Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Giving the Old Deck a Facelift

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Have you ever heard someone say "an old house is never finished"? Well, it's true.  Having owned and loved several of them, I can say from experience that it's undeniable.  Our current house is no different.  But that's ok, as I like to putter around and I suppose doing DIY projects keeps me off the street and out of trouble.  ;-)
The thing is...I hate staining decks.  We chose a black stain to go with our house colors and it just won't stay looking good for more than 2 years.  I bet I've stained this thing 5 or 6 times.  Who wants to spend their Saturday afternoon in the summer putting down messy stain? 

We've got two decks - one on the 2nd story off of our "office" that's about 8 feet by 12 feet, and a smaller one off our back door that's about 5 feet square.  As you can see in the pic above, it needs some TLB and the trim needs to be painted again.  By far, this poor thing gets the most weather.

Over at the 1893 Victorian, we had used a new product by Rustoleum called Deck Restore to great success and it made that old deck look like it was brand new.  It comes in 40 different colors (including black!) with a limited lifetime warranty but, since it's a fairly new product, the question still exists as to how it will stand up over the years.  But, hey, I'm game as long as it lasts longer than 2 years.

The only bad thing is that a gallon of this stuff only covers 50 sq ft with 2 coats, so it's pricey.  We ended up using two 2-gallon packs at a cost of $39.98 each.  Given that stain is $25 per gallon, I don't think the price is too bad if it lasts a lot longer.

This stuff comes with a special roller that has air pockets in it to hold the Restore, which is about as thick as Skippy peanut butter.  You don't so much as paint it on with the roller - it's more like you squeegee it on.  The instructions say to roll in one direction but, in our experience, it doesn't make a difference if you go over it.  Because it's so thick, it fills in any cracks or splinters up to 1/4 inch thick on old boards so it will literally make an old deck look brand new.  Fortunately, our boards were in great shape.
As you can see, we taped everything off before we started because this stuff can be quite messy.  If you've got an elevated deck (our air conditioner sits under our larger deck), then you're going to want to put a tarp under there, as this stuff WILL squeeze through the cracks.  We also put cardboard all around on the patio just in case this stuff squirted, got slung, etc.   It's basically stain with grit in it so it will stain anything it lands on, including you.  Trust me, I know this from experience.
What J. and I found that works the best is to use a brush to shove the Restore color in the cracks first.  Otherwise, if you just use the roller, you'll end up with the sides of the boards not being covered.  Just use a brush that you don't love, as it will be so gunked with Restore when you're done that it won't be usable for anything else.  One other option would be to use their matching stain to do the cracks with a paint brush.  Since all our handrails are painted rather than stained, it didn't make sense to buy a gallon of stain just to do the cracks, so we had to make due with the thick stuff.

And there's the finished project.  This actually didn't take too long with me painting the cracks and J. doing the rolling. It dries and can be walked on in 24 hours.  So far, I really like it because the old deck was slicker than snot in the winter time when it was icy.  This is much more non-skid and it seems impervious to doggie toenails so far.  It certainly looks better than before.

Cleanup is with soap and water, so very easy.

Now I have to give the trim a fresh cost of paint and touch up the back door. 
Like I said:  an old house is never done!

DISCLAIMER:  I didn't receive this product for free (Darnit!) and this isn't a paid advertisement.  Just a DIYer
here that really likes this product.


  1. It looks really great! I haven't seen many decks stained black before, but I love it! Seems like the stain is a little hard to work with but it was definitely worth it.

  2. Okay, I REALLY like that deck, even the dark color. I just cannot face doing ours, and it needs some kind of preservative on it. LIke yesterday!

  3. I hope any user has better fortune with this product than we. I have a large deck and put on two coats (16 gallons) of this pricey product that is certainly not easy to use and the first night that the temperature dropped below freezing, several spots cracked and began to peel away. I could probably remove most of this stuff with a putty knife, if I chose. Never again will I sucker for this product!


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