Gardening, Home Renovations

Deck Tales

I know, I know!  4 MONTHS SINCE MY LAST BLOG!!!  What can I say, I’ve been busy…and procrastinating…and, and…that’s all I got.  Anyway, let’s get caught up on some happenings!

If you grew up in the late 80s, you will catch the twist on words I used for my Title. My kids LOVED ‘Duck Tales’. I have no idea why that popped into my head, but it did, so I went with it. 🙂

I refinished our deck.  It was not fun.  It was not the least bit fun.  Until the end.  Until I could see the beautiful grain, the wood sealer and the sander put away…I really wanted to put the sander in the trash bin, but in the event I need it again…  😉

We knew when we bought our home, some interesting architectural and artistic nuances had occurred in the house and not exactly to our liking.  Enter ‘The Deck’.


Why?  Why would you use Black Enamel and Construction Orange spray paint and add this hideous silhouette/pattern to a deck?  The artists, and I use that word lightly, laid down various tools, a saw, a hammer, snippers, and various shaped leaves and made this delightful pattern (she said using extreme sarcasm).  And then, AND THEN, they sealed it…with varnish.  Not the entire deck as you can see where the varnish ends on the right in the above picture, only a 9 x 12 foot section on the 12 x 24 foot deck.  Yeah.

I went to a local paint store and one of the owners was kind enough to come and have a look at the deck.  He felt it would be best to strip the deck first and then use an On-floor Sander to sand the entire deck.  Because we wanted to retain as much of the natural grain and colour as we could, we would use a wood sealer to protect it from moisture and mildew…we do live in British Columbia after all, and, interesting fact, Abbotsford is the 4th rainiest city in Canada!  Who knew?  We even receive more rain than Vancouver.  “Just A Little Something” you learned today!  Anyway, on with the deck.

I gathered my gear, a metal paint tray to put the stripper in, gloves, kneepads, wire brushes, scrapers and I went to work.  And was extremely disappointed.


As you can see, the stripper worked somewhat, but it was leaving alot of the black paint.


Same here by the patio door.  The orange paint is quite embedded into the wood.

I attempted the stripping process 3 different times.  First, applying liberally and waiting for it to bubble, scraping then using the wire brush; second, applying liberally and covering with plastic which worked better but still not great and the third time I went back over what I had done and it still wouldn’t take off the heavy black and orange paint.


We then attempted removing the boards and turning them over, as shown by the board with the green strip down its’ middle, but it still required stripping and/or sanding the sides. Plus this board is only a small 2 foot section that I was able to clamp onto saw horses, so I could at least stand up, but it was a real pain.  Imagine having to do that with an 8 foot board…no thank you.  So…out came the electric sander.

The top area is where I started sanding off varnish only…no black and orange paint there!

And I sanded, and I sanded, and I sanded.  I lasted about 3 to 4 hours at a time before I had to quit.  After I vacuumed up the sawdust, and then had a shower.  The dog…was not impressed.  In fact, he was a little naughty.  I couldn’t have him out on the deck with me in all that dust so he glared at me from inside, giving me the evil eye through the patio doors.  And then he chewed my slippers, and ate one of my silk plants.  Oh good.

On the third day, my husband got out the belt sander and was able to work on the really tough stuff while I plugged along with the electric sander.  The last day I still had quite a bit of sanding to do to finish it off, and do the edges where the On-floor Sander would not reach, as well as the railings.  If you’re wondering why I didn’t use the belt sander, it’s because I couldn’t get it to run properly for me.  I had no idea what I was doing and ended taking off a strip of wood!  Oops!

Getting there…


And done.  This is after 7 hours of stripping, or trying to, and 12 hours of sanding.  I did use the stripper on the sides of the boards and got most of the paint off using these handy, dandy little wire brushes my husband had.  I told you he has some really good stuff!  I’m sure our neighbours were as happy as I was to be done sanding.  Well, almost.

I really like how clean it looks.  The next day I was able to pick up the On-floor sander (Tuesday) and fortunately Ward was home in good time that day to help me unload it.  OH MY DOG is that thing HEAVY.  Somehow, with the dolly and a lot of sweat and colourful adjectives, we heaved the sander up to the back yard.  Did I tell you our yard slopes upward…towards a mountain…yeah…that was fun.  Ward got the machine going and we couldn’t believe how quiet it was.  So…I decided to strip the entire deck that evening to be able to get two coats of sealer on the following day, Wednesday, as after that, we were going to have some heat.

onfloor sander

The above picture is not the sander we used…I got this off the internet, but it is very similar.  I was in the groove of sanding and forgot to take a picture, sorry.  The sander also comes with 2 – 40 pound weights which really made a difference.  It took about 2 1/2 hours to do the deck.


The On-floor Sander really helped to even out where I had sanded the old paint and varnish off.  The boards are various colours obviously and where the paint was, is still quite gray…but we went with it.  I vacuumed the deck…again.

The wood sealer I used is made by Sansin.  It looks like milk and goes on like water.


I started at 6 A.M. to try to get it sealed before the heat of the day, which was only suppose to be 23 degrees.  This product is not to be applied above 21 degrees.  I also tried applying it with a roller so I could stand up, however it bubbled too much, which they told me it would, but I had to try it.  Because of the dips in the boards especially near the edges, it is difficult to push the product to the edge. So instead, I got a little 4″ roller and sat on my fanny and rolled 4 boards at a time in a 2 foot section, and then brushed out the bubbles, then scootched along on my bottom, back and forth, and back and forth.  “It was such a good time”, she said sarcastically.  I was also using the small roller edges to try and get as much sealer down the sides of the boards as I could which worked quite well.  3 1/2 hours for the first coat.  And I was dead.  And in pain.  Between all the sanding and then the sealer, my left hand was pretty much completely numb, and my wrist was definitely annoyed at me for leaning on it.

You are suppose to apply the second coat within 30 to 60 minutes of the first coat.  That didn’t happen obviously, but I got smarter!

Because I felt I got a generous amount of sealer on with the first coat and really worked it in with the brush, I did use a roller standing up for the second coat.  And then, brushed out the bubbles…with my brush attached to a broom handle!  Pretty inventive if I do say so myself.  I did not bother putting sealer on the sides.  Enough was enough.

My brush contraption…it worked!

The second coat was an hour and a half.  MUCH better.

The two dark boards were just sealed.

This product really repels water, which just beads on the surface.  Since our deck has a cover over it, the deck will likely stay close to this colour.  When using Sansin on an uncovered surface it will turn a natural gray, but still repels water.  This product is suppose to last two to five years.  We’ll see.



All back together.  It felt so good to be finished.  And now I have the railings to paint.  I couldn’t sand off all the paint on the railings; some was blue, some was black, and some had nothing on them.  I am going to brighten them up with a nice white…when my hand heals.  At the time of writing this post, which is 8 days later…the numbness is almost gone in my hand, wrist is better, and I can now roll socks together!  See, progress! 😉

“Just A Little Something” I was determined to do.

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