Rustoleum Deck Restore Project and Review

*Update* The original post is from 2013 when we completed this project. Since then many people (too many people for me to ignore posting this update) have had negative experiences so I urge you to read some reviews and make an educated decision for yourself.

We did it! We successfully restored our badly weathered excuse of a deck. If you're just stopping by to get the cliff notes version of this blog post, I present you with the highlights....

But if you're looking for details and helpful hints, keep reading!

First things first. Here is our sun-worshiping deck. Looks a liiiittle weathered no? With that we were faced with a few options:
1. Leave it (um, no thanks)
2. Knock it down and start over ($$$, sorry we didn't win the lottery this summer)
3. Replace the bad boards and repaint (including scraping old paint)
4. Replace the badly damaged boards and paint with Rustoleum Deck Restore (we have a winner).

Here you can see what we were working with:

And without further ado.....

I'd say that's a significant improvement!

The bottom line was this, our deck needed to be replaced or repainted. Traditional paint wasn't going to address the splintering boards and was going to require a fair amount of labor intensive scraping. Last summer we came across Rustoleum Deck Restore during one of our many trips to Home Depot and/or Lowe's and it piqued our interest. As soon as we knew we needed to do something to address the deck we seriously considered it.

And now for the details:

Material list
  1. One 4-gallon bucket of Restore in Cape Cod Gray - $78
  2. One 2-gallon kit of Restore in Cape Cod Gray  - $39
  3. One Restore 9 in Roller - $4.97
  4. Restore Deck Cleaner - $11.99

So how was the experience? Here's a recap.

Step 1: Prep and Clean
Wash the deck with Restore Deck Cleaner -

This part was pretty easy and like Matt said, it doesn't need to be sparkling clean. Use a de-greaser (I'm sure you can find one cheaper than the Restore product) liquid cleaner and spray on using a large garden sprayer (we used the same one we use to kill weeds, just cleaned and rinsed well). Once you spray the liquid on, let sit for about 5 minutes. Then you can either spray off or give it a little scrub with a brush for tricky stains. For anything that's really gross, you can pour the cleaner directly onto the stain, let set and then scrub and spray off.
Let dry completely. We did this step on a different day and then brushed off when we were ready to paint.

Step 2: Collect your materials - It's painting day and here's what you'll need:

  1. Restore Paint and Paint Stick Stirring Tool
  2. Restore Textured Paint Roller & Tray
  3. Large Paintbrush
  4. Gallon Jug of Water
  5. Painter's Tape
  6. Painting Shoes (see why below)

Step 3: Apply first coat of Restore
You've stirred your bucket of paint and you're ready to roll! If you pour the paint directly into the tray and go in for your first roll you'll notice right away that this isn't going to be as easy as it looks right? No fear.. consult my notes below and you'll be rolling smoothly in no time.
A Note About Texture:
My initial reaction to the paint was this: Mmm kind of looks like a Wendy's Frosty. After an hour of painting, I was still craving a Frosty, badly. The paint is thick with sand added. The sand is the key to adding enough thickness to cover and fill all of those nasty cracks you're trying to cover.

Just like our adventures in mortar [see here], you'll learn quickly how to achieve the correct consistency if you're not afraid to add some water. Now, the instruction say not to add water, but I'm not being paid by Rustoleum here so add some water. 
Another helpful hint... add the water to the paint tray, not the actual bucket of paint. We kept a gallon jug of water handy to gradually add our water.

We worked our way across the deck at the rate of about 2-3 boards per pass. 

Step 4: Apply second coat of Restore
You've let your first coat dry and now we're on to the second coat (aka where the magic happens). This coat is a bit more technical and I was glad to have some help. With the first coat, I was able to paint the entire deck by myself on a Friday afternoon. For coat #2 Matt rolled while I was in charge of back-brushing to smooth out the surface.
A Note About Back-brushing:
If your goal is to achieve a more foot-friendly surface you'll definitely want to back-brush each plank. Make sure you apply long strokes and try to reduce the brush marks as best you can. This paint is not so forgiving in this area. You'll probably see the brush marks on our deck but in the end, still worth using this technique because the deck isn't so rough that I wouldn't walk on it barefoot, like some review I've read.

Once your second coat is applied sit back and wait a few days before moving your furniture back on to the deck.

I will save the saga of our railings for another post, but keep an eye out because we did briefly use the Deck Restore Acrylic paint for railings if you are interested! 

As always, please don't hesitate to ask any questions. I'm happy to discuss this further! :)

Like this post? Please share with your friends! 

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  1. Thanks for the water tip!!!

  2. I applied Rust-Oleum Restore to my deck mid August 2013.
    We followed the manufacture's instructions religiously. We also watched their video for product application. We used Rust-Oleum deck cleaner for preparation and their special roller for application.
    Fast forward to March 2014 and this stuff is peeling and cracking everywhere.
    The failure mode is either peeling up in large sheets or it crumbles when you step on it.
    The major problem is that in sections of the deck where it neither peels nor crumbles, its removal is all but impossible without destroying the wood decking.
    The only thing I can do now is pull up the fir decking and either replace it (very expensive) or turn the decking over, put it back down and use a conventional stain (labor intensive).
    Needless to say, "I am not happy".
    Please do not simply believe what I say. Verify this for yourself.
    Go to:
    Home Depot Customer Reviews:

    Amazon Customer Reviews:

    Most Importantly: Rust-Oleum’s Facebook Page

    See the hundreds of Horror stories

    1. Oh no sorry to hear this! I would have updated the post if I had similar results. The truth is, we sold our house so I have no idea how it's holding up. I really hope that this is not the story for the new homeowners. Has Rustoleum responded to your concerns at all? I'm curious what their take is from a customer service perspective.

  3. The difference in the before and after pictures is remarkable! Good job renovating the deck and that too on a budget. Will be taking notes for some renovating projects of my own.


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