (Sorry for the trippy through-the-window-screen effect that’s going on here.) You can see how the two-tones really does makes a difference! You can also see the sandbox in the corner of this photo that we hope to make over this summer once the deck is finished.

deck one coat top view

Overall, I am so so SO happy with how it is turning out (other than the peeling parts- hopefully user error and not product error, and hopefully remedied soon) and can’t wait to get the final coat on and get some decoration going on out there. Just picture it with an outdoor rug and table, some candles, and decorative pillows and planters. It is like a completely new deck and I am sometimes still caught off guard by how bright it is every time I walk into the kitchen. Especially now that things are starting to green up again. I can already picture it finally finished off with all the summer landscaping coming in. Completely worth all the work. Once we get the house painted, I am convinced it will be even prettier, adding a nice bright detail to the backyard and making our outdoor space just perfect!!

Anyone else ever tried Olympic Rescue It?? Or used any other products to painstakingly refinish a deck? Haha. I’m definitely not really looking forward to getting this second coat on. If there’s ever a next time on refinishing the deck, I think we’ll just have to move. Jk. Kind of.



  • Sandra Koll

    Looks great! Love the newly painted deck!


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