So, I haven’t posted on here in quite awhile. Decided I’d kick things back off with a small project we did.
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I have been extremely busy with work and 1) I haven’t had much time at all to browse my usual sites, blogs, pinterest, etc. and 2) haven’t had time to blog about the few times I did get. I suppose gaps like this are to be expected. This blog isn’t in any way related to my job, so unlike a designer, it has to go on the back-burner when more important things in my life are occupying my time.
However, in the little bit of free time we have had lately, my wife and I finally decided to make a big change to our deck. We never use the deck on our house because it is in terrible shape. The previous owner never cared for it and it gets direct sun. Easy to see where this is going right? It was completely dried up and cracked. Splinters were always a concern, it wasn’t fun for our pug to lay on, and it just wasn’t ever a place we wanted to spend any time. We had pressure washed and stained it before, but it was like “putting lipstick on a pig” as the saying goes. Finally, after not wanting to put in lots of effort again, only to have a deck that looked OK from far away but wasn’t functional, we decided to look at other options.
We considered paint, outdoor rugs, or even redoing the decking surface with new boards. Instead, we ended up going with Behr’s DeckOver product. It claims to seal in splinters, fill in cracks, and generally level out the rough surface of a weather-worn deck. I am often skeptical of products like this, but after reading some positive reviews online and talking to a few people that used it, we decided to take the plunge. It also helps that we have been very satisfied with both interior and exterior Behr paints. It was going to be about $200 and our own labor, which was not a big deal if it made our deck functional again. You just have to understand that you are making a permanent decision.
Behr DeckOver is a solid product that completely coats your boards. You will not be able to go back and stain your deck again so you need to understand what you are getting into. In our situation it was perfect. However, in an effort to offset the fact we were covering the natural beauty of wood grain, we decided to go with a two-tone look of grey and light brown that would complement our grey siding and provide some visual interest. We went with Castle Grey and Light Lead (Warning, if you get lots of direct sun, the colors will show up lighter than on the card during most of the day due to some visual washout) and couldn’t be happier.
Below is 1 “Before” picture to show you the condition of the deck as I was putting on a light first coat. For good measure, I also included a couple pictures to show how absolutely dreadful our yard was before we installed a retaining wall, back-filled, and then installed bermuda sod.
(NOTE: I have added some step-by-steps at the end)
A couple notes before the after pictures: We cleaned and scrubbed the deck beforehand with Behr’s chemical cleaner. I then applied two generous coats, spending extra time to brush or roll into the deepest cracks on the deck boards themselves. All the miscellaneous spindles and handrails received one generous coat. Additionally, you will see some shots of our yard in these pictures. If you compare and contrast where our yard was when we moved in until now, it is a HUGE difference. We do still plan to fence our backyard, both for our dog and for privacy…but it has come a long way. And oh yeah, the deck appears in these pictures too. Since this post was supposed to be about our deck:
We were REALLY happy with how the two-tone look turned out. I think it looks a lot more planned and a lot less like a couple who was desperate to make their deck usable. As far as the deck surfaces goes, it is great so far. So much more level, no worrying about splinters, and it feels great under foot. It wasn’t any harder to put on than stain and really not much more expensive if at all. I would highly recommend this to anyone who has given up on their deck. Home Depot sells Behr DeckOver and I believe Lowes sells a similar product called Restore, but I cannot compare/contrast since we did not use their product. Just wanted to make people aware that there was a competing product.
At some point in the future, we will check back in with a “Part 2” of our deck make over where we plan to furnish the deck as cheaply, yet as chicly as possible. We plan to have a DIY bench involved as well as finding a way to make a second-hand patio table work.
Anyone who has any questions about this Behr DeckOver review, feel free to ask here and I can try to help. This was our first time using it, so I can’t claim to be an expert, but I’ll help if I can!
