Monday, June 24, 2013

All Decked Out

After several sweltering days and more than a few discouraging words, the deck is finally done!  Okay, well technically, there are a few more things to finish up, but let's not dwell on technicalities, shall we?

So just to refresh your memory, here are the "before" pictures:

Old, badly weathered wood

and broken lattice galore:

After some (ie very little ) research, we decided to try a new product from Pittsburgh Paints called Revitalize. It is supposed to resurface wood and concrete by filling in and sealing cracks and sealing the surface to prevent further weather damage.  Basically when used on wood, it ends up looking a lot like composite decking.  It is available in all kinds of colors, but ultimately we decided to go with gray with white trim. 

In typical Kristin-Lance fashion, we started the project on an extra hot, sunny day.  The first coat of gray went on really well using a 1/2" nap paint roller.  The paint is really thick and grainy- it reminded me of really watery wet cement and it is supposed to go on really thick to fill in all of the cracks.  Once we finished 2 coats of the gray, we started with the white trim.  This was a nightmare for a few of reasons:

1. The consistency of the white-tinted sealer was MUCH thinner than the gray.  Despite all kinds of shaking and stirring, it was still pretty watery, which meant that it didn't cover as well and, dripped all over the place. I don't know why it was different- the only difference besides the color was that the gray came in a 5-gallon bucket and the white was in 2 regular 1-gallon cans, but that's it...

2. The trim pieces had to be painted with a brush.  Every. Single. Slat.  And it took FOREVER.  It was tedious.  Excruciating.  And not just because the only radio station coming in clearly was 105.1 and we were forced to listen to hours of Slacker and Steve while we worked.

3. Prior to starting on the white trim, we checked the weather report, because of course we wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for the paint to dry before it rained.  I checked the forecast on several stations and looked at all kinds of Doppler radar images before we decided it was safe to paint.  But alas, we had fallen victim to what I suspect is a giant conspiracy perpetuated by a band of disgruntled meteorologists.  Within a couple of hours of being done, it began to rain.  And rain.  And rain some more.  And when we watched the news that night, Bob Lindmeier happily announced "Wow! That rain surprised even me!! I didn't see that coming at all!" Yeah? Well screw you, Bob, because thanks to that "surprise" rain, THIS is what our deck looked like the next morning:

White paint ALL along the edges.  And to add insult to injury, we waited several days to re-paint because the forecast kept predicting rain.  Except, guess what?  IT DIDN'T RAIN.

So while waiting for the rain that never came, we busied ourselves with replacing the broken lattice underneath the deck.  Instead of wood, we went with a white vinyl lattice because it is both sturdier and more flexible, and it is maintenance-free!  It comes in 4'x8' sheets and we were able to easily cut it to size with tin snips (which we didn't figure out until after trying several different tools and having no luck). But the final product (kind of) looks pretty good:

Here's a close up of where the paint filled in and sealed the weathered cracks in the railing.

So for now, we are celebrating being done with some of the finest wine Woodman's had to offer and conveniently "forgetting" that the deck isn't completely finished yet. The finishing touch will be to add a hinged door to one of the lattice pieces, so that we will be able to easily get underneath the deck to clean out debris.  But...that is another project for another time......

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Buried Treasure

Today marks day 3 of married life and while some might celebrate with a relaxing honeymoon vacation, we decided to spend it tackling a long overdue overhaul of our back deck. 

As is the case with most things around the house, the previous owners were not sticklers for proper home maintenance, and the deck is no exception.  I'm guessing it hasn't been sealed in at least a decade.

 And the lattice underneath is all broken and in need of replacing.

We came across a product made by Behr in This Old House magazine that is supposed to fill in cracks, seal, and give new life to old decks.  Because Menard's doesn't Behr, we went with a similar product made by Pittsburgh Paints.  But more about that later.

We came home from the store and set about readying the deck for restoration.  With our usual optimism (some may call it being naive), we estimated we could have the deck cleaned and ready to paint by lunchtime.  I set about sweeping the deck while Lance crawled underneath to rip out all of the lattice.  He soon discovered this was no easy task, as it was held in with about 100 nails per square inch, and the ground under there was covered with leaves, dirt, garbage, and some very well-developed small trees.  Finally, after no shortage of sweat and cursing, the large pile of debris had migrated from under the deck to the driveway. 

It was at this point that Lance exclaimed "hey, there's a door under here!"  Sure enough, there is a door leading to the space under the covered back porch.  "Be careful opening it!" I yelled.  "there could be raccoons....or hobos living under there!"  Not to be deterred by the threat of hobos, and ignoring my suggestion that he keep a weapon ready just in case, Lance bravely crawled in.

The good news is that not only were there no raccoons OR hobos, there was also a cache of riches!  Okay maybe not "riches" per se, but plenty of cool old stuff.

An old beer crate from JPM Binzel Co. Brewers in Beaver Dam,

An old metal Dad's Root Beer bucket

A green and white enamelware coffee pot (minus the lid, unfortunately)

And old feed sack from Watertown, WI

An old ash sifter from the Hustler Co. in Massachusetts, circa 1904 (typically this would go on top of a barrel to sift out the coal from the ashes),

........and a random bear statue.

 Clearly, by this point we had spent quite a bit of time excavating under the porch, so this is when we opted to take a break, revel in our riches, and wait for the newly hosed down deck to dry so we can get to the next stage of our plan.

Next up: sealing the deck!