09 May 2012

DIY: deck painting

Here’s a perhaps little-known fact about our home: we have a pretty big deck. Did you know that? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t, because I almost never mention it. I don’t have “visions” for it, I don’t decorate it, I don’t ever spend time on it. It’s a nice enough deck, I guess, but I’m just not really a deck person. Its only purpose in my life was to provide a place for Mr. P to grill delicious food for me, and maybe to serve as an unsightly part of the view out of our kitchen bay window.

Unfortunately, it’s a space that requires some maintenance, which is a little annoying considering that I never use it. Because it’s solid wood, out in the weather day in and day out, it needs to be maintained lest the whole thing rot and crumble.

That’s why a few years ago, after I’d lived here a few years, my parents came and helped me re-paint the massive thing.

Oh, did I not mention it’s massive? SO MANY STEPS.

When my parents came to help, we were able to knock it out in a day, with three people doing the painting and my stepfather’s fancy ladders and painting supplies (I had none of my own, yet). It was actually relatively painless, considering that my parents did a ton of the work!

But that was a few years ago, and the deck was starting to look worn and weather-stained again... which was no good for selling the house.

Every last one of those stairs was green. Again. Yuck. (Ignore the ghostly reflection of the fruit bowl in the window, please! See, it really does comprise most of the view out of the bay window.)

At one point I considered renting a power washer and just trying to get the green gunk off that way. It’d be easier, marginally cheaper, and wouldn’t require moving Mr. P’s humongo-grill down all those steps (SO MANY STEPS) to ground level. However, the recent hailstorm caused a teeny, perhaps imaginary, bit of paint chipping on the deck, so Mr. Nice Claims Adjustor included paint in the insurance claim. Mostly-free paint, yeah!

So, repainting it was the way to go. But because my parents are three years older and three years grumpier and three years less likely to help me out a second time, and because I’ve got the gumption to repaint the entire inside of my house on my own so why not the deck... this time, I tackled it alone.

Before I could even take on the challenge, though, there was a problem with the paint. Yes, again. This time, the problem was the deck had only been painted in oil-based paint every time before. Not stain – paint. Which was rare in 2008, the last time I painted the deck, and is sold almost nowhere nowadays. If I couldn’t find oil-based paint, I’d have to prime AND paint the deck in latex paint. That’s two coats. Over that whole deck. By myself. No no no no no no.

That no no no meltdown occurred in Home Depot, when I found they carried absolutely ZERO oil-based paint. Thank goodness we tried Lowe’s, though, and found this stuff. So, if you are one of the few remaining people who needs oil-based paint, there you go. No meltdown in Home Depot for you!

So, armed with two gallons of the last oil-based paint in existence and disposable paintbrushes, and dressed in the same clothes I wore when I painted the deck in 2008, off I went!

Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of progress shots because I was, well, covered in oil-based paint. But this photo really shows you a nice before-and-after, eh?

At every step, I started with the outside of the rails, which I just painted by reaching over or through the rails and slapping on paint from the other side. That allowed me to skip using the ladder like you see in the photo above. Sure, leaning over the rails was not the safest thing in the world, but neither is crawling twelve feet in the air on a ladder, so it worked for me. After the outside of the deck, I painted the inside of the rails, and finally, the flooring. And for cleanup, I highly recommend this stuff. I’ve used it on every staining project and it works like a charm. It doesn’t even smell too bad!

Finally, a gallon and a half of paint, several brushes, and two weekends later (yes two weekends, thanks frequent April rainstorms)...

Done! ALL BY MAHSELF! Every one of those steps and every riser they rest on and every railing and every board on the top and every pole holding the whole freaking thing up! Are you picturing me with my arms raised up like a champion? Yeah, me too. But just picturing. Because I was so sore I couldn’t raise my arms above shoulder-height for a week.

So that was one huge outdoor project, tackled! In the end, despite my reluctance to paint and resentment at the deck’s existence, it was worth it. In real life, it’s a gorgeous, rich chocolatey brown (it’s hard to tell in the photo). And painting it made the deck seem like an actual feature in this marketing photo for the listing, not just an awful behemoth wooden construction that has to be painted every three years, ugh:

And now water beads up on it like a boss when it rains. Function and form! Although I’m rethinking the decision not to power-wash, with all that dirt built up on the back of the house. But still! The deck! Is finally pretty! High-five, dear readers. Wait, no... down low.


Miranda said...

That is the first time I've ever seen the back of your house!

Sarah said...

Exactly, Miranda! I think I used to go in the backyard about once a year. Literally. And only with a good, specific reason.

Rachel said...

Props to you, friend! You are officially the painting master.

Tina said...

You forever impress your grumpy ol' momma... when I told Ron you called him "grumpy", too, he said to email you and tell you that "d___-it, I am not grumpy". =P
It looks great! Hope that does the trick, too, of getting this house SOLD! *wink wink*

Sarah said...

Thanks, guys! Please tell my stepdad I inherited my considerable grumpiness from him.