Group 6 3 minutes Read

deck reveal

Lauren Zerbey

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.