Our Sanford and Son deck

October 25, 2010

Well…it’s time to show you the before and after pictures of our deck clean up! As you know, I like to show you the good and the bad around here. And this one was BAD.

After reading this, you will either be highly motivated…or just highly sleepy. ;)

I showed you how we upgraded our deck just a bit last year by adding some new furniture and a faux pergola to the seating area. We LOVED it:


I get a lot of questions about that pergola -- we got it from Menards. I especially love that it opens and closes – so during the day it keeps temps much cooler underneath, and at night we can open it up to see the stars.

But this summer the deck kind of went downhill…fast. It was so stinkin’ H.O.T., we were just never outside. Our backyard gets full sun and it can get unbearable, even under the pergola.

I’m not what you would call an outdoors kind of girl anyway, so when you add the potential for sweat to that…well, I’m just not going outside. :)

Anyhoo, it kind of fell apart. So now I present to you…our crapified deck…

First up, our hot tub. We had this installed when we built the deck, and put it right by the back door. This is good for soaks in the winter, (proximity to the door), but not so good for as far as the beauty factor. It’s hard to make a hot tub pretty. :)

We hadn’t replaced the hot tub cover in five years, so it was disgusting. I mean…EWW. And, it was FULL of water – it took two people to lift one side of it because it was just soaked:

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Those little yellow things are great for propping up paint projects. And they had been out there since I painted our island doors seven weeks ago. I had pretty much just given up. :)

The table cover had been draped ever so beautifully over the railing since ohhhhh….May?:

And the hose had been connected to the hot tub and spread out all over since the last time we drained it in ohhhhh….March?:


Told you – pure AWESOMENESS!!!


Earlier in the summer, we woke to a huge mess – the middle section of our glass table was in itty bitty teeny tiny pieces all over the deck:

We had planned on replacing the whole set, but the little Dave Ramsey voice in our heads told us to wait.

So wait we did…and we had a busted table on the deck all summer. :)

I especially love the next two areas --


Do you hear the Sanford and Son melody playing yet?:

No? Do ya now?:

Maybe now:

I told you our neighbors were really proud.

But it gets even better!

Remember the DIY window boxes I showed you last year?:

DIY window boxesAwww…look how cute they looked! Adorable huh?

Well. Huh. About late winter, they started looking a little rough. By spring they started splitting a bit. Just a tad.

By summer, they were full out disaster:

The shutter wasn’t lookin’ so hot either.

Because it was as hot as the surface of the sun out there all summer, I left them…hanging. :)

Oh, and all three boxes fell apart. As you can see in this picture with the “new” outdoor rug from Home Depot that we left rolled up all summer:

Neighbors = loved us.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I used the help of my sis to clean up some of the out of control spots in our house, and this certainly fell under the “out of control” category.

It took us a few days to finish everything up, but it wasn’t hard. We just got rid of almost everything. ;)

The first day, we took about five trips to Goodwill, loading up the table, chairs and matching lounge. The whole set was in bad shape – missing glass, paint chipping off the chairs. And I had already repainted them all once a couple of years ago.

We decided since we’ll be DEBT FREE next summer, we’ll save up for a new set. YES.

Sis and I also took a trip out to the hot tub place to get a new cover:

Oh my goodness – SO much better! You cannot tell how bad the old one was in the pictures, but it was so nasty!

The table cover draped over the railing was FULL of wasps nests. We used a whole can of wasp spray while out there that day because they were everywhere. Because we weren’t keeping the table anyway, the cover was gone too!

After we built the deck years ago, we realized we never created access to the hot tub drain. We had a friend come out and cut the boards so we could access it:

Because I had installed hinges that were way too small and were not meant to be outdoors, they were falling apart and it had become a major safety issue.

True Value to the rescue! I picked out some heavy duty hinges that will hold up to the elements:

I know they’re not pretty, but they are necessary. Function over form and all that.

And oh yeah…this was my selection of hinges and screws at my True Value:

True Value

Fantastic!! I am like a kid in a candy store in this place! :)

My favorite part of the small town feel of this True Value is that you can buy individual screws – just as many as you need. They bag them up in the little paper bag – love it!! If you ever went to the hardware store with your Dad when you were little like me, this place would SO bring you back. ;)

Next, I took the beautiful window boxes down, and braced myself for the holes in the siding. UGH.

