Updating a Sad, Tired Deck

A view of the back of the house and deck

View of the Back, Before

When we first bought our house in 2008, very little had been done to the outside.  There was however, this enormous deck on the back.  It was stained a solid red color, and was a wreck.  Some of the railings were loose and uneven, and some boards were warped.  The stain was OK but was a bit too red for my tastes.  So we lived with it for a little while, and realized that we did not want to pay someone to fix it for us.  (And that’s why it took 2+ years for it to happen).

The first thing we did do right away, was to fix the wobbly pieces, put things back into order and tighten things up all around.  We replaced the top of the railings, and bolted pieces together.

Warped railing on the deck

See the corner is a bit more square now.  So, we lived with it like this for a (long) while, and finally decided we had enough of the bad red stain.

The railings replaced on the deck.

Railings replaced on the deck.

I wanted to test a stain first.  I could not find any images of what I wanted to do online- so tests were necessary.  Unless I wanted to keep a red deck, I was going to have to use an opaque stain as nothing else would cover the red unless I stripped it, sanded it, and used a variety of chemicals, and spent a butt load of money and time.  This deck is not worth the trouble.  I wanted a gray deck, something soft enough to look nice and relaxing, light enough to reflect more sunlight away from it (and hopefully be a little cooler), and something dark enough to hide a little dirt.

A test of the deck stain Harbor Gray by Behr.

A test of deck stain- Harbor Gray

I ended up choosing Harbor Gray for the railings, and Pewter in Behr’s premium deck stain for the deck floor.   I felt that going with a two-tone deck would create a visually interesting and exciting space, given the limitations of covering up red stain.  Also, if the gray starts to wear down a little, the red peaks through and it adds more “character”.  The two grays are not very high contrast, but I find them to be beautiful together.

The newly stained back deck in Harbor Gray and Pewter by Behr.

The newly stained back deck.

And another beauty shot:

A view of the newly stained back deck from the side.

Another view of the newly stained back deck.

So calm and inviting!  Now to revamp the grill and get some dining furniture!


Linking up to these parties:  Remodelaholic




  1. Great job! It looks like a brand new deck.

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

    • The Lucky Lass

      Wow! Thanks for the nice comment Allison!

    • How is the stain job holding up?


      • The Lucky Lass

        It has been two years now, and the stain is mostly holding up! There are some spot where it is cracking- but I think that’s more from our crappy wood than the stain itself. I plan on sanding down the rough parts and and repainting parts of it within the year. Thanks for asking!

  2. Our home is white with a red deck too. We also have the red on our front porch railing and I am not in love with it. I have been wanting to go gray too since our deck is built around what was a concrete patio. I am wondering what kind of prep you did since you mentioned not wanting to sand.

    • Hi Jessica! It’s been a couple of years now, but I believe that we just did a really light cleaning of the deck before painting–probably not much more than hosing it off and scrubbing it with a stiff broom, and then rinsing it off again and letting it dry. It probably wasn’t quite enough because 2 years later it was starting to crack and peel up in a few places- but not too bad really. And also, I think you are supposed to maintain them by re-painting every couple of years. I may be wrong on that, and it’s certainly not something I do myself…

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