backyard blitz: the deck, part 1

So S and I have been on a bit of a home-making blitz since moving in just 2 months ago. So far we're still a tad embarrassed to receive visitors - moving from 2 very different homes to 1, coupled with travel and time-poor schedules (oh and you know, debilitating condition), we haven't been as productive at getting our home ready as we'd like. So far we've managed to get most of the furniture chosen, bought and moved in, most of our artwork up, and most rooms are functional but not as pretty as I'd like. Also, I've still got embarrassing messes everywhere from things that I haven't found a logical storage home for and am unwilling to stash haphazardly (lest the gods of missing things comes and nabs them). For the most part, the inside of the house is functional, so we thought we'd take advantage of the summer weather to commit some outdoor time to the house.

We have started with the deck - truth be told, we've worked so quickly that I didn't get any before shots. Picture in your mind a regular wooden deck, with wooden beams and about 30 square metres. Oh yeah, a big deck. Our loungeroom opens up into it with wide sliding doors, so it had to be a bit prettier than raw wood, so we started with the beams, posts and pillars.

First, S's friend Brian gave everything a good once over with his electric hand sander (we didn't own one, and were a bit terrified to use it, given it's our first ever DIY project!), then poly-filled the holes, cracks, and dodgy bits.

deck beams - sanded & polyfilled

deck beams - sanded & polyfilled - closeup

Then, S got to work sanding everything down by hand with sandpaper. My job here was to uh... watch, and appreciate his fine handywork. Oh, and shout motivational cheers. With pompoms.

sanding down the deck beams

sanding deck beams

Then, and this is key, ON THE SAME DAY, we decided "how hard can it be to paint it all in a few hours", and off we went painting. Note: this is going to decline quickly into a tale of despair.

painting the deck beams 1

And MAN, did that wood just DRINK up the paint. It was really hard, getting the paint to get ON the wood required some elbow grease - we'd paint a stroke and just watch it disappear into the wood, and then PRESS another layer over that. And this was just the first coat. AND it was all 13 feet high so arduous hours precariously perched right on top of ladders, and lots of trips down the ladder to shift it inches by inches, across the deck as we slowly gained ground. *starts pulling out hair thinking about it*...

painting deck beams 2

Luckily we had 2 ladders, so we could work in tandem.

painting deck beams 3

3 hours later, we were still going, and we weren't even halfway through. We were hungry, too, but so dead-driven on completing the task that we weren't about to give up. S contemplated doing some strange things, which you just KNOW means delirium is setting in.

delicious paint anyone?

Believe it or not, another 4 hours later, we were STILL going, and oh my goodness, the sun had set, and oh my goodness, we still kept finding random beams that had been forgotten, and oh my goodness, I was going crazy trying to not get paint on the ceiling whilst covering the itty-bitty beams that wouldn't take the paint and... ARRRRRRRRGH!

painting deck beams 4

And did I mention this was a FREAK day in the middle of summer, where it was about 15 degrees (hence my fleece jumper)... AND it was Boxing Day, which meant all that plagued my mind was how I was missing the sales for THIS?! PAINTING?!

Finally though, 7 hours from when we'd started painting, it was done. Excuse the bad photography, I was so tired S had to carry me off the ladder and put me to bed. Oh, and the grainy iphone photos? The DSLR was too heavy for me to try using, I was that exhausted.

painting deck beams - 1st coat finished

A really bad, shaky-handed panorama shot of the first coat done:

deck panorama

So, with that, sore, achey, tired and grumpy, we went to bed.

We woke up the next morning, and the finish didn't look bad at all (considering we did a lot of it in the dark):

deck beams - 1st coat of paint

So we spent the day doing the 2nd and 3rd coats. These went on a LOT more easily, because the wood was no longer raw, and the first coat served as a nice smooth base to paint upon. The second coat probably took about just over 2 hours, and S basically followed me around doing the 3rd coat. All in all, it was about 4.5 hours for the second and 3rd coat, which was INCREDIBLE improvement over the day before!

deck beams - after the 2nd coat

We didn't NEED to do a 3rd coat, but the 2nd coat was still a teeny bit patchy, and so I went reading the instructions on the can. We used Wattyl Solaguard exterior paint, and it said it was guaranteed for 10 years with 2 coats, and 15 years with 3 coats. WELL. You didn't have to tell us twice, so off we went with the 3rd coat.

And man, were we pleased we did - the finish became SO smooth and opaque, and the beams looked like new.

painting deck beams - 3rd coat

painting deck beams with wattyl solaguard - 3rd coat

We DID have to buy double the amount of paint we'd estimated/been quoted - but that's because we didn't prime (Wattyl Solaguard is self-priming) and like i said, the raw timber just drank the paint. We also hadn't anticipated (so enthusiastically) doing a 3rd coat.

Verdict: We love it. It was a lot of hard work, more than we'd expected, but sooooo worth it. The deck now looked more complete, and certainly more like a "part of the house" rather than "random outdoor feature". It also looks more in line with the character of our Edwardian weatherboard home. It makes the deck brighter and more airy, and because it's our "forever home", we're glad it'll last (with luck) 10-15 years.

Deck beams painted - after

It was also our first ever DIY big job, so we were pretty proud with the results. Next step  - the decking itself. Stay tuned for Backyard Blitz - The deck, part 2!!

What we used (all purchased at Bunnings):

Electric hand sander

Sand paper (lots of it!)

Wattyl Solaguard paint in Creamy Natural

Bunnings cheap paintbrushes

Bunnings rollers & paint trays