Decked out : DIY deck transformation

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In an ideal world, my husband Mike and I would have ripped up our deck and reconfigured and rebuilt the whole thing. But truthfully, after building a new fence, renovating a mudroom and gutting our main floor bathroom… it just wasn’t going to happen. We decided the best plan of action would be to make the best of it and fix it up so we could maximize our time outside with the kids.

First up, we power-washed the deck. If you don’t have a power-washer, we highly recommend you invest in one. Power-washing lifted off most of the previous paint, and gave us a nice clean surface to stain and paint over. Ours isn’t the strongest unit out there, so it did take us a full day to do the two levels. But I would take it over sanding a deck, any day.

Once the surface was clean and dry (24 hours later), Mike removed the back railing. This side of our deck faces the neighbour’s backyard, and we figured adding some privacy would make the space feel more enjoyable. Once the section was sawed down, he cut out three four-by-four in. squares in the deck for the new posts to slide into. It’s important to have a strong support in case of strong winds, and it also prevents warping.

Our privacy fence is about 16 ft. wide, so we did three posts across. Mike then split pressure treated fence boards into 2.25-in. strips. This gave us two pieces per fence board. For spacing in between, he used a 3/8-in. board, knowing that the wood would shrink and the spacing would inevitably be bigger than what it started out as. Every two feet (in addition to the fourby- fours) he added extra two-by-two strips to reinforce the boards. Using screws (not nails), he would screw the panels in the front into the posts and from the back of the fence into the two-by-twos. This part was more time consuming than we originally anticipated. Slicing the boards took a while, and making sure the panels were level all the way up required serious patience on Mike’s part. When all the panels were up, he cut the top off the middle post, so it was flush and left the two corner ones up for our lights.

Next up, staining. Our Home Hardware store recommended we use stain, not paint, as it would be much more durable. The stain we went with was Beauti-Tone’s WoodShield acrylic deck and siding stain in solid white. The deck wasn’t completely stripped, but because the existing paint was a flat finish, we were able to get away with not sanding it. The stain covered so well. I used a four-in. stain brush on a broomstick to apply it, and I had next to no streak marks. It took two full coats to do the whole deck, and we used about four gallons of stain. To give you an idea of the time-frame, this job took one full day!

For the railings, we used Beauti- Tone’s Signature Series exterior paint. Again, we used a pure white, and it covered very nicely. Because the railings get way less traffic than the deck, we went with a paint. They are in rough shape, so we wanted to seal them as much as possible (hiding the imperfections). When the staining/ painting was finished, Mike put in the other two four-by-fours and strung up the lights. I was set on getting a couch with light cushions so that our decor could be interchangeable and versatile.

Overall, I’m so happy with the transformation. It’s earthy and boho and feels like we live in Palm Springs or SoCal. I can’t believe it’s the same deck, and it just goes to show you that even if it’s not in the budget to do a complete overhaul, you can still love the space you are in, with the right planning.

Rebecca Heart is a decor-obsessed, bargain enthusiast based in Toronto. She and her husband Mike run a full-time home renovation and decor blog called , which follows their journey updating a century-old Craftsman home.

Rebecca Heart
Rebecca Heart
"Designer Rebecca Hay is principal of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., a Toronto based Design firm specializing in classically livable family homes. Offering complete decorating and renovating services for over a decade Rebecca and her team manage all of the details from start to finish."
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