Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Decked Out: In which Burb details how he has begun refurbishing his backyard deck

Already you should be worried, since this involves home repair and that never seems to work out that well for me.

But, I am determined to learn (either that or I refuse to learn and am denser than most).

So, those of you that have visited my house are aware of my deck. It's approximately 24 x 12, opens off my back door and provides an expansive view of my backyard. It has served its purpose well, but in the last year the paint has begun peeling.

The peeling has gotten worse, but I managed to ignore it and do nothing all of last summer and most of this summer. But for some reason (and I don't recall the specific thing that caused this) Lynda and I decided to tackle this project starting last weekend.

Since the paint was well on its way to peeling off, we decided to remove the existing paint and then put some new stain/sealant on the newly exposed wood.

That's all fine and good. We even borrowed a pressure washer from one of Lynda's coworkers who lives down the street from us, figuring that it would be able to remove the peeling paint.

Last weekend I went to Home Depot and bought the stain/sealant and a sprayer to apply it with. But I also decided to buy a few gallons of a chemical stripper that claimed it would help remove existing paint. Once that was done, I would use a second cleaning agent to condition and clean the wood before applying the new stain/sealer.

The mechanisms of all this aren't very complicated. On Sunday afternoon I put the stripper in the pump sprayer and began laying it down. I waited for it to do its thing and then used the garden hose to spray it off and magically strip the offending paint away.

The chemical had a pleasing offensive smell, signifying that microscopic enzymes or nanobots or something else was breaking down the paint. But then . . . well, it's didn't strip off like butter. Maybe, maybe 65 percent of the paint was removed after a few attempts of application and water spray.

This was frustrating, to be sure, but not debilitating. I hadn't used the pressure washer yet, which would surely crank up the power and blast off that stuff, no problem. The REAL problem was the extreme heat under which I was working. You might know (unless you are one of my overseas readers) that much of the country is under a strong heatwave. You might NOT know whoever that I am mildly to moderately polyhydrotic.

This means that each day that I have been trying to get this deck in shape, I have had to take two showers--one in the morning and one at night.

Yeah, trust me to pick the hottest time of year to take on this task.

By the way, I did use the pressure washer this evening. It did help remove more of the paint, but it didn't take it all off. I am not really sure what I should do at this point. But it'll be tomorrow evening (after shower number seven) that I find out.

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