I do plan on installing new boxes at some point, but in the meantime I didn’t want the holes to be open to the weather, so I picked up some of this fun stuff as well:

I just sprayed it in the holes. A few things to watch for with this stuff – it GROWS. I know, DUH. But it grows a lot. You need very little. And it dries way darker than it looks. And finally -- it’s a one time use can, which I didn’t realize. It seals itself up pretty fast, so know exactly what you want to use it on before you start!

It did the job, but it made a mess! Some elbow grease and a razor takes it off, but I’ll finish that up in the spring:

IMG_1099I gotta have something to do out there next spring, right? ;)

I cleaned up the pergola area, tossed the dead flowers and packed away some of the items in the garage for the winter. We’ll put all of the furniture away in the next month or so.

I finally laid out the new outdoor rug – and after being rolled up in the sun for five months, it was bleached by the sun on just the edge:

I can’t let go of the Sanford and Son look completely. ;)

We had lighting installed on our deck steps years ago, and the bulbs have been burnt out for probably eight months now:

Each one only takes one bulb, so I picked up a few packs of the little halogen bulbs from True Value as well:

You want to make sure not to touch these with your fingers or hands when you install them – the oils from your hands cause them to burn out faster. I always use a paper towel or tissue to plug them in.

Now the deck is so empty…but I actually like it for now!:IMG_1109

It’s a breath of fresh air. I know by spring I’ll be itching to put a table and chairs back out, but it feels SO GOOD to have it decrapified!!

I feel like I’m ready to hibernate for the winter. ;)

There are still a few things we need to address though – one is the stain:

When you use treated wood – WAIT to stain it, for at least a few months. Our construction guy told us six months…after we stained it.

That was a great day. :)

If you do it too soon, it won’t stick. It is such a mess, and we’ve done it twice now. Next spring, we plan to use a power sprayer to really get the old stuff off, then do a couple of coats of stain again.

We still have to get the nasty old hot tub cover hauled to the dump:

Sis and I had to cut slits to get the water out of it! It was SO CRAZY HEAVY.

And the basketball goal has been moved down to the lawn:

Complete with random landscaping bricks to make it steady. Steady on the dead grass. Dead grass from the blazing hot summer.

Awwww yeah….we still got some bah ba ba duh, bah ba ba ba ba ba dum in us baby! I know, you are so jealous of our awesomeness!

And now that song is in your head …buwahahaha!!

So that’s project one of the three we tackled – the garage is pretty much done and our closet was done, then it wasn’t, then it was, now it isn’t again.

I cannot keep it clean to save my life.

But I will show you! :)


*I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.*

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  1. Great job!! My glass patio table shattered this summer too...except mine was the whole 6 foot section!! What a mess. Thanks for the tip about painting treated wood.

  2. Yay for having your sister to help!

    I am so sad about your window boxes though! :(

  3. Lookin good...those poor boxes :( made me laugh out loud though... Love the rug!

  4. Dried flowers in pots? Random kid toys littering the sitting area? Worn stain spots? Do we have the SAME DECK!?! I go out there once a day at least and sigh and think that maybe some day I'll get that place spiffed up. Thank you for sharing your completed project! It's MEGA inspiring. Tomorrow, when I go out to the deck - I'm tackling SOMETHING out there! Looks great!!

  5. Thanks for sharing this. It's great to see a few messes amidst all your other fabulous successes. Honestly, it helps me realize that even a fabulous crafter/DIYer like you has a real, sometimes messy life. It gives me hope that I don't have to be all or nothing.

    Also, I personally like the spartan look of your deck for winter. Makes more sense anyway because you won't really be out there using it.

  6. ba ba BA dum, ba ba BA dum ba da dum! ;)

  7. You crack me up. Why don't you get a roof built for your hot tub area like a pergola? I think it would look very nice and offer privacy. It would save the covers from wearing out too fast as well.

