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How to Redo Your Old Deck {The Hard Way}

So our home is from 1989.  And the deck is too.  The prior owners had stained it twice.  It’s been in need of redoing since we moved in over three years ago, but this summer it finally made its way up to the top of the to do list.

Now let me just say this is by no means one of those makeovers where everything is perfect in the end.  It’s not.  And I still need to do some touch ups on the white vertical parts of the railings.  But the deck is much better and this redo should buy us a few more years before a major rehaul is needed.

The Before

Our deck was structurally sound but very rough- paint peeling, stain worn off, splinters waiting to happen.

the rough deck

sanding the deck

The After

Like I said, it’s not perfect but it’s much better than it was.  In particular, it is much smoother.

the deck after being sanded and stained

The Process

So here’s how I did it.

Step 1: I sanded down the railings to knock off the loose and chipping paint and stain.  Then I stained the top horizontal parts and painted the vertical parts white.  The railings look a little dirty at the bottom because some rain had kicked up some dirt onto them and I was too lazy to wash them off.  But trust me, they are bright white.

the white railings

the finished railings

Step 2: I stripped the floor part of the deck with deck stripper.  Let me just warn anyone who might be thinking of using this product– it works but oh is the smell strong!

Step 3: I sanded down the floor part of the deck.  This took forever!  This photo is from a test patch I sanded before I used the stripper on the deck.  I was trying to see how long sanding would take me.

the boards half sanded

Step 4: I stained the floor of the deck.  We used a semi-transparent stain.  Generally I would say that in cases like ours we should have used a solid stain but there was a big old 5 gallon bucket of semi-transparent stain in the mis-tint section of Home Depot for only $30, so for that price I could not pass it up.  Please try to ignore the fence in the background.  It’s in major need of repainting and yet I can only paint so much in one summer.

the railing after staining and painting

Step 5: I collapsed in exhaustion.  No, I actually changed out of my dirty clothes, threw on some clean ones and took my kids out for a celebratory lunch.

So, would I do it this way again? Nope.  If I were to do it again, I think I would try that Deck Restore coating stuff.  Sanding was extremely labor intensive and did not have as great of results as I had hoped that it would.  That all being said, I am really happy with the results and I feel like the deck is much more enjoyable now.

Mary Martha Mama