deck reveal

Over 6 months ago, we posted our big plans for 2011 which included a large backyard deck. Since the original SketchUp renderings, we decided to make it a bit wider and showed you our progress in a series of posts (found here). Construction was more or less done by early August, but the last thing on our to-do list was to apply the oil finish.

Ipe does not necessarily need a finish (it grays out over time similar to cedar), but the aesthetic difference is totally worth it. We used Penofin for hardwoods, which is a Brazilian rosewood oil that penetrates deep into the wood and turns it into a wonderous reddish-brown color. One gallon covered the whole deck (just under 400 SF) and we applied it using a bristle brush for the horizontal surfaces and a hand brush for the vertical surfaces.

Here’s what she looked like before. The product suggests that you pressure wash or clean with a mild detergent to remove dirt, debris or any mill glaze. We opted to pressure wash since we had rented one for the foundation work several weeks ago.

The best thing about Penofin? Instant gratification.  (The exposed framing on the sides will eventually be covered by steel planter boxes.)

Although it’s still wet in this mid-progress shot, the finish actually dries to a very similar color.

The directions also suggest wiping any excess away with a nap-free cloth but we didn’t find it to be necessary since our wood soaked it all up. Working from the back door out, we were able to cover everything without walking on the wet surface.

(Of course we turned the lights on for the task – party lights make everything better.)

For the risers on the steps, I used a hand brush to apply an even coat. (As seen in the photo below, we dealt with the grass by placing boards under the final riser and then pulling them back out after we were done.)

Surprisingly, it only took an hour or so from beginning to end. Not bad for a weeknight.

Ipe can be pricey, but we saved about 50% by purchasing boards that had some type of imperfection. Was it worth it? Heck yeah. The Penofin really helped to blend everything together and mask any discoloration between boards.

I snapped the photos below this evening. It was cloudy and rainy (Fall is here!), but you get the idea.

We also experimented with applying the Penofin to our IKEA deck furniture. The wood is Acacia and it took the oil fairly well, turning it a bit more yellow than we would have liked, but better than what it was. We still have 3 more chairs to complete and then realistically, probably time to put them back in the carport for the season. Ooh…fire pit time?

The terrarced design provides informal seating and allows us to avoid handrails and guardrails. With eastern exposure, it’s a great place to sit and sip coffee on a Saturday morning.

Oh hey, what’s this…

Raw steel panels! In that post from March, we talked about building planter boxes to flank the deck out of corten steel. Well, corten steel is $$$ so Kyle’s been scoping out Craigslist for other options. A few weeks ago, he found a seller south of Olympia with a stock of 4×8 steel panels for a really reasonable price. So we bought them. Last week, Kyle took them to Ballard Sheet Metal (gotta love living in a historically blue-collar ‘hood) to have them cut to size and now they’re back and ready to be welded.

Although we planned on adding soil and grasses to the areas of the driveway that we jack-hammered out earlier this summer, we have since decided that plants are no longer on the 2011 agenda (next year!). But no plants = giant mud pit. So we put down filter fabric and a layer of pea gravel for the meantime. I’m not usually a fan of temporary solutions, but I am a fan of maintaining my sanity this winter by not constantly mopping up paw prints. And Bailey understood. He has already taken to sprawling out in this new zen garden of his.

Finally, in the spirit of progress, he’s a reminder of what the back of our house used to look like:

And here’s what she’s looking like today:

Yay for progress! We still plan on adding an awning over the back door and window to protect the door and allow for inclement weather grilling. Maybe 2012?

Five years in and still so much to do.


37 Responses to “deck reveal”

  1. Shannon says:

    Oooh, does it keep that wet finish? Gorgeous.

  2. ModFruGal says:

    It’s gorgeous! As always, an amazing job…and I hear you on covering mud with temporary coverings. I’m still stuck with a pine straw patio after 3 years, but the muddy alternative was not an option! Sanity first!

  3. guys, it looks great! but you know the weirdest thing? we can’t get that rosewood oil in Brazil, or any oils for that matter. nor any stains. we are stuck with polys for wood finishishes. sucks.

  4. Liz F. says:

    STUNNING. One of the most dramatic before-and-afters I’ve ever seen, and you’re not even done yet!

  5. Looks awesome! I’ve never been a fan of the natural grey of aged, untreated wood for aesthetic reasons. Even if the variety can handle it, something just looks “unkempt.” I don’t know how you find time to plan and do the projects AND blog about it! I’m months behind in my blogging (not to mention getting my window and door trim installed)….

    • chezerbey says:

      Thanks Matt, I know what you mean – the gray is allright, but the alternative is WHOA. We’re definitely feeling the pressure of getting stuff done before the “rainy season” and trying to embrace that momentum! Making the time to blog can be hard, especially after sitting behind a computer at work all day – but I enjoy it so I guess it’s something I look forward to doing.

