The house came with two decks. One was 10 years old and the other about 6
years old. They were severely neglected.
The previous owner did zero maintenance on the house (hence the lower price
of the house). The deck was nearly unusable. Lots of nails sticking up; some
quite high. All the boards were badly cupped and many were splintered so
walking barefoot was not safe.
I chemical cleaned and pressure washed the deck which did get rid of a lot
algae and many black stains but the surface was still so bad that it was an
eyesore (especially when it got wet) and very uncomfortable to walk on even
This is what the stairs looked like. The photographs doesn't do a good job of
revealing the cupping or the areas where the boards were heavily splintered.
But you can see that under the bench to the left of the stairs where the wood
has turned totally black.
And here's what the condition of "newer" lower deck looked like. Again, the
photographs seem to disguise the extent of the neglected condition of the boards.
Knowing that I could never afford anyone to restore the deck and I didn't
want to rent any heavy equipment I decided to do the job with a belt sander
that I already owned.
Here's the work in progress using 24 grit blue sandpaper. I had to pound down
several hundred nails. My helper points out where further work needs to be
done. Good supervisor and doesn't talk too much.
Here's another picture of the stairs and lower deck in progress.
First pass at sanding the lower deck. After using 24 grit sandpaper, I sanded
the entire deck with 60 grit sandpaper. No photographs of the finished work.
After living with the ugly black boards, I couldn't bear the thought of
putting on a dark stain so I used Cabot 2752 Golden Tan. Two coats are
absolutely required. In the shade at around 70 degrees, I used a roller to
quickly distribute the stain (one board at a time), then, and this is
critical, I used a wide paint brush in one long stroke down the entire board
to evenly smooth out the stain. I used 4 gallons at $28/gallon.
Even though Cabot claims that the finish will last 3 years, with the heat and
scorching sun here I expect that I'll have to recoat once/year. Coating goes
quite quickly once you get into the rhythm.
So now I have a deck that's easy and safe to walk on barefoot. The project
took about a week.
I do, however, wonder why so many people have decks to begin with. Where I
live hardly anyone ever uses the deck regardless of the sun or temperature.
Have decks become decorative like shutters?