Deck Makeover Part 1 of 2

So, I haven’t posted on here in quite awhile. Decided I’d kick things back off with a small project we did.

NOTE: This blog has switched domains. As of January 19th, 2015 this site should now be accessed via This specific post can be viewed here. Please redirect your visit to the new site for the latest in comments and responses on this behr deckover product.

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)

Deck Before

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!


52 responses to “Deck Makeover Part 1 of 2

  1. I’m so glad I found your blog and this post. Our deck looks almost exactly like your did before refinishing and I’ve been looking for reviews from people who actually used this Behr product. I would love to see a real close up of the finished product so as to better see how much of the cracks were filled in. Nevertheless, you’ve give me hope for our deck as I was beginning to think we would have to completely replace it.

    • glad you found this. I will try and take a couple close-up pictures this weekend for you. I may also edit my post to list my steps. It wasnt complicated but may be useful. This is definitely worth considering vs paying for new deck boards

    • Serene: I went back to one of our previous pictures at full resolution (instead of the reduced size I posted on the blog) and tried to focus on one area. You can see that some cracks were not filled 100% (though they most likely would have been with a 3rd coat) but we are very happy with the finished product:
      Keep in mind that any zoomed in picture is more harsh than it actually looks in person when you are standing/seeing the whole thing at once but I hope that helps some?

  2. Pingback: I Spy… | The Color & Shape·

  3. Thanks so much for the info!! I have a deck that is twin to your deck and I painted a couple of years ago and it all came off with the first snowfall. UGH!!! So I have kind of just been ignoring it but I know I will regret that if I don’t do something. Going to Home Depot tomorrow. Thanks again!!

    • sorry i have been very busy with my job. I hope yours turns out well!! Take the time to do a little prep work if you can but I really hope it turns out well for you.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I really don’t have the energy to peel off the old layers of paint on my deck and the HD salesperson said you don’t have to. Wondering what you thought would happen if I paint over it as is (ie with various degrees of eroding layers)? I did clean it thoroughly first.

    • in what way did you clean it? pressure wash? a chemical cleaner? I think you would get the best results by possibly using a paint stripper and then a chemical cleaner or pressure washer beforehand. does that mean you have to? No. You probably would get the best bond with the product though and have less chance of it stripping as well.

      • Hi Jamie,
        I just used bleach and a hose. The problem with that is the deck is on the second floor and I have 4 dogs that need to run in and out below it and really don’t want to do the chemical cleaners, as that will rain down. Since the deck is so small ( 10 x12) really thinking about just replacing the floor boards at this point because they are 20 years old and will not hold up too well to the pressure washing.

    • Jamie – a good pressure washing (even if you have to pay someone to do it) will be $$ well spent. You can’t paint over dirt/mildew/algae etc anyway, so it needs to be cleaned. Proper pressure washing will also remove any loose, flaking paint/stain from prior coats and will provide the surface you need to begin your project. (my hubby is a professional painter btw)

  5. Anyone have experience with concrete and DeckOver? I’m wondering if pressure washing is enough. It will need to cover some old paint in places.

  6. I bought deck over from home depot with no discernable color listed on the can. It seems they only have the one display and I figured they were all some shade of brown. I have opened the can and it is a bluish gray. I noticed yours went on in the pics as gray but looks brown after. Does it dry that way or was your second coat brown?

    • Mike, the deck boards in our picture are castle grey. It is a brownish grey color that looks grey when wet and brown-grey when dried.

      However, they have lots of different colors. Oranges, browns, tans, greys, reds, blues, greens and everything in between. Not as many colors as paint or anything but there are probably 60 colors in all. The paint department mixed in the pigment with the “base” just like they do with any paint in their store.

      What I am wondering is this: I think you might have picked up just the BASE without any pigment. Our Home Depot had shelves with the base (all the same base for this product) but you don’t pick it up and buy it off the shelf. You tell the paint department what color you want, they get the base, and then add the pigment. You might have picked up a base can with no pigment added. There are too many colors for them to just keep pre-mixed cans and buckets of it sitting out. They do the same with paint. They keep shelves stocked with the different bases for convenience to the paint department, but you don’t just pick them up and buy them, you request a color from the paint department and they add it to the base.

      If you just picked something up off the shelf, I might suggest you taking it back and explaining what you did and looking at the colors they offer.

  7. Quick question – do you find the deck hot to walk on barefoot? saw this comment from others and that it scuffs easily with chairs etc. your comments please! And loved you info – very helpful!

    • Carl: I do find it a little hotter to walk on barefoot than our wood was before, though it is not scorching hot unless it is in the middle of the afternoon and your deck gets direct sun all day. I would recommend going with one of their lighter colors for the deckboards though because of this. We went with one of their lightest browns to assist in reflect some solar heat.

      We also had already planned on a big outdoor area rug which helps and our umbrella shades a good bit too.

      As far as chipping? So far we have not had any problems. We do not have any big, heavy pieces of outdoor furniture out there though so I don’t know that I have a lot of experience to really answer that question.

  8. Hello,
    I’m curious what you did to prep the spindles and railing. I’m considering using DeckOver just on the railing section of my deck and leaving the floor part as bare wood.

    • Hi Sarah. The railing I basically prepped the same way as the deck boards. So I used that chemical cleaner on it. The spindles I did not prep. I hope that doesn’t ever become a problem but the spindles would have taken forever (they take awhile to paint) and they don’t get the same concentration of sun as the horizontal pieces.

