Deck Refinishing 3
Originally uploaded by Jeff Carlson

When Kim and I first looked at buying our house, the home inspector pointed out that the deck was in pretty good shape but should be refinished sometime within a year. That was almost four years ago.

Each summer, I’ve vowed to take care of it, and each summer I’ve found myself in the middle of multiple work deadlines. By the time I get a chance to raise my head up, the calendar is pushing toward September and October, which are too rainy generally to be able to do the job. Meanwhile, the wood deck turned gray (or mossy green in places) and festooned with what appear to be barnacles.

Right now the weather is great, and although I’ve got multiple deadlines again, I don’t see a letup until… September or October. So, I’ve been pressure-washing the deck all weekend.

Deck Refinishing 1
Originally uploaded by Jeff Carlson

I’ve never pressure-washed anything that I recall, and I was dubious about whether it would do any good. But now that I’ve spent good chunks of the last three days aiming 1300 psi’s of water at what seems like a huge expanse of wood, I’m converted. I want to pressure wash everything, just to see the grime seemingly vaporize at the end of my tight little white fan of H2O.

Getting out and working on the deck has also been good for my psyche. I spend far too much time in front of a computer, true, but I’ve also learned that I don’t have much aptitude when it comes to home repairs and the like. It doesn’t come naturally, and I find that I stick to things that do come naturally (which makes it hard to challenge myself, because it’s so much easier to stick to the same groove). Although I’m not building a house, raising a barn, or constructing furniture, I’m still tangentially working with wood, doing stuff with my hands besides typing. And in a small way I feel connected to that idea of being “a man,” of self-reliance and being naturally adept at handling tools. That’s probably an over-generalized stereotype, but I felt it nonetheless.

Deck Refinishing 4
Originally uploaded by Jeff Carlson

As I suspected, refinishing the deck is taking a long time. It’s a raised deck, so I was underneath it this evening blasting moss off the underside. I’ll give it tomorrow and probably most of Wednesday to dry in the sun, then start applying the finish. When I’m not working on my other projects, of course.

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