Our amazing friends and neighbors have a beautiful a-frame cabin. Just before social distancing began, Emmett & I decided we would surprise them with a deck makeover. As things escalated, this project made more and more sense… we could paint and style their porch without having to be in contact with them, while giving them a safe place to enjoy outside of their home. Of course they knew we were up to something (and gave us free rein to do whatever we wanted), but we snuck into their backyard and began to makeover their porch in the woods. It’s truly a picturesque spot and as promised- I have the first part of the post for you today… the best (and fastest) way to paint a deck. Click through for the complete tutorial and for some pretty crazy before and after images!
*This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
As always, let’s start with a before and after! I’m continually amazed by the transformative power of paint. We were able to totally change the look of their deck on a tight budget. Emmett and I hauled over a few of our key tools, our Graco paint sprayer, and went to work. Doesn’t it look a thousand times better? Obviously I have yet to install lighting and style the space with furniture, but even with the updated paint- it feels fresh and new again. PS… does that coffee table in the before image look familiar? It should- we gave it to them after they moved in, but it used to live in the backyard at our previous home.
Ready for the tutorial? I’m linking everything we used for this transformation below!
SUPPLIES + TOOLS
- Dewalt Orbital Sander (or Dewalt Sheet Sander), we used both since there were two of us sanding simultaneously
- Sun Joe Pressure Washer
- Purdy Paint Brushes (for edging)
- Handy Paint Pail
- Valspar Tintable Exterior Stain and Sealer (we used 5 gallons of color “Darkest Night”)
- 3M Masking Film
- 3M Painters Tape
- 3M Masking Tape
- Graco Magnum ProX17 Electric Stationary Airless Paint Sprayer
- Trimaco Tyvek Protective Paint Suit
- Buckets (for cleaning and spraying)
Step 1 // Power wash. After removing the furniture and taking down the existing string lights, the first step was to clean and power wash the entire deck. We’ve had our Sun Joe pressure washer for a few years now and it’s an affordable tool that we use every spring and summer. If you’re in the market- I’d highly recommend this option! The goal of power washing was to remove any large, loose peeling paint and debris.
Step 2 // Lightly sand. Once the deck was nice and clean, we decided to lightly sand it. This step is dependent on the shape of your existing paint, stain, and wood. Our neighbor’s deck had multiple (old) coats of this Thompson’s sealant and stain. While it’s a great product, we didn’t love the orange look of it, and the previous homeowners didn’t maintain it. It seemed to be well over a decade old and was in really rough shape. The power washer helped to strip any peeling pieces away, but we really needed to sand down some rough areas. By lightly sanding the entire deck, we also ensured our new stain and sealer would bond properly. Just a light sanding is all you need, and tools make this process pretty quick as opposed to sanding by hand!
Step 3 // Edge difficult areas with a brush. We landed on Valspar Tintable Exterior Stain and Sealer, and used 5 gallons in the color “Darkest Night”. Before busting out our paint sprayer, we edged the difficult areas by hand using a brush. I trimmed out sections close to the house, around the window, railing areas that were difficult to maneuver, and the top side of the beams.
Step 4 // Prep the paint sprayer. Our Graco paint sprayer is probably the best investment we’ve made in our painting arsenal (you can probably tell by the looks of it, just how much we use this thing). We can easily and quickly tackle paint projects… even a giant deck of this scale with difficult to reach areas. Before using the sprayer, we hooked up the hoses accordingly, and connected it to our 5-gallon bucket of paint.
Step 5 // Mask it off and start spraying. Before we started spraying, we masked everything off with 3M masking tape and film. We wanted to protect the house from the high-contrast black paint. The homeowners are planning to paint the entire exterior someday, but aren’t quite sure when… so until then, we want it to look crisp, intentional, and free of dark paint. Emmett hopped into his Tyvek suit and we were ready to roll.
The entire deck took under an hour to spray. Can you believe that?! Prep and masking are the most time consuming parts of the process. Once you’re ready to spray, it goes really FAST. He hit the top, the sides, the underside, and covered every square inch of their a-frame’s porch. After we had completely covered the deck in paint, we moved onto the last step… cleaning up.
Step 6 // Clean up. We made sure to clean up all of our tools, paint products, and thoroughly clean our paint sprayer before packing everything up and trekking back to our house. Ready for the final side-by-side before and after?!
All paint is magical and transformative, but black paint will forever be my favorite for disguising imperfect wood or exterior structures that have aged. Doesn’t it feel fresh again? I also like how it better blends with its environment and those beautiful trees. I’m anxiously awaiting the remainder of the outdoor furniture to arrive, so we can style this space and finish it for our friends to enjoy. We’re hoping by the end of the month or early next month, we’ll have everything we need to wrap this up. I also want to send a big thank you to Lowe’s for helping us help others. They truly have everything you need at affordable prices to turn your space into an outdoor oasis. Stay tuned for the final reveal, my friends! I think our neighbors are going to be pleasantly surprised. I’ll be sure to capture their reaction, but so far- they’re digging the black paint.
Have you ever painted a deck or porch? I’m always impressed how drastically you can change the look of it on a budget. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below. I can’t wait to show you more of this deck and the charming a-frame that belongs to our friends!