Refinishing My Back Deck With Olympic Maximum Stain

As I mentioned in the house paint reveal post, I refinished my deck with Olympic Maximum Stain after the crew wrapped up painting and I’m here to share the process and the before and after! We made some safety improvements and some huge visual improvements and now the back deck is the perfect place to relax.

Let’s start with a before and after. Before, I was working with a red deck with a very well worn floor. The railings were crazy loose, not level and very not safe.

Refinishing a deck with Olympic Maximum Stain: before

After! The back deck looks so fresh and clean now.

Refinishing a deck with Olympic Maximum Stain

I don’t know how long ago this deck was painted red, but the paint was flaking off everywhere and a few boards had splintered enough that there were some holes.

How to refinish a worn down deck

First, I sanded the whole deck with my orbital sander, concentrating on any high spots or splintered boards. Then, I filled the holes with DAP plastic wood and let it dry over night then sanded those areas the next day.

How to patch a hole in a deck before refinishing the boards with new stain

Next, I spent a million hours scraping all of the loose paint off the boards with a putty knife and a 5-in-1 painters tool. I wanted to get as much of the old paint off as possible to give the new Olympic Maximum Stain a chance to adhere to the wood evenly. After it rained, more of the paint started peeling, so I spent several days scraping paint off the deck.

Scraping old paint off of a deck before adding new opaque stain

After I finished the paint scraping, my dad and I moved on to fixing the railings. The railings were one bump away from completely falling apart and I think they were attached with drywall screws. Even the posts were only attached with a few tiny screws and you could easily shake the railing.

Incorrect screws on a deck railing

We shoved the main posts until they were as close to level/plumb as possible and then screwed them in with these HeadLok screws. We used 6″ screws and 2 7/8″ screws depending on what the post was connecting to. One note on these screws, the 6″ screws were only threaded for a small amount at the bottom and I wish they were threaded further up the screw.

HeadLok screws

Then I took all of the pickets off and used a wood block and a level to reattach them with deck screws, keeping things evenly spaced between the posts.

Reattach deck railing pickets with proper screws

Remove all railing pickets to reposition them and space them evenly

You can see how the pickets shifted position here:

Level, evenly spaced pickets on a deck railing

Fixing the posts and pickets on the railing made a huge difference on this side. Here’s the before with the railing on a super slant.

Slanted deck railing with no support
Wonky deck railings before stabilizing them.

And the after. It took a lot of shoving, but the railing looks way better and is strong enough to not fall down! I bought a few new pickets from Lowes since several of the old ones broke or were too warped.

Straight, level deck railing
After adding a ton of bolts and repositioning the pickets.

Finally, it was time to pick a color! I started with Olympic Maximum Cape Code Gray on the left, but it was too light so I had the paint counter at Lowes add more tint to the can and now it is close to the Olympic Maximum Stonehenge color, shown on the right. The railings are Olympic Maximum base white.

Testing Cape Cod Gray by Olympic Maximum and a custom tinted color

I started by staining the railings and then moved on to the deck floor. I worked in towards the middle from both sides and used a 2-inch angle brush.

Refinishing a deck with Olympic Maximum Stain

The Olympic Maximum is an opaque stain, so it went on like paint. The red was too aggressive to be covered up in one coat, so it needed three coats. I used a gallon of each of the gray color and the white and have a tiny bit left over for touch ups.

Refinished deck with Olympic Maximum Stain over old paint

Here are a few before and afters. From the driveway side:

Olympic Maximum over old paint before

Olympic Maximum Stain over old paint on a deck

A little swipe action:

I had this IKEA Äppläro dining table and bench and these birds nest chairs from Amazon out here last year and they look so much better after refinishing the deck. It doesn’t even need the rug anymore since I’m not trying to hide the red floor.

Refinished deck dining area

Here was the deck last summer.

Old deck dining area

The best part of the deck is my new daybed! It fits a twin mattress and my mom sewed that awesome cover for it and all of the covers for the nine pillows.

Custom daybed on the refinished back deck

The only unfortunate thing about the bed is the furniture cover I bought to protect the cushions. I bought the Classic Accessories Ravenna Patio Deep Seat Sofa Cover in size Large.The inside coating of the cover completely melted and fused to the bed frame. I’m still waiting to hear back about a solution for this from their warranty department, but it is very unfortunate.

Classic Accessories Ravenna Patio Deep Seat Sofa Cover in size Large

Here’s how the deck is laid out from above. Yes, I hung my body out the sunroom window to get this shot.

Refinished back deck layout with a daybed and a dining table

I’m also attempting to grow herbs on the steps. I’m looking for a mint and a rosemary plant if anyone has any laying around!

Growing herbs on deck steps

At night, the string lights cast such a nice glow! I bought the clear bulbs on white wire to help them blend in with the railings during the day. I used the green wire along the fence.

Back deck with string lights at night

Back deck with string lights at night

If you need me, this is where I’ll be all summer!

Back deck daybed with custom mattress cover and pillows

This post is not sponsored by Olympic Maximum Stain, I was just impressed with it and thought I’d share my review. I’ll be sure to follow-up with a post on how it holds up over the next few months.

Have you used Olympic Maximum Stain on any outdoor projects? How is it holding up for you? Do you have any favorite outdoor spaces you are totally obsessed with this summer? Let me know in the comments!


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Refinishing a deck with Olympic Maximum Stain


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