    Show us your closet! You have us all curious now. *Smiles*

  8. it is so fun to clean up the backyard! our deck is small, but clean, most of the time. it will be sweetness to get furniture out there someday. i am pretty sure that i will take the hard way and make a picnic table ala Ana eventually. cause who would buy a table? sha.

    you say your grass is dead, but remember that you are in the midwest and it never really dies like it does out here in weedville, usa a.k.a. my yard.

    bye bye


  9. I have had your "decrapify" word in my head for the past week! My Mom is moving into a small trailer so she gave us a bunch of her antique solid wood furniture. Absolutely beautiful, but takes up lots of space in my home. So I am trying to reorganize and get rid of stuff. I have to get past that mind set that says I may need/use/want it someday so I should store it - that is what leads to Hoarders reality tv shows!
    Great job on your deck - it must feel so good to get that taken care of! Hope you get some cooler fall temps there soon!

  10. I have had your "decrapify" word in my head for the past week! My Mom is moving into a small trailer so she gave us a bunch of her antique solid wood furniture. Absolutely beautiful, but takes up lots of space in my home. So I am trying to reorganize and get rid of stuff. I have to get past that mind set that says I may need/use/want it someday so I should store it - that is what leads to Hoarders reality tv shows!
    Great job on your deck - it must feel so good to get that taken care of! Hope you get some cooler fall temps there soon!

  11. Ah...great post. I feel so much better now. The hubs and I went out a couple of days ago to retrieve all the yard/garden trinkets to put away for winter...they all got put on the patio table to be hosed/washed off...and then left there. We've been too busy now to actually get them put away. Then, I took a musty smelling rug outside to air out, only to have it left out for the rain that started yesterday. Sure hope it dries out before the snow flies!

    OH BTW...about pressure washing your deck...I highly advise you not to. Check out why not at Tim Carter's Ask the Builder website http://www.askthebuilder.com/DeckMaintenance.shtml. He's got great tips on home/deck maintenance etc.

  12. The title of your post alone got me humming the tune in my head. You know how sometimes you can't get it out of your head? Thanks Sarah! ;)

  13. Sorry about your window boxes! I did chuckle, just a little, sorry. It's amazing how good something can look just by taking away and getting rid of stuff! Well done :)

  14. You are too funny! But you certainly show us the reality of life! Isn't it incredible how stuff just seems to accumulate and get messed up? And Mother Nature can be pretty brutal too. It looks great now and I know what you mean about having to restain the deck - our home is only about 4 years old and we had already done it twice and it still wasn't sticking, even after powerwashing. The best thing to do is rent a floor sander, sand the stain right off to bare wood and then restain. We did it last year (with the entire deck draped in plastic sheeting because it just wouldn't stop raining) and it turned out great and still looks like new. A bit more effort but you'll be much happier for longer (and save money in the end!) :)

  15. LOVED reading this post...thanks for being real and honest! It makes everyone feel more "normal"...your deck looks wonderful now!!! :)

  16. I really do think we are twins separated at birth! Our spa cover started gaining weight too, about 100 lbs. it seemed, and had to be replaced. We had to haul it up a 45 degree hill in our back yard, and help the garbage man heave it into the truck. That's so weird that this phenomenon happens to them. Cost about $200 to replace! What a waste!
    I could never for the life of me keep my closet organized either, but NO MORE!!!... since we've put our home on the market, miraculously, it stays spotless, AND the laundry is always done. Now I don't recommend this strategy, as everyone knows, all those showings can drive you to new levels of craziness! BUT, now it's all color coded, organized short to long, and could pass inspection any day of the week! Is it weird that during one of our showings several sleeves of my blazers were pulled out like someone wanted to,(or did) try them on???? I'm still kinda freaked out about that one! Anyway, good luck on the closet, I can't wait to see the before and after!

  17. Looking good! I totally get it, it was 95+ here for over 3 months...so not sitting outside in that heat (and we have a covered porch with fans!).

  18. It was real hot {more so humid} here this year as well and I was very rarely outside. I did start out promising though and had flowers in all my pots and things were looking nice on the patio. Once the humidity hit, the flowers didn't last long {even when I did water them}. We get full sun, too, and it is just a killer. I think your deck is ready for a fresh start in the Spring and now you don't have to be thinking about it all Winter.

  19. It looks GREAT!!! And you are not alone! My backyard is the mirror image of your deck -- it's uncanny. (No matter what they tell you about treated lumber, nothing sticks to it -- EVER! No matter how long you wait, no matter what primer you use. And the new "paintable-stainable" treated lumber is no better. It is lies, lies, all lies. It isn't you, it's the product.) But, oh your deck now looks lovely. Hooray for you!

