deck 6

We are loving our new deck.  We eat out there several times a week for breakfast or dinner, and play outside during the day.  We’ve already hosted parties and the view from our dining room and kitchen is so so much better.  Last night Jon said “I seriously underestimated how much re-doing our deck would make our home so much nicer.”  It feels and looks polished and complete.

Today I’m backing things up and sharing the very first project we did for our back deck makeover and I’m showing you how to stain an existing deck.


Wood decks are beautiful, but ours was anything but.  The red stain was badly worn and looked tired.  I wanted something rich to add some contrast, but staining is tough.  To make most stains look good, you have to have raw, unfinished wood.  That would have taken eons of sanding, so we instead opted for a solid stain.

Solid stains work much like paint– they cover whatever is underneath.  Here is exactly how we did it, in video form naturally.  (video/editing by James Young)

Up tomorrow: my latest favorite Craiglist find and how I fixed it up.

Jen Signature photo JenSignature_zpse63747c4.jpg

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


  1. YAY! this is so great. our deck looks like yours…with that red stain. and I was just baffled at how we could update it (although its not super faded and worn like yours is…) do you think it would be better to wait until its a little more worn?

    • Thanks Megan! I think you could do it now if you want. You don’t have to sand the existing stain off. Good luck!

  2. It looks great! What color number is it? I believe you said it’s called “Coffee?”

  3. How many gallons of stain did you use? I ask because my deck looks about the same size. It is currently that same worn red stain and it’s an awful contrast with our house exterior and yard. We thought we’d have to wait to save up for a whole new trex deck but this is a much better option!

    • Hi Holly, I want to say including pergola we used 6 gallons. It was a lot, but yes, much less expensive than trex! Good luck!

  4. Perfect!! The house we are (hopefully) moving into has a big deck in back. The deck in general is in good condition, but its faded and worn and definitely needs a but of a facelift. I never even considered a stain that was solid like paint.. Ill be looking into this for sure. Your results are just wonderful!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Hi There – just checked out your blog for the first time and I must say, I will be back! You have wonderful tips that I will definitely be following. In regards to your deck staining job, I’m curious to see how it has been holding up. We did ours last year and already starting to chip and come off. We originally tried to sand down to bare wood and after multiple attempts and sander rentals, we realized a solid stain was the way yo go. We’re just a little disappointed at the fact that’s it’s already flaking off. Any advice or experience would be helpful. Thanks.

    • Hi Sara, you’re so kind– so glad you found me! Thank you! About the deck– ours is holding up really well. We did sand it quite a bit before painting, which helped with any potential flaking. Wood is pretty temperamental. If you had a rough winter, that probably contributed. I wish you could just paint or stain wood and it would last for 10 years, but the reality is that you have to re-stain it every few years. Boo. Hope that helped!

      • We actually had one of the worst winters in a long time so I’m hoping that contributed and this won’t be a yearly project for us. I can handle every few years but not every summer! Thanks for the help Jen

  6. how has this deck paint job held up a year later? My deck floor looks exactly like this and I’m nervous for the long term results!

  7. Deckrevive says:

    Great ideas and tips about the deck staining. Deck staining is another essential part to protect the deck from the various disasters. The following guidance will help us to maintain our deck beauty for a long period of time. Thanks for sharing this post.

  8. We recently bought a beautiful house with an ugly looking deck… half of it was stained with that horrid red (as in your video), the other half was left unpainted and is now weathered (maybe they realized how bad the red looked only AFTER half of it was stained?). I’m hesitant to do anything lest my attempts turn out looking similarly cattywampus because the 2 halves are so different now. Any suggestions?

  9. Rosemarie says:

    I read that you used solid stain in coffee color…what brand did you use. Thank you.


  1. […] stained the deck, and built a pergola from scratch (see my video tutorial for the deck staining on my blog, withHEART), then we made a curtain rod system using galvanized piping and hung drapes […]

  2. […] stained the deck, and built a pergola from scratch (see my video tutorial for the deck staining on my blog, withHEART), then we made a curtain rod system using galvanized piping and hung drapes […]