Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Make a deck look like a million bucks for under 500!

This is what the wood all around the outside of my house looked like before.  From the front porch to the back deck I was surrounded with weathered dirty wood that had seen better days.  Does your once lovely wood now resemble a gun-metal grey color and have lots of scratches and splintering?  If so, you might be a good candidate for an inexpensive "Deck overhaul"!  We did ours with a grand total of 350 dollars!  Here are our steps so you too can spruce up your outdoor wooded areas.

  1. PRESSURE WASH!- This is done with a high powered washer.  We rented ours for about 75 bucks and most hardware stores have a tool rental department, but we live in an area where they are abundant and rented it from a friend's local business.  The pressure wash will instantly take off years of dirt and grime, but beware...It draws up all of the splinters that may have been hiding.  Below is a photo of our back deck after pressure washing (Notice the baby toys, my son road tested the wood in his plastic automobile, which is how we knew about the splinters.).
  2. After you pressure wash, you want to sand the area if possible.  An electric rotary sander will do the trick, but if you can rent a larger one, go that route.  We lucked out when the same friend who we rented the pressure washer from offered to do the job for 25 bucks more than the rental fee...SCORE!!

     3.  After you have sanded, you are ready for the sealer.  We used a brand called Flood for decks, which has a 5 year guarantee to protect against rain and wear.  It was about 30 per gallon and we bought four gallons to do a very large back and front area (about the size of two large decks).  For the front we decided on a semi-opaque, milk chocolate brown.  It has a lovely richness about it, and I like the solid look for the front entrance where the wear and tear was more severe.  

Here is the front porch after pressure washing and buffing, but before the colored sealer (top).  Notice the very light parts, this indicates wood that is more "thirsty" meaning it may absorb more stain and leave a fade in color, in which case a second coat may be necessary.  Below is our after photo (we did move the plant stand before treating).  I realized with how lovely the new creamy brown porch was, that our door had some cosmetic problems of it's own so I decided I would use some of the leftover stain to make the door match.

I love the contrast of the brown to the creamy white of the house color and trim.  For our outdoor bench we opted for two tones, the chocolate brown on the top and a chestnut brown for the legs.  (Just like the back deck)

Check in on Wednesday's post to see how much richness the added door color brings to the front porch, and to get the scoop on the back porch and the splinter update!  Thanks for reading! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

The language of vintage: "Kitsch"

Kitsch refers to any item with an element of whimsy.  I refer to it as any item which possesses a small amount of utter awesomeness.  No, a kitch is not a female dog...but the correct term for that does in fact, rhyme with it.