Blending Old Into New Wood, Deck & Stairs

Adele Kurtz
by Adele Kurtz
4 Materials
Our redwood deck suffered many Colorado winters with aging dignity. 25 years of Post season repairs created a patchwork of color. Character, I believe embedded in its knots & spots & variations. Contractors recommended a deck rebuild ($4000) -- which we thought better spent on re-staining the whole house. Painters recommended opaque solid stain -- which we thought looked too plastic against natural cedar house. So my husband & I took over the muscle work in the beginning & the detailing at the end to get what we wanted at a price we could afford.
BEFORE: A patchwork of old & new
We tried one plank of wood in painter's recommended opaque solid stain and hated it. Looked like plastic makeup, just wrong beside our naturally aging cedar home. So we decided to use a semi-opaque reddish tone on vertical deck surfaces for punch & contrast, and a start with a transparent oil base over decks.
The day after decks had a coat of transparent oil stain. I dipped my brush in oil stain AND black tint paint. My technique is to dip 3" brush full dip into oil stain, rub excess off on side of can, then dip one side only into black tint. I take long strokes and turn the brush as I go so coverage varies. I use a rag to blend or remove as I work one plank to the next.
The goal is to blend and vary in a natural way. Work quickly and try NOT to be overly critical!
The next day it WILL look natural and blended. And since you used a feathered technique -- you can always retouch later: the next day, next month or next season...
ALMOST finished!
Same technique on front stairs.
These 25-years worn-out stairs were also scheduled for tear-down. No More! Black-tinted oil stain, contrasted with reddish vertical sides and new solar copper caps brings dignity that blends nicely with our wooded landscaping.
Suggested materials:
  • Transparent Oil Deck Stain   (local paint dealer)
  • Solid Black tinting base   (local paint dealer)
  • Solar copper post caps   (Home Depot)
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Fho3960399 Fho3960399 on Sep 29, 2016
    Do you think black paint would work? I just have doubts that I could get the black tint. I love the look.
  • Cynthia Bettner Miller Cynthia Bettner Miller on Sep 29, 2016
    Would you think this approach would work on Douglas Fir treated wood deck?
  • Beth Beth on Sep 30, 2016
    Love the deck! Can I ask what you used for the railing? I have a similar deck on our house in the mountains and the rail needs replacing. I love the look of yours is that cable or rebar maybe?
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