How to Refinish and Paint an Old Wooden Porch and Deck
About ten years after I moved into and restored my 100-year-old house, I decided to have a wooden deck and porch added to the back of the house. The back side of the house ended with steps going out and into the yard. This new porch was built to run alongside the length of the house. It would lead out onto the deck area. I designed the deck to have a bench with built-in storage to store flower pots and other miscellaneous items.
The length of the porch and deck is about 40 feet long. I like to have family barbeques, so I planned to have enough space for the grill, a large picnic table, and lots of seating.
My Pressure Cleaner
The Decision on How to Preserve the Wood
After the porch and deck were built, there was a lot of discussion as to how the pressure-treated lumber we used should be preserved. One school of thought was to let the wood “age" and then use a liquid sealer. Another idea was to just stain the wood with a good oil based stain and then leave it alone. I wanted my deck to be painted so I could match the color with the trim on the house. BIG MISTAKE!
If I had to do it all over again, I would never have painted the wood. After a while, the paint wears off. Another big drawback: Because of the high humidity we have in South Florida, a lot of mildew forms. This meant that I frequently needed to pressure clean the porch and deck. I got so tired of hiring someone to do this that I purchased a pressure cleaner so that I could do it myself.
My pressure cleaner has paid for itself many times over. I even rent it out when I’m not using it! I not only use the pressure cleaner for the wooden porch and deck, but on the house and my driveway. It's important to note, however, that using a pressure cleaner requires great care; otherwise, you can do a lot of damage!
Supplies for Painting the Porch and Deck
How I Repainted the Wood
Once I made the decision to paint the wood, the only way to refinish it would be to completely strip the wood from all the paint and then treat it as new. That is one job I am not willing to tackle. So, when the porch and deck began to look bad, I only had one choice to make it look nice again: REPAINT IT!
- I pressure cleaned the area completely using my Husky Pressure Washer. Since I wanted to blast off as much old paint as possible, I used the highest pressure with the nozzle (not the sprayer nozzle).
- I used a wide paint scraper to scrape off the peeling paint. I also used a wire brush to knock off peeling paint.
- I sanded down those areas that had splinters with the belt sander.
- I used a good primer on the raw wood. I like Kilz brand as a primer.
- I used the very best Deck and Porch Enamel. I prefer Behr’s paints because I think it holds up better than other brands, even though it is more expensive.
- I used a four-inch brush to paint the deck to get down between the cracks. I could have used a roller, but I would have wasted a lot of paint. It took me longer to use a brush than if I had used a roller. You could use a paint sprayer if you prefer.
- I was able to use a roller for the porch because there are not as many cracks between the boards.
Alternative: Paint Sprayer
If you are proficient using a paint sprayer, you could use that instead of a paint brush or roller. I tried to learn how to use a paint sprayer once, and I just succeeded in spraying everything else except the object I wanted to paint!
Besides, I figure by the time I mask off the surrounding area I do not want painted, I can just as quickly use a paint brush or roller.
I Enjoy Painting Projects
One of my favorite “do it yourself” projects is to paint. That’s a good thing because living in an old house, there is always painting to be done. My windows and doors are all wood framed, and they require scraping and painting quite often to keep the wood from rotting. Painting is a project that when you finish the job, you can step back and admire your work and see instant gratification. I like that.
Project Took About a Week
Fortunately, the weather cooperated with me to do this project. I had to stop for a couple of days because of rain. All told, I spent a week (off and on) to complete my painting of the porch and deck, but now it looks great. It will look good for about two years if I’m lucky. By that time, I am hoping I’ll be able to afford to completely demolish the old porch and deck and rebuild.
If I have the new porch and deck built of pressure-treated lumber, I will NOT paint it. I am told there are products made now of plastic material that is maintenance free. This is a product that is made primarily from wood fibers and recycled plastic. The claim is that it won’t splinter, rot or warp. I’m sure this product is very expensive, but the initial investment would well worth it.
For the time being, I like the way my porch and deck look, don’t you?
The Steps Leading From the Deck
The Steps Have Been Primed With Kilz
The Deck Before Priming and Painting
I Used Behr's Deck and Porch Enamel
Bare New Wood on the Porch Is Primed
Porch Is Primed and Ready for Painting
Primed and Ready for Painting
The Porch Is Painted
I Just Love to Paint!
I enjoy painting all around my house. I painted this fence: one half is for my grandchildren. I painted their favorite Florida animals. The other half is for me that shows my love for flowers.
How to Choose Decking Materials
- Types of Outdoor Decking Materials
If you are dreaming of an outdoor deck to enjoy neighborhood barbeques and family gatherings, start by familiarizing yourself with the different types of decking materials available today.
Do you enjoy doing projects like painting around the house?
If you want to strip and stain your deck rather than paint it as I did, this is an excellent video.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Mary Hyatt