  20. Always good to know I'm not the only one with a ghetto looking yard (at times). I always wonder if my neighbors think, "geesh, she has this great blog about her home and lets her back porch/patio go to crap!" I recently decrapified as well but it's already looking bad. I think I need a sister who is willing to help me! Your backyard cleaned up well. It looks great.

  21. decrapified!!! ha....love it.

    It looks great ~ good job sissers!! :)

  22. I literally laughed out loud twice. Those window boxes--hilarious. Oddly enough, I thought you had taken a couple of pictures of my deck for this post. Don't worry. We can relate.

  23. Thank you for keeping it "real"!! This is why I love your blog so much! :)

  24. This post made me chuckle. Love it!

    Looks about right for the amount of heat you are talking about. We live in Florida and this Summer was just so stinkingly hot! We have an inground pool and even, at times, it was to hot outside to even get in that! -Needless to say, our back patio area was very neglected and 'Trashy' looking. Plants died from the heat, toys collected under the patio and it was to hot to even attempt to clean the space up.

    Your patio looks fabulous now, and I bet the weather is just right to enjoy it too!

  25. "Decrapified"!!! ha ha ha! Still laughing! So funny! Feel the same way about mine at the end of the season!
    Thanks for sharing another great post!

  26. Your flowers look about as good as ours...we live in Plainfield, IN and had a horrible time keeping anything alive this summer. Next year I'm going for something hearty!

    We too needed to re-do our deck. Went to Lowes talked to a lady about powerwashing and she was highly opposed to it as it pushes mold/mildew, etc into the wood and it is never apparently the same. We took her advice to 'clean' the deck with Olympic deck cleaner $15 for 750 sq. feet jug-spray on leave for 5-10 minutes and wash off with the hose. I'm not sure if it works the same on already stained wood, but our deck was a color that wood should never be and looks like nice and new wood. I think the previous owners (we just moved in in April) didnt do anything to it in the 4 years they lived here! Good luck next spring-Dave Ramsey will still be lurking in your ear as patio furniture (I'm sure you know) isnt cheap!

  27. Looks so much better! I just love the size of your deck too.

  28. I never knew that about the halogen bulbs...??? I have those under my counter, and of course handle them all to replace!!!
    No wonder they don't last very long...and they are not cheap!
    Thanks for that! Deck looks great!
    Love the S& S description....will be singing that all day! ha!

  29. Oh thats not so terrible. You should see my back patio - can you say "dirt bomb!"
    Anyway - how about a sitting bench under that window instead of the planter boxes. You could do a bench and 2 potted plants on either side - just a thought.
    In any case - its normal - time to clean up around the house this time of year. We are all with ya!

  30. What a transformation! I think that I will tackle my back porch when I get home tonight! You have been an inspiration to me and my husband. :)

  31. wow - great job!!! Now I have some motivation........

  32. Thanks for showing us the less than perfect parts! Great motivator. I think the big lesson is maintenance. At least you're tackling it now. I went to an estate sale where the house probably couldn't be saved because no one had done anything in so long. I KNOW that deck is gonna look awesome come spring.

    (the glass table made me the most sad. That sucks!)

  33. Oh Sarah. Can I just say, I think I love you even more for posting this?? I already loved your blog, your writing, your home.....but posting these "real" pictures makes me feel like I can relate to you even more (if that's even possible! I showed my husband a post of yours and he jokingly asked if I'd written it). I'm so glad I'm not the only one who puts things off until they're completely crapified!
    It looks great now - and yay for awesome sisters! ;)

  34. We don't have a hot tub, but I can assure you if we did, it would look the same way. I have a blue bucket filled with water and paintbrushes from my painting projects. Last August. A bag of potting soil that we put on the deck when we moved in. A year and a half ago. It has trees growing out if it right now.

    I get ya. {nods head in understanding}

  35. Not sure if your house is wood or plstic siding but this tip could help either way. I notice your grill is against the house as is mine and never thought about until I looked out the window and saw our plastic siding sagging because the grill was so hot it MELTED. It makes since now not to grill so close to the house, Duhh!!

