Archive for Deck renewal/maintenance

A House Refresh with Historic Roots

Hello everyone! I have some big changes to show you. After 23 years of living here, we decided that now was the time to do a house refresh. I have been wanting to lime wash the house for years, and my wish finally came true. The house is all brick. It was a very dark reddish brown, and the north-facing side never really was bright enough to show off the plants that surrounded it. Well, now that’s history! Come take a tour of our finished new look —

Our fresh new appearance, with lime wash.

We chose to use a great product from Romabio Paints. Their formula is totally organic, mineral based, and the origins of lime wash go back several thousand years. It stands the test of time and mellows with each passing year in a natural way. The color we chose is Avorio White, which I love because as the hours of the day pass, the color shifts to take on the colors of the setting sun. And after dark, it truly glows.

After dark the new lime wash glows.

Another exciting aspect for me is I now have a light backdrop that shows off the garden. I can use the bright tropical colors of summer in flowers. I’ve filled the garden with magenta, coral, red and purple flowers. It’s so much fun! I’m already planning what colors to use in the autumn, and I am so looking forward to seeing how the house will look decorated for Christmas.

Using tropical colors in the flowers outside really pop with the new light color of the bricks.

The window boxes got more of the same with lots of tropical foliage and flowers!

This is the front of the garage — now the flower colors really show up, and even the doors do, too.

Here’s an in-process photo to see the red brick next to the lime wash. I am really happy how easy this was to apply, and the soft appearance it gives.

We hired a wonderful company — Brushes with Flair — to paint the top floor and very tall chimneys, while I painted the lower floors. The entire job took a couple of weeks to complete. The bricks are painted one at a time, carefully working the paint into all the mortar joints first, so the coverage is a very protective but breathable finish. It was time consuming, but well worth the effort. I chose not to wash it off for instant aging, but to rather let nature age it.

I also enlarged the stenciled numbers above the door to make it easier to read from the street.

New upgraded decking in a PVC which looks like mahogany.

While were were at it, we also needed to deal with our deck. Until now, the deck was pressure treated wood, which I sealed each year. In the days of old, a new pressure treated deck would last a couple of decades. Although the deck here was only 13 years old, we had to replace many boards over the years due to rot, and we finally gave up on it. We chose a new product from Timbertech that is made from PVC and is warranted to last 50 years. I guess time will tell, but we are grateful not to get splinters like we had from the old decking. The joists were also replaced, and all new bracing for hurricanes underneath, so now we are good for a while! Updating the rails, which looked a bit dated before, made a big difference, and the new LED lights are our new favorites.

We love the new LED lighting. They are much more energy efficient, and we don’t ever have to replace a bulb again!

We are looking forward to enjoying the deck now, if only the heatwave would subside. At least we can look forward to doing so in the fall!

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Wishing everyone a happy and safe summer. Until next time!

Renewing the Deck

After a hard day's work, it's one of our favorite pastimes to enjoy the views from the deck, but the harsh exposure took its toll on the wood.

At the end of the day we love to relax on the deck and look at the garden, watch the clouds or the setting sun. I say that because our deck was in awful shape — definitely wouldn’t want to look at it. We just finished a long process of renewal which I will walk through step by step. It’s done now and we couldn’t be happier at how it turned out.

The deck is on the south-facing side of the house, which means it is exposed to really damaging sun, intense storms and wind. On the positive side, the view of the Potomac River is beautiful, and the elevation is good for an evening breeze.

The top item on our long list of decisions was how we wanted to finish the deck surface. For years, we just used clear deck sealer which would result in a pretty, weathered gray finish, although didn’t provide the wood with enough protection from the elements, which resulted in the need to replace the wood after only 10 years. This time around, we decided to use a combination of finishes to give the deck a more smooth, “boat deck” finish. We chose a color that is close to the color of the front door, our teak outdoor furniture, and the hardwood flooring in the home for a more cohesive look.

When choosing a color for your deck it's nice to consider the other elements at your home. In this case, we chose a color similar to the front door.

First, we replaced the deck surface with premium grade pressure-treated pine. The wood that we received from the lumber yard was, well, not of premium quality, but with lots of work, it was cut and laid into place, screwed down, and gave us a fresh new surface to work with. I let it cure over the winter while I worked on some of the other elements in the project.

Our deck has a significant amount of  railings, undercarriage and arbors, which all got a thorough scrubbing and painting. Next, I turned to the coach lights by the doors. They had been a bright brass but had tarnished badly over the years, so I painted them a beautiful black, which looks great!

A fresh coat of paint to the white trim set off the wood tone of the deck. This photo was taken after the first layer of toner had been applied.



By Spring, the deck had been through a dramatically harsh winter – Snowmageddon as it was called around here! A power washing got it prepped, and a layer of sealer/toner in a deep shade of Canyon Brown was applied — the first of two layers. The second application evened out imperfections, and the colored pigment in the toner gave the deck a good basis for protecting the wood.

Refreshing the old coach lamps was easy with a coat of black paint!

After letting the sealer/toner cure for about a month, the final topcoat was applied. We used a product that is a marine-grade “teak color” varnish for coating boat decks. We have used it on our outdoor furniture for a decade, but never on the deck surface. It took the deck from “nice” to “WOW”! The deck now has a beautiful surface that repels the rain and has a depth of sheen similar to a fine grade of teak. All in all, I have to admit it was a HUGE undertaking, but the end result is great. Time will tell how long it lasts, but if the deck holds the finish like the furniture has, it will be good for years to come.

It is so gratifying to see the rain just bead up and roll off the new finish!

I have to say this was a really physical project and I am so glad it’s finished! Time to drink in the scenery now from the deck chairs — only this time I might be looking AT the deck instead of the garden!

A close-up of the finished product. Time to mark this one off the to do list.

Ahhh! Now it's time to sit down and think about my next project. Hey, I think I need some more plants up here on the deck....

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