I figured I may as well put a little more detail here since I have had a few people contact me with questions now:
- If you have a thick coat of stain or paint, you need to use a stain/paint stripping agent first and follow all of its instructions. Our previous stain job was wearing thin so we skipped this step.
- Next,, we used Behr Premium All-In-One Wood Cleaner and followed the instructions on the back. We ended up using the entire bottle instead of half-diluted because it didn’t seem to be working well enough at half-strength. We utilized a 5-gallon bucket, a roller, and an extension pole to make it comfortable to do the entire deck standing up. We were also lucky enough to have a hard-bristled, long-handled brush broom to utilize for this portion to scrub the deck as well. Alternatively, you can pressure-wash your deck in place of using the all in one wood cleaner. However we don’t have a pressure-washer and the cleaner is only $19.99 at our Home Depot. Additionally, last time we pressure-washed our deck, it was blowing splinters up even at a low pressure so that was another factor in going with the chemical cleaner. We only did this on the deck boards themselves. In hind-sight, I may have done it on the stair treads and the handrails as well (but not the spindles).
- Once we cleaned and rinsed the deck we let it dry. Due to us cleaning the deck on a Sunday, we let it sit an entire week before we started the DeckOver itself. It is worth noting that it probably took 24 hours for the cleaner’s effect to really appear. By Monday evening the deck was noticeably lighter and most of any visible mildew was gone.
- When it was time to do the DeckOver, we made sure the forecast had little to no rain for the next 48 hours. I recommend starting with a 3″ brush (angled if you have one or want to buy one). Any of your deepest cracks and knots: go ahead and fill them on a first pass with the brush. it seems time consuming but it is worth it. Don’t waste your time doing this on ALL of them, but the biggest once it is worth it.
- Next, as soon as that was done, I began rolling 3/8″ nap roller on the deck boards using the extension pole again. I loaded up the roller heavy with the product (heavier than I would inside) and just started laying it on thick. I broke the deck into sections and 3′ wide and across the length of the deck (painting myself off the deck so to speak). I made sure to roll each section in BOTH directions (or at least multiple angles) before moving on. I found that this filled the cracks best instead of just painting back and forth. As I moved to each of the next 3′ wide sections, I overlapped the previous section by a foot as well. This made sure that everything was really getting a good coat. TIP: Be very cognizant of your drips. This product dries quickly and it will be somewhat noticeable if you do not smooth out/roll out your drips as you see them on portions of boards you won’t be getting to for a few minutes.
- I painted myself to the stairs and then down the stairs and let that dry for about 5 hours in dry, sunny, windy conditions (about 80 F). Please note that not all cracks will be filled in after the first coat.
- The 2nd coat, I followed the exact same procedure. I made extra sure to keep adding product to the roller and not move on to the next section until the cracks were nearly completely filled in. I once again painted in sections, overlapping, and painted myself off the deck and down the stairs. We let it dry overnight.
- IF you still have noticeable cracks, I would do a 3rd coat. Please understand that, due to the wood having natural bumps and the fact that the product is thick, and rollers have a texture themselves, your deck with have some “texture” when it is done. It looks great to me, but when I say it is “smooth”, just understand that it is “smooth” like a wall with a sort of orange-peel finish is smooth. Feels great under foot.
- We spent the next day painting spindles and handrails. This was the hardest part of the job. Angled 2″ brushes for everything except the very top of the handrails where we used a small roller. It took both of us probably 3X as long to paint the spindles as it took me by myself to do the 2 coats on the deck boards. Luckily, we only did one coat on these trim-type pieces that don’t take the same beating as the walking surface. Since the product says only light foot traffic for 48 hours, we went barefoot on the deck while doing this part just to be safe.
- As noted, the instructions say to wait 48 hours before light foot-traffic and 72 hours before it is cure. To us, it is worth respecting that to try and ensure the best finish and longevity of the product. We went ahead and waited until this coming weekend to plan to put anything back on the deck.
Hopefully all of this helps someone out there in the same dilemma we had!