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Deck Painting Transformation - Outdoor Design Series, Pt 2

Welcome to our Outdoor Design Series! Now that you've had a chance to take in the completed deck in all its glory, I'm going to show you how we got there. Which means first things first: the actual deck itself.

Outdoor Design Series Promotion showing the before and after of a deck being painted.

Our deck was the epitome of a blank slate when we first moved in to our house. On the plus side, the structure was almost completely replaced: the old rotted floor boards meant the deck was the only thing that failed the VA inspection. On the down side, the newly renovated space meant that the original reddish-brown posts from from the original construction didn't exactly match the pieces that were replaced with new raw pressure treated lumber.

Deck attached to the back of a house, with darker wood posts and lighter, newer wood stairs, railings and floor planks.
Our deck right after we moved in. The darker brown pieces were leftover from the original structure and the lighter wood is what was replaced. So much potential!

I saw nothing but unlimited potential and decided to treat it like I would any room. Pick colors for the walls (railings), new flooring (a paint or stain for the deck floor), and finally choose furniture, lighting and accessories to finish the space. I wanted the deck to feel like an extension of the house so I need colors and patterns that coordinated with the exterior of the home but also felt cohesive with the rest of the interior. While a nice, neutral brown or gray would have been perfectly fine, as a designer, I wanted something a little more, well, eye-catching. I decided to use Behr's DeckOver product and the rich blue "Atlantic" color reminded me of the blue coffered ceiling in our dining room that the deck is adjacent to. Check out the colors online but then go to the store to see the paint swatches in person. Like all paint, colors on the computer look completely different than the swatches and even more different when they're painted in real life. Online, "Atlantic" looks like a dark, muted blue, it was significantly brighter on the sample swatch, and even more so when first painted. After a few months of wear, the blue isn't quite so vibrant but it is still a bold color choice. All I'm saying is check it out in person first or you may end up with buyers remorse - and paint isn't returnable!

There are a required prep steps for the DeckOver paint and several environmental parameters so it's important to pick a day when it's not too hot (or cold!) and isn't supposed to rain. Remove any old paint or stain that's peeling and then clean the wood thoroughly (the paint pro at The Home Depot recommended this cleaner and it worked great!). Because the structure was made up of the old stained pieces and the new raw wood, I decided to sand down the old pieces to remove as much of the existing stain as possible before cleaning.

Make sure you set aside enough time to properly clean the deck AND give it at least 24 hours to dry - the surface has to be completely dry before you start painting. I won't lie, I was definitely wondering if I really needed to use the special wood cleaner, after all it had been constructed less than two months earlier, how dirty could it really be? However, it's always best to follow the manufacturer's instructions and I'm glad I did - cleaning and letting the wood dry made a HUGE difference in the appearance.

Back deck with painting supplies laid out. Items include a gallon of Behr DeckOver in the color "Atlantic" a rich blue, a paint tray, 1/4" nap roller with extender, mini roller, small paint brushes, and small paint bucket.
After preparing the surface (sanding, cleaning, allowing to dry for 24 hours), it's time to paint!

Once the deck has had at least 24 hours to dry and the weather is cooperating, it's time to paint! Behr's website recommends filling in cracks and holes first, letting that dry and then applying the first coat. Because my deck was basically new construction, there weren't any cracks or blemishes to address so I started with the railing. Fair warning, this paint dries FAST! Faster than I was expecting, so you need to work quickly. Don't be sloppy but have a sense of urgency. I used an angled brush, corner brush, detail brush, and mini roller to paint the railings first. This takes longer than it seems like it should but it's very satisfying to see the dramatic color change.

Back deck in the process of being painted a dark blue color. The floor is still raw wood but the railing has been painted.
I started with the railings first. It's time consuming but very satisfying to watch the transformation!

Once the first coat of paint was on the railings and lower part of the structure, I started with actual deck floor. I highly recommend using a full-size 1/4" nap roller with an extender - it will save your back and make the process go much faster. I started in the back corner and worked my way painting towards the stairs so I wouldn't step on any freshly painted surfaces. I let the first coat dry for 4 hours before starting on the second coat.

Back deck in the process of being painted. The railing is painted dark blue and the floor planks are halfway painted.
Start in a corner and work your way to the opposite corner to prevent stepping on the freshly painted surface. Work quickly because the paint dries fast.

Start early and give yourself more time than you think you need. My deck is 16' wide and extends 10' from the back of the house; I started working on the railings at about 7am and didn't finish with the second coat until almost 7pm. I forbad ANYONE (including our super cute dog) from setting foot on the deck for 48 hours to be safe.

It took a little longer than I expected but was absolutely worth it: the blue lays the foundation for the rest of the design of the deck and gives it serious personality.

Back deck freshly painted a dark blue color without any furniture or accessories.
Quite the transformation! From two-tone, half-stained, half-raw wood to a bold dark blue that sets the foundation for the rest of the deck design.
Back deck freshly painted blue with Behr's DeckOver paint in "Atlantic".
Depending on the lighting, the color may appear brighter or darker.

If you already have an existing deck that needs a facelift, using Behr's DeckOver paint or stain makes the transformation a straightforward and inexpensive weekend project that makes a huge impact on your outdoor space.

Now that the hardest part was out of the way I could focus on styling my newly painted outdoor oasis. Next I'll be sharing my favorite piece that really anchors the finished deck: the daybed! See you soon for our Outdoor Design Series, Part 3!

Back deck painted blue with dark gray daybed that has sheer white drapes, red-orange cushions and an egg chair.
Next week I'll be showing you how I repurposed an old twin bed frame into an outdoor daybed!

Planning on giving your outdoor space a refresh? We'd love to see how it turns out! Tag us at @reddesignedinteriors and #reddesignedtutorials.

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