Painting Deck
  • Deck

The Pittsburgh Revitalize deck renovation project was surprisingly one of the biggest to date, or maybe I should say the most difficult. Actually, I am not sure what to call it. Arduous, time consuming, frustrating…

The Initial Plan

I suppose the perfect plan would have been to replace the boards, and put up the cover and railing, stain it and be done with it. With my frugal and none wasteful mindset, I was going to initially replace all of the really bad boards and flip the rest over because the boards looked like new underneath.

deck renovation

Need to Rethink Plan

Then with my, maybe I need to plan to sell the house because I don’t have a job mindset, I figured I’d go with the Pittsburg Paints Revitalize. Seemed like a good idea. According to the package my 300 square foot deck should take 4 gallons.

Prep Work

The change of plan caused a lot of prep work.  The pressure washing, the filling, the replacing the boards, the removing and replacing nails with screws where necessary. I put in numerous hours spread over days just into the prep. I did ended up using two drills on this job, my cordless Milwaukee and my Hitachi. To be honest the Milwaukee couldn’t get the screws in all of the time. The Hitachi made quick work of them. Using the two drills actually made things much more efficient. The photo of the plastic is the dryness test. I did not leave this in the sun.

The Painting Begins

I thought about stopping and taking a different approach before I was even halfway done with the first coat because I could see it wasn’t going to make it. I knew I was going to have to chalk up another $150. I started questioning my decision, but I had no reason to doubt what it said on the package and I have never had such a problem. I figured there was no way out without starting from scratch.

The Pain

So if you read this post you get an idea of some of the pain endured painting just the top of the deck. I was basically living off of Naan bread, hummus and coconut water. As you may already be aware, since I live alone I don’t cook much. It’s not that I don’t know how, I guess it’s more because I am busy doing other things and by the time I get around to eating I am ready to chew my arm off. This usually means grabbing a handful of something quick and a bottle of water. I would take a break just long enough to cool off and eat. I just wanted the job done. It took 2 days just to do the two coats on top of the deck and you could see it didn’t fill things in like it was supposed to.

More Repairs

So I had to rebuild the stairs and fix the skirting, you can read more about that here. To recap, I didn’t reuse any of the stairs because it was too much work to try and repurpose the wood and it was causing too much damage to try and take it apart. I just bought all new components and rebuilt the steps using 3-step stair stringers, some 1×8, and stair treads. I just winged it cutting the skirting because I figured it was easier than to try and measure.


Painting with Pittsburgh Revitalize on the Skirting & Steps

I put two coats of Pittsburgh Revitalize on the steps and one on the skirting. Granted, I did not have to use the Revitalize on these areas, but I really didn’t want to spend more on stain, and there is no reason why I couldn’t use whatever I had left to finish the job. I had to move all of the mulch away from the skirting. I wasn’t exactly gentle, I suppose I am just not gentle as a whole, and maybe it goes along with my messy work style, but I accidentally broke off yet another branch to my White Diamonds Hydrangea. Its in the last photo in the gallery right above.


While the Pittsburgh product said it would take 4 gallons, it ended up taking closer to 10! This stuff runs $150 per 5 gallon bucket, so that is $300 plus 7% tax. To replace all the boards would have been $547 from Home Depot, and after what I went through with the Revitalize I am thinking it would have been easier to replace the boards. I would have had a new deck, practically, to boot.

I did mention previously that I called Pittsburg and the guy was kind of an ass, so I turned on the charm and got him to change his attitude, I guess you can say it was my attitude adjustment that prompted a change in his as well. He sent me an email with instructions, which I followed. They are basically giving me the money back that I paid for the product. I was getting ready to sign and send it back, but noticed he put the wrong state down. He promptly corrected it, but I haven’t gotten back to it yet. This was May 26, 2017.

There are a few things that bother me about this. One, I hadn’t finished the job yet. The paperwork he sent me to sign was basically part of a class-action suit, so that basically tells me there is an issue with the product, or may be an issue. I realize you really have to prep properly to get good results with this product and a lot of people probably do not do the prep work. That said, it took 10 gallons, almost 3 times as much as what the container said it should and it still didn’t cover the gaps. And those gaps weren’t as big as what the product says it is supposed to cover. So then I was wondering if this stuff is going to give me more of a problem. I did everything I was supposed to, but if this stuff starts failing after all of that work, well, I’m not sure what I am going to do. I still haven’t signed and sent the paperwork back. It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished painting the stairs and the skirting.

When I first started thinking about the deck job I thought about the Revitalize. Now that I think about it that WAS my initial plan, but then I read somewhere that you can flip the boards over and that’s when I took a picture of the underside of the deck to see what it looked like and was astonished that it basically looked new. I even bought a tamping bar to make the job of pulling the boards up easier. I suppose, what is done is done and it’s a wait and see game now. I know it was my initial plan because I bought samples and I wasn’t going to paint it as dark because it gets super hot back there. It gets so hot you can literally burn yourself on the surface of the deck in seconds.

In the End

In the end, I think I should have stuck to my plan of replacing the bad boards, which I had already done, and flipped the rest over and then just stained. It would have taken longer to flip the boards over than to prep, but I could have used regular stain and not have a nagging feeling that it may fail. Plus the surface would be nicer and it wouldn’t have cost as much.

I can’t say it would have been any less painful in regards to the heat, but I may have prevented some injuries by not having to pull up an additional 46 16 foot deck boards. I think that may have actually been the deciding factor – I was dreading pulling up those boards. Those old nails are really in there. It was a big unknown in pulling the boards up. I suppose that job could have been one where I question what the heck I was doing maybe 5 boards in.

I have no idea how many hours I have into this job, but it was lot of work and many, many, many hours spread over many, many, many months.



Below is a before and after.