Monday, June 06, 2016

painted deck project

Ok friends! I've been hard at work on a big painting project again! Our deck was in need of some serious attention. It wraps around half of our house and while the sides and front are in great shape, the back was really worn. We probably have about one, maybe two more winters (if we are lucky) before we have to do some major work repairing and rebuilding the back portion. We decided that this spring we would get it cleaned up and repainted. In typical Alisa Burke fashion, I suggested painting a big colorful pattern on the surface. Andy loved the idea and after checking the weather and seeing that we would be having a big streak of sun, we decided to dive into repainting.

I feel like before I begin sharing the process I just have to provide a disclaimer or at least share my philosophy on home projects:

I am not into the latest and greatest home decor trends and I NEVER want to feel like my home is "too precious" to take risks and try something unique, creative or even weird. While I love home decor shows, magazine and blogs- I also think it is easy to fall into trendy, safe and practical thinking when it comes to your house. I am not safe nor am I practical and I tackle most DIY projects like an artist. I love color, pattern and I believe that paint is one of the most affordable and easy ways to transform just about anything in your home into art. My husband Andy is super supportive of my approach but he always asks that we try to find a long term, well thought out way of making my ideas happen. 


Ok here we go! So the back portion of our deck was really worn. There was lots of moss on the surface, lots of warped and weathered spots that are at the beginning stage of rot. This is all pretty typical in Oregon. We get so much rain in the winter that the outside of our homes can suffer. Since we have another year, maybe two (if we are lucky) to live with our deck before replacing most of it, we knew we would be painting (not staining) it.


I think that staining (and sealing) a deck is typically the way that most people go because a stain allows you to hold on to that natural look and feel of wood. You also don't have to deal with weathering and peeling. Paint will cover up the wood BUT you have a lot options when it comes to color. When it comes to paint, I think "the normal" and practical thing to do is to not use crazy colors on your deck but as I mentioned above I am not normal and I love color!

Here are the reasons we selected paint instead of stain:
  • Paint will fill gaps and cracks.
  • Paint will resist mold, rot and sun damage.
  • We own our home and I know that we will be living here for a long time so a crazy project like this doesn't affect us like it would if we were renting or planning on selling soon.
  • Our deck will eventually need to be replaced and painting it this year is simply taking the necessary steps to buy some time, save for a deck renovation and get a little more time out of it. 
  • We liked the idea and look of colorful paint weathering and even peeling.
For our deck we used both Valespar deck paint and exterior paint. There are all kinds of really great heavy duty deck paint and exterior paint out there that is made to seal wood and stand up to the elements. The best part is that you can get just about any color mixed with that paint.

The first step was getting things cleaned up. Andy cleaned and scrubbed the entire surface. Moss is a big problem around these parts so this process took a while. Once it was cleaned up, we let it dry out then he sanded down things down. Since we would be using paint we didn't need to sand it all down- just the trouble spots. 

Now it was time to paint! So here is the crazy thing about me...I don't like to plan or sketch out my designs. I know this is insane but a big part of my painting process is all about the moment and letting things evolve and change. I knew the color scheme I would be using, I also knew I wanted a suzani inspired design on a LARGE scale. I started by using a large brush and began outlining my design. Again, this is all off the top of my head. Something I know (and something that makes me commit to the process) is that if I mess up or if I am not happy with the design, I can paint over it and start again. This is the BEAUTY of paint!

Once my outline was dry, then I began filling in areas of color. Once again, this is off the top of my head. 

The process of adding color, is all about using my gut so I spent a lot of time standing and looking at my design from different angles. My biggest goal is to achieve balance and harmony with my colors. 

As those big areas of color began to dry, I added more color to the top and then started laying down details. We really wanted to make sure that the deck had about 2-3 layers of paint on the entire surface so each of my designs all have layers of colors to ensure that the wood is nice and saturated with paint.

I worked back and forth with painting different areas with layers of color and details. Thankfully we had nice weather so the paint was drying as I worked and I could move around easily.

Lucy even joined in on the painting!

This process took me about 3 days working in chunks of about 3 hours at a time. So a total of around 9 hours. Working on a floor is much different than working on a wall and it can take a fast toll on your back and knees. My body can take about three hours straight of painting then I step away and come back the next day.

The last step was to touch up the remaining side of the deck with a solid dark brown.

NOTE: We did not seal the paint only because the paint we used was made to withstand weather and the elements. But keep in mind no matter how heavy duty the paint or even if it's made for a deck, eventually it will age, weather and peel...there is just no way around it. 

The end result is CRAZY COOL! What I love so much about working large is that you don't need lots of tiny details for something to feel dynamic. My design is pretty simple and FAR FROM perfect. But the scale, the color and the contrast all comes together to feel really dynamic! 

Then came the really fun part and that was doing a little bit of decorating! Up until now, we really haven't used our deck. We have a huge backyard that we love to hang out in. But we do a lot of grilling so we really wanted a fresh, colorful updated space to use while Andy cooks outside on the BBQ. 

We moved some of our outdoor furniture to the deck, purchased some plants to add even more color and the next thing I knew, we had completely and TOTALLY transformed this space! Now we've been enjoying our meals out here, using it as a place to hang out and draw or read. It has been so much fun to have a new space to use now that the weather is nice.


Looking for a little more inspiration when it comes to using paint and creativity in those home decor projects?


painted floor runner   painted countertops    statement wall   kids statement wall  flower mural   guest room mural   doodled dishwasher

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