They thought we were crazy. We did it anyway.
If our home renovation journey was a TV show, it would be one of those awful (awesome) reality shows from the early 2000s about a comically mismatched couple proving that true love prevails, one bleeped out curse word and ditzy blonde joke at a time (…in our case, R and I would be “comically mismatched” because of our differing interior design preferences and aesthetic inclinations… and instead of curse words or blonde moments, we would just be exchanging strange inside jokes and sharp-witted barbs about our differing nationalities.)
The theme song for said show would definitely, without a doubt, be “Paint it Black,” in reference to the various objects, surfaces and structures that we’ve invariably decided to slather with a thick coat of black paint throughout the process of renovating and furnishing our first home. One such project would be our black back deck, which — if our home renovation journey was an early 2000s reality TV show — would warrant its own episode.
Said episode would have some sort of punny title like “Big Deck Problems” or “Don’t be a Deck,” and would definitely be rated TV-14 for strong language and violent encounters with flying insects (but more on that later…)
It all started with this crimson beauty:
Despite its old age, the deck we inherited was in great shape (with nary a rotten board or weathered patch of paint in sight). Unfortunately, the deck was also red… which didn’t exactly fit within our color palette (black, white, grey).
Our initial plan was to paint it a standard, unoffensive dark brown to match our downstairs hardwood floors. But when we piled into the car and drove to Sherwin Williams to pick up our deck paint, the little design devil who lives on my shoulder started humming that familiar tune in my ear…
“What if… what if we paint in black?” I found myself stammering.
Turns out, R was easy to convince. The guy at Sherwin Williams? Not so much. (He joked that he wanted to take a picture of us, because we’re the first people he’s ever seen buy black paint for a deck!) Still, we were undaunted… and we ordered up a custom tin of SuperDeck Solid Color Deck Stain in our signature “Tricorn Black.” (The guy helping us out added some extra pigment to ensure that we’d get full black coverage going over the red!)
Once we had committed to what would be either the best deck-related decision or the worst deck-related decision of all time, we went home and started prepping (our deck was in great condition… but it was also absolutely filthy from our douchebag dogs and their dirty paw antics). To scrub it down, we used this deck cleaner.
The great thing about having a backyard full of trees is that it’s nice to look at. The downside to having a backyard full of trees is.. literally everything else. Our freshly scrubbed deck hadn’t even dried before a fresh layer of leaves, twigs, and other yard debris had accumulated.
I gave up on perfection pretty quickly, and settled on just getting the damn thing done.
Once the deck had dried, I masked off the house with Frog Tape (my ma told me about this stuff and it is seriously awesome). Then it was time to crack open the tin and start painting…
To apply the paint to the deck boards, we used this amazing gift from the Heavens. This deck pad attachment was an absolute pleasure to work with, and made this one of the easiest paint jobs I’ve dealt with thus far. I finished the deck in about ten minutes (not including the brief pause when I had to abandon my painting duties to offer emergency medical services to R after he was attacked by fire ants…)
The paint covered very well (remember, if you try this at home: extra pigment!!) I wasn’t celebrating just yet, though. I knew that painting the boards was just the tip of the iceberg… the real bitch would be getting the cracks between the boards and painting the railings and spindles.
Turns out, painting the railings wasn’t that bad… I used a mini foam roller I had handy from a previous project (the smaller your roller, the less paint you’ll waste!) and started working my way down the deck.
I was able to make surprisingly quick work of it… the worst part was getting attacked by mosquitoes and other biting bugs while I was crouched down on the deck (I put a quick stop to that by dousing my ankles in the industrial strength Deet I had leftover from when we travelled amidst the Zika epidemic…)
Next up: painting the cracks. Initially I figured I could just use a narrow brush to fill the crack between the boards, but after putzing around with my paintbrush for a few minutes, I realized that this approach would be extremely time consuming. So I came up with Plan B.
I had purchased a few cans of this Rust-Oleum flat black spray paint to give the lattice below our deck a quick and painless coat of black before planting and training some ivy to crawl up it…
I still had a spare can, so I grabbed it and made a few passes over the cracks. Lo and behold… it sprayed into the cracks and covered easily, and once it dried, the color and finish were a PERFECT match.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the kind of DIY hack I live for. (I ended up buying five more cans and finishing up all of my cracks, as well as some other hard-to-reach spots at the base of the spindles.)
We obviously got very lucky when we discovered that this was an exact match for our shade of black… but if you can find a shade that works with your deck color, this is a great way to avoid the tedious task of painting between cracks.
When we wrapped up, our deck was looking pretty good…
…for about ten seconds. Then storm clouds blew in, bringing with them torrential (and disappointingly non-cleansing) downpours, shittons of tree debris, and a stampede of muddy paw prints…
It’ll be just as tough to keep clean as it was with Big Red, but we’re smitten with our new black deck. Next step… string lights and ivy!
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