Deck “before”

Yay- I found my missing pictures!  Now I can show you what the deck looked like before we started staining.  I wish I had a good picture of the deck with green algae all over it, but I think I was too embarrassed about it looking like that to take a photo.

So the first thing we did to prep the deck was to pressure wash it with a cleaning solution.  You can easily do this yourself- places like True Value** will rent you a pressure washer (if you don’t want to buy one) and you can buy a cleaning solution to put in it.  Make sure you don’t wash the deck on a super high pressure setting, because this can do more damage than good to your deck.  We opted to have a professional painting company do the pressure washing, only because they were already going to be pressure washing our house.  9 times out of 10 we prefer to do work to our house ourselves, but we have a 2 story house with a SUPER steep roof (my husband went up there once, turned white as a sheet and got right back down) so we called in the pro’s for that job (we had them pressure wash the entire house plus paint all the white trim- it looks SO nice and it was so refreshing to come home to find that done in a 3 day time frame instead of the weeks it would have taken us).  Anyway, I digress.  So the pro’s pressure washed our deck with a cleaning solution (Krud Kutter).  Here’s what it looked like after they were done:

Deck minus green algae

Notice the step is not where it should be- we had to have a piece of siding replaced that ran behind the step, so we detached it and moved it out of the way.  I think it’s a good thing we did this, because obviously the wood underneath the step is not protected in any way- we’re planning on putting down a coat of stain before putting the step back, because water can go through the step and it would be terrible to have that part of the deck rot out.

A lot of stains recommend you use a brightener (to restore the pH of the wood) after cleaning it- we didn’t, because we felt that the Krud Kutter did the job.  This could always be a mistake that might come back to bite us in the end, but we’ll see.  Also, you should wait at least three days after cleaning to apply your stain to allow the wood to fully dry out.  We had our deck cleaned in early August, so it had plenty of time to dry out in our hot summer heat.  It did rain early this week, but we’re projected to have at least 3 dry days before we start staining again, and the rain was fairly light so again we should be fine.

After the deck was clean, we my husband went around and re-set any nails that were coming up with a nail set.  This is pretty simple and worthwhile to do- there’s nothing quite like stubbing a toe or ripping open your foot on a nail that’s poking part way up from the deck.  Alternatively, you could replace the nails with stainless steel screws.

Then we scraped between each board to remove the dirt and fur (it was an embarrassing amount of fur, let me tell you- I’m hoping it wasn’t all from our dogs!!) and also went underneath the deck and swept off the underside of the boards.  Using a garden sprayer (this is a super handy trick if you’re applying a clear stain- it goes SO fast.  We did both sides of our 300 linear feet fence in a day using two garden sprayers and rollers- life saving!) my husband sprayed the underside of our deck with a clear stain/waterproofer (leftover from our fence staining)- we didn’t want to take the time/effort to stain the underside of our deck that no one sees, but we did want to protect it from the elements.

That’s about it as far as deck prep goes- the only other thing we did was to sweep and blow off the deck with the leaf blower the day we started applying stain (we’ll do that again this weekend since it’s rained and our dogs have tracked dirt all over the deck).  It’s important to make sure your deck surface is as clean as possible so the stain can have a chance to bind to the wood and not the dirt that’s coating the wood!

You already saw what our deck looks like to date, and read about our color choice (and mishap!)  Stay tuned, because after this weekend I should have some good “after” pics to show you!  I’ll leave you with a couple up close photos of our deck prior to staining…

Railing prior to staining- the light spot on the left hand side of this photo is where a squirrel decided to start chewing on the railing.  Seriously.  Does anyone else think squirrels remind them of giant furry cockroaches- especially the way they scurry up and down trees- or is it just me?  Anyone? 
Kirby would like to show you the deck surface- a lot of that wear is from doggy nails, unfortunately.  Here’s hoping this new coat of stain holds up!!

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in any way by this company for this post.

One thought on “Deck “before”

  1. You did a great job! Where did you learn all those deck cleaning processes? It looked like a job done by a professional. Well, I hope that you can train your dog to stop scratching your deck. If not prevented, your deck might end up getting more damage.


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