  36. Oh the deck wasn't that bad! You had me thinking it was looking like a junk yard. Haha! It looks great now, clean & simple. :-)

  37. OK...all I can say is a big THANK U!Thank you for showing us that you too are human...sometimes all these blogs I follow (WAY too many believe me!) leave me feeling inferior and wondering why I cant keep up like all these other women do! PS - good job on the cleanup too and cant wait to see what you bust out with in the spring!

  38. Totally. laughing. my. butt. off. Thanks for keeping it real. Maybe I can send you pictures of our heinous deck and you would feel oh so much better...we're even missing the entire lower portion. lovely.

    Thanks for keeping it real.

  39. Thank you so much for the "real" post. I doubt my self so often because my house is never perfect. Keeping it real makes me feel a little better. You still have more ambition than I do, but thanks for the great post!

  40. Great redesign/clean up. I must admit I my back patio is stuck in the "before" state. I was all gung ho in the Spring planting flowers, primping and "decorating" my porch and patio. It was soooo HOT this summer I could barely stand to be outside. Now that the cooler temps are here the dead potted flowers and mess is started bugging me. YOu have motivated me:)

  41. LOOKS AWESOME!!! We just cleaned off our back patio/porch too. Sorry...but I have you beat...mine was messier! Really!! I have you beat! ;)

  42. I think you just became my favorite blogger ever for those before pics... my yardwork is the very last thing on my to do list most of the time and my deck is in shambles! Turns out the people who I bought the house from just painted it and didn't treat or stain it! :( Guess I'll be doing some woodwork come spring!

  43. OMG ... I can't stop laughing. And not because your deck looked awful. I think even the before pictures are pretty spiffy ... I mean, even in its "crapified" state, your backyard is still gorgeous!!!!! I'm laughing because I simply can't imagine how you manage to get *so* much accomplished *so* quickly! You're totally motivating me to get going ... the holidays are around the corner, which means family coming to visit ... if I could get my problem areas under control early .... ;)))

  44. Beautiful project. Know you love it.

  45. I just LOVE your blog and all your wonderful ideas! The deck came out great as usual. =)

  46. Great post! Take heart - we've all been there. (Our hot tub cover began to sink in the middle. Now THAT was fun to get off and replace!) When you start reading, you'll find a lot of pros and cons on the merits and pitfalls of power-washing a deck, but if you use a light touch, don't get the nozzle too close to the wood, keep it moving, and get some serious deck cleaning (bleach) that you use according to directions, you can get a good result. (Better than you'll get from a hose-end sprayer.) I re-did ours this summer (and proudly blogged the results); it is holding up quite nicely - but I prepped it well, and then let it dry for 3 full days before I let anybody, even the pooch walk on it. I also cut the deck stain with sealer - about 1 part transparent stain to two parts clear sealer. That way, I can give it two coats and the grain of the wood still shows through.

  47. Great work, i just love your idea and the way you have completed it, its really appreciating.

  48. Our house needed quite a lot doing to it when we first moved in, and what with building work and new bathrooms and so on, there was a pile of junk (admittedly usually heavily decorated with children's bikes, scooters, dolls prams etc) on our front lawn pretty much constantly. You know, bricks, sand, rubble, joists, old bath...
    Anyway, we were at the village pub when a neighbour who we had been saying hello to as he walked past, introduced us to his wife. "Oh yes," she said. "You're the people with the messy front lawn." We now make sure Nancy would approve of our front garden...

  49. Great patio make-over! I know every once in awhile it's time for a redo. Thanks for sharing!

  50. I loves ya! You are great about keeping it real...I left a kids' plastic golf set lying on its side on the deck all summer, and I totally just quit watering our tomato plants by the middle of August. I don't like the heat either. Or the outdoors.

  51. This was a great post! It's nice to see some "normalness" in great blogs -- like the pictures of mess -- and how life really is. Love the Dave Ramsey reference. We are debt free (except the house) -- waiting for the cash is worth it --- but waiting to do home improvement is HARD!

    Love your blog!

  52. I heard the S&S theme song playing in myhead when I read your post title!!

  53. That IS sad about your window boxes! That was your first post I ever read.

    I am shocked to see you had an imperfect place in your home. Shocked, I tell you! :)

    Love the pergola area, even in the "before" shot.


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