  6. Looks fabulous! I love the way that Ipe turned out, especially once it was oiled. I can’t believe what a difference you’ve made in that house!

  7. Martina says:

    Holy Hannah Barbara Batman.
    #1 – the deck looks absolutely gorgeous with the new stain
    & #2 – that is a HUGE transformation between before & after on the exterior. You guys are amazing!

  8. stephanie says:

    I second Liz F.’s comment – its awe inspiring what you’ve done with your home. You guys are amazing!

  9. maya says:

    it looks fantastic! as usual – great job!

  10. Your before and after is absolutely incredible! The deck (and everything else) looks stunning. Wow! I hope you patted yourselves on the back… 😉 haha

  11. Brooke says:

    Well, that is just gorgeous. As someone who lives in SoCal, outdoor entertaining space is so important. So important to us that we’ve made it our first project, even before we touch the inside of the house. May you make many memories in your beautiful backyard! Congrats, you guys!

  12. jeannette says:

    awesome, your parging adventures were truly epic, though, i was too stunned to comment but so very impressed. finally, what IKEA patio furniture is that? does it have a name?

    • chezerbey says:

      Thanks Jeanette, I can’t remember the name of the patio furniture…we bought it 3 or 4 years ago so I don’t think IKEA still carries it. =(

  13. Heather says:

    So. freaking. beautiful. Great job, as always.

  14. Sammi says:

    Gobsmacking great! 🙂

  15. anne b. says:

    that looks like an hour well spent!
    five years well spent, actually – look at those last two pictures!
    I’m actually a fan of the Graying Wood, but for your place, this finish looks so great.

  16. Laura says:

    It looks great so on the fence about using hardwood and providence etc just waiting for a quote at the minute but thinking of going to the nearest timber mills and using local material even if it doesn’t last forever but your deck looks great.

  17. Rosemary says:

    I really love your blog and what you have done with your home! It seems to me like a lot to have accomplished in five years. Congrats! I’ll enjoy reading about the next steps, as you continue tackling more projects!

  18. hjc says:

    I am going to show my parents your pictures – I wonder if the Penofin will work on an old ipe deck which has already turned gray? I guess we’ll power wash it and find out! Great job as usual!

    • Kyle Z says:

      I know that Penofin sells a product called “Pro-Tech Cleaner” It’s says it restores wood to bright appearance, cleans and rejuvenates wood, Biodegradable; safe on soil and plant life. I would definatley read the ingredients first though and maye try it out in a small inconspicuous spot before doing your whole deck.

  19. Nina says:

    wow. What an amazing before & after pic! That deck is beautiful. I love the color. One day I want to put a deck on mine.

    I’m not sure if you remember my blog (1914 Foursquare). You have commented on it before. I am now being criminally charged by my city for restoring my house. I have the full story on my blog:

    I appreciate all the support I can get from the community. Keep up the good work on yours. It looks great!

  20. Ugh, well sorry if I comment twice. This is being funky – but –

    I LOVE PENOFIN. it is the best thing ever and all our exterior wood is soaked in the stuff.
    Looks amazing! Look at that progress.

    • chezerbey says:

      I know! I think that’s why we started refinishing the deck furniture…it was like, “hmm…what else can we Penofin??”. Magical stuff indeed. =)

  21. John Honea says:

    Hi, I love those chairs on the deck? Could you let me know where you bought them? Thanks!

  22. Paul Cuenin says:

    Looks awesome finished!
    Paul Cuenin

  23. Dawn D'Haeze says:

    Beautiful remodel! What color is the exterior paint? We’re about to paint our house (mid century modern) and that color looks perfect.

    Thanks 🙂

  24. Michael says:

    How has the cantilevered deck step worked out for you so far? What size lumber did you use for it – 2×8’s or 2×6’s? Is there any flexing that occurs when more than 1 or 2 people get on it?

    I am building a low-level deck as well. So low that I have flush beams, and can’t cantilever the joists, but I could cantilever the one step I need at the far edge of the deck, but I was curious about the rigidity over time.

    Thanks and great website and excellent work on the house!

  25. Lauren says:

    Hi! Beautiful makeovers on all parts of your house/exterior!!
    I am looking to redo my back deck and for various reasons (privacy from the neighbors, fewer steps down to the yard) I want to lower the deck. This would mean adding two steps out the back door. But I’ve been getting a lot of haters who say I should keep the deck level with the inside floors, so you don’t have to take any “steps” out the back door. Thoughts? Are y’all happy with your decision to build a lower deck, or in hindsight do you think that a deck should be level with the interior??



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