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12 December 2011

How to Build a Pergola on an Existing Deck

In the last few posts we went through the process of refinishing your deck. I did mine and it came out beautifully. One of the things I mentioned was that the most detrimental thing to the deck is the UV rays that beat on it all year.

In order to combat the rays and provide a friendlier place to hang out you may want to think about building a shade. Luckily, I have trees that shade my deck but I have assisted on a few pergola builds and I assure you this is not a hard project to take on in a weekend.

When you first look at building a shade you want to take a look at your budget and size requirements, also see if there are any building codes in your area before beginning construction. You may need a permit.

The next thing you are going to want to do is get yourself a good set of plans. The pergolas I have helped build have all come from the same source and I recommend them as the most complete set of plans to show you how to build a pergola step by step.

You can download the plans here.

The last thing is to follow the plans exactly. Take your time. You want a good solid construction for safety and for durability. Here are a few good free resources on building pergolas:

Popular Mechanics - Pergola Build
How to Build a Wood Pergola - DIY Network
Family Handyman - Pergola

Don't forget, the most important part of the build is starting with good solid plans that you can have laid out in front of you. Don't follow free plans, they are usually thrown together by someone who is not a licensed contractor and you never know what you are going to get.

Get the best Pergola Plans Here

10 December 2011

How to Refinish a Deck - Part 3

The next step in refinishing the deck was to apply the waterproofer. Now Behr has a wide variety of water proofers. They have clear, wood-toned, semi-transparent, and solid color stains and waterproofers. I decided on the semi-transparent in mahogany tone.

From Behr's website: BEHR’s best semi-transparent product, this advanced 100% acrylic formula penetrates deep into wood to deliver complete protection from the elements for up to 6 years on decks and 8 years on fences and siding. The silicone-fortified formula delivers excellent protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Behr’s Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is available in 83 custom colors that add beauty while allowing the natural wood grain to show through.


1. I loaded the waterproofer into my pressurized sprayer for a quicker application. This is important as you want to be able to maintain a wet edge as you work so that the stain blends well.

2. I started on one side of the deck, spraying the waterproofer on and then backrolling it with a long paint roller in order to fully saturate the deck. It worked beautifully.

3. Moving from one side to the other I sprayed, then rolled keeping a wet edge as I moved along.

4. I let the first coat dry for 24 hours and then applied a second coat.

The whole process was very easy and it turned out beautifully. I can't wait to enjoy the deck with my friends this summer.

In the next post I am going to talk a little bit about adding a fancy element to the deck, a pergola. Not only is it beautiful, but it breaks up the UV exposure to the deck, allowing your hard work to last many more years.