      The railings themselves I would consider pressure washing and/or using chemical cleaner just as if they were deck boards. The spindles is up to you. If you go the pressure washing route, you might try and see how quickly you can get through the spindles. I think using the chemical cleaner on the spindles would be too time consuming.

    • hi, sorry I have been very busy lately. The two-tone application was about as simple as it looks. We did everything in the light brown color first and then came back and did the grey portions second. We took a little time to make some touchups at the end too. There are multiple ways to do two-tone decks. I have seen people do a brown or grey-tone on the deckboards and then do all white on the spindles and handrails etc. We chose to do the deckboards brown, all the vertical supports and spindles brown, and then all of the vertical pieces (the toe-boards and the handrails) grey. I’m not sure I know how to describe it any more than that!

      • Thanks for the response. So, the 2nd coat, which is the grey, goes on with the same hand as the brown? I’ve heard it is very thick.

      • for the grey areas we did not do a first coat of brown. The only deckover paint that went onto the grey, horizontal pieces of wood was grey. Everything that was brown got two coats of brown and everything that was grey got 1-2 coats of grey (depending on where it was and how well the first coat looked). Does that help you?

      • Oh. I thought it was a different effect where the brown showed through the grey for a weathered look.

      • oh ok! I understand what you were thinking now. But nope, it was actually just two different colors. The colors we used were Castle Grey (which is actually the brown) and Light Lead (the grey). So, if you like the tone of the colors, those are the two you could look for!

  9. Jamie – I can’t thank you enough for your post. I’ve been pondering using Deckover since I saw it and have been looking for some extended reviews since it is a pretty new product. You’ve given me confidence to go ahead with it. Thank you!

  10. We used a light tan color on our deck. It looked great. However after a few weeks of kids and dogs running up and down the stairs it looked very dirty. I have tried every product known to man to clean it. any suggestions?? I’ m concerned I have gone from staining one time a year to SCRUBBING on my knees daily… So bummed.

    • Jayne: I’m sorry! I don’t know what to suggest. We haven’t had any issues, but it doesn’t sound like you have nearly the foot-traffic we do. We have one small dog and the two of us. However, I will say that it is still a deck. I wouldn’t worry about scrubbing it daily. Decks, driveways, sidewalks, patios and other exterior surfaces all get dirtier every day but they are not worth cleaning every day or even every week in my opinion.

      Have you tried hosing it down with a nozzle on the hose for a little pressure (not pressure-washing pressure)? If that works OK, maybe you could do that once a month or something.

  11. Thank you for all your thorough comments. We are considering using Deck Over on our 20 year old deck. The only questions is we are concerned with scuff marks with just regular deck funiture. Our set is not that heavy and we do move the six chairs around often because of the grandchildren and disabled dog. How is your’s holding up?

    • Sorry. Haven’t had time for the blog much lately. Our deck is holding up well but we just have one small dog and us. It may be hard to compare the usage to us. I wouldn’t be too worried about much except maybe the furniture (only if you are “sliding” it around often maybe?)

  12. I too used deckover after cleaning and pressure washing the deck. After the first coat I let the dogs up after 24 hours. The ground was dry but they left paw prints and darkened dirty areas where they laid down. Some will sweep off but the most requires washing with a wet cloth. This is not tolerable & I cannot get on hands and knees to scrub deck everyday. This is the dogs haven. Used to be able to sweep off &/or wash off with hose. Now what???? I plan to apply a second coat. Maybe I didn’t let it cure long enough? How do I clean this? By the way, it did look wonderful, now just dirty. Dogs live outside.

    • We let ours cure in sunny, dry weather for 72 hours before ever putting any furniture or rugs back on the deck and we also didn’t walk on it with shoes or let our dog on it during that period as well. It has held up well for us. However, we may have a higher tolerance for dirt on an outside surface. Our old deck always got spots of clay/dirt or bird droppings or grass clippings etc. and the new one is no different. I only sweep and hose it off every so often. Since it is outside, I have a pretty high tolerance of it not always looking pristine. I completely understand other people not wanting that. Hopefully a second coat and a longer curing time help for you.

  13. I have been thinking about using this product myself. I have been doing a litle research (which brought me here), to see some reviews from people that have used it before.

    One thing that I have seen is that some people say that it will start to peel after a short amount of time. I was wondering, since it’s been almost a year now, if you saw any signs of the deck over peeling up in places?

    Thanks for the insightful review.

    • Wondering the same thing. How is it holding up? We need to do something with our deck and are researching the Deckover product and the Rustoleum Restore. I don’t want something that is going to need to be re done next year. This looks great!

      • Thank you Sarah. Personally ours has held up well. To me it looks just as good as it did almost a year ago when we completed this project. I can’t say whether most other people have had the same result but we are very happy with it.

      • Just a quick comment from Ohio – ours has held up well except where rug and umbrella stand were – some scratching n not as bright. We are happy with the results. We did ours last summer so has been about a year and we had a rough winter!

  14. Did you coat your deck at least a year ago? Many reviewers say Deckover peels badly after only one year. What was your experience with deterioration of the coating?

    • Ours is over a year old and is still in good condition. I’ll clarify once again that we only have 1 small dog and no children though so more “heavy use” families may be the ones with the issues. Ours has been fine though.

    • Sorry you feel that way. Ours has been down for over a year and lasted through our coldest winter in awhile and it has nor peeled at all.

  15. We have a very large deck and have been staining it every other year. I finally decided to take the leap and use Deck Over. Thank you for your up to date info on this product. We have stripped the deck, power washed it and are ready to go. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for giving us the confidence to invest in this product.

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