May 7, 2014


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

  1. Megan Sybrant

    May 7th, 2014 at 9:21 am

    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?

  2. Jen

    May 7th, 2014 at 9:42 am

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

  3. Lisa

    May 8th, 2014 at 9:48 am

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

  4. Jen

    May 8th, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Thabk you, Lisa! Yes it’s called coffee!

  5. Bri

    June 1st, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Who makes it?

  6. Jen

    June 13th, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Sorry, who makes what?

  7. Holly

    May 9th, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    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!

  8. Jen

    May 9th, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    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!

  9. Shavonda@AHomeFullOfColor

    May 14th, 2014 at 11:17 am

    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.

  10. Deck Decorating Ideas: A Pergola, Lights and DIY Cement Planters - Home Improvement Blog – The Apron by The Home Depot

    July 21st, 2014 at 10:06 am

    […] 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 […]

  11. Sara

    August 8th, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    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.

  12. Jen

    August 9th, 2014 at 8:18 am

    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!

  13. Sara

    August 22nd, 2014 at 9:53 am

    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

  14. Dani B

    April 30th, 2015 at 10:33 am

    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!

  15. Jen

    April 30th, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Hi Dani, it held up great, but we recently moved and I haven’t checked up on it since the winter. Sorry!

  16. Deck Decorating Ideas: Pergola, Lights and Cement Planters

    June 15th, 2015 at 9:48 am

    […] 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 […]

  17. Deckrevive

    October 19th, 2015 at 4:02 am

    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.

  18. Rebekah

    April 12th, 2018 at 8:36 am

    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?

  19. Jen

    April 18th, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Hi there! A solid stain should do the trick!

  20. Rosemarie

    June 21st, 2018 at 7:23 am

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

  21. Jen

    July 8th, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Hi there! I can’t remember the brand, but we got it from Home Depot.

  22. Beverly

    June 2nd, 2019 at 4:22 am

    I must have missed, how you actually stained the deck, because the only thing I see is you used paint from Home Depot, but didn’t remember brand. I guess I was expecting better details.. than you stating solid stain. I’ll google that for a better understanding than what I see here. Thanks anyway!

  23. Administrator

    June 4th, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Hi, did you watch the video? It shows the actual stain we used, and I state the color. Hope that helps!

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She’s Jen. He’s Jon. We’re believers in the power of home, fearless DIYers, and eternal optimists who know with a can-do spirit, elbow grease and some guidance, you can create a home you love. We love a good project—or 20. Stick around and we’ll have you pulling out the paint brushes and fluffing throw pillows in no time.

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