How to Tackle a Two Story Deck Repaint

calander Jul 30 , 2021 user-icon Nash Painting

There’s a lot to love about multi-tiered decks: The upper level provides shade to the lower deck while also serving as a large balcony, and having two distinct levels allows countless design opportunities. Over time, however, the deck stain or paint donning your deck will fade or peel away, leaving this feature vulnerable to the elements. It’s crucial to apply new coatings before this deterioration can take hold. Painting or staining a standard deck can be challenging enough -- if you’re dealing with a two-story deck, you’ve got double the trouble. More surface area translates to more time and effort needed. On top of that, gravity can be a major burden as you attempt to coat the upper layer without messing up the deck below. With so much potential for error, the whole project might seem impossible. However, the proper approach can make the seemingly impossible completely doable. With that in mind, here’s how to tackle a two-story deck painting project.

How to Paint a Two Story Deck

Pressure Washing Is Your Friend

Double-decker decks have their differences from their single-level counterparts, but the preparation that goes into coating both types of deck remains the same. A high-quality pressure washer is an invaluable tool for removing any dirt, debris, or grime from both your lower and upper decks. In fact, pressure washing is even more useful for multi-leveled decks considering that certain portions of the upper level may be otherwise out of reach. As always, you must be careful when using a pressure washer to clean your deck, or else you may end up damaging your deck’s surfaces, home siding, windows, and other features. Pressure washing isn’t the only form of surface prep you’ll want to perform, of course. You’ll also want to scrape away any previous stain or paint that’s actively peeling away from the surface and then sand it all down. Keep in mind that this is a lot of work for a traditional deck and twice as much work for a two-story deck -- still, it’s necessary if you want the most durable paint job.

Plan with Weather in Mind

Weather is always a key factor to consider for any outdoor renovation, and a two-story deck paint project is no exception. Because there’s so much surface area to cover, this particular project can span several days. As such, even a single day of bad weather can throw a wrench in the middle of your project. While there’s no way to control the temperature, whether it rains, how windy it gets, etc., you can at least look ahead at the forecast and get a sense of what’s to come. Ideally, you want to get this project done during a string of days that offer moderate conditions: temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (with little variation overnight), no precipitation, low winds, some cloud cover (too much sunlight can interfere with painting), and relatively low humidity levels between 40-70%. Depending on where you live, finding a few days in a row with such perfect conditions may be rare, but it’s worth waiting for such an event if possible.

Work Your Way Down the Deck

Working with a deck that has two stories creates unique challenges. Namely, whatever you do to the upper deck may affect the lower deck, thanks to gravity. Water from pressure washing will drip down, flakes from old wood deck paint and other debris may land on your lower deck, and fresh coatings may also drip from your upper deck to the lower level if too much is applied at once. Even if you take various precautions, some of this “spillage” is inevitable. The most sensible course of action when painting your two-story deck, then, is to begin with the upper level and work your way down. This way, you don’t have to worry about falling material ruining your freshly painted lower deck -- instead, you can clean up whatever mess might be there before tackling the lower portion.

Allow the Upper Deck to Dry Before Tackling the Bottom

It helps to treat each level of your two-story deck as its own project. Sure, you’ll be tackling both levels back-to-back, but you don’t want to get started on the bottom level until the top level has been completely painted and allowed to fully dry -- this includes the “ceiling” of your lower deck (which is also the lower part of your upper deck’s floor). After all, you don’t want paint to drip on your head while you coat the bottom half of your deck. If you’re wondering, “how long does deck paint take to dry?” the answer varies depending on the type of paint you use, the climate, etc. Generally speaking, though, deck paint is fully dried within 3-4 hours. In other words, you won’t have to wait long to paint the remaining half of your deck after completing the other. Use this time to take a well-deserved break and get your materials in order.

Mind the Stairs

Many two-story decks are connected with at least one set of exterior stairs. These stairs require just as much protection as any other part of your deck. That said, painting your deck’s stairs can be tricky and also hazardous if you’re not careful. It’s best to work your way from the top of the deck stairs to the bottom for superior leverage. You must ensure that you’re on solid footing as you go, however. If possible, have someone “spot” you from behind in case you slip and fall backward.

When in Doubt, Hire Deck Staining Services

A two-story deck painting project is no small task. Even if you love tackling DIY projects, we at Nash Painting recommend leaving this one to the professionals. Our deck coating experts have restored decks of all shapes and sizes. We offer professional deck painting and staining services to keep your deck beautiful, protect against surface damage, and maximize the value and longevity of your deck. Nash Painting has nearly two decades’ experience staining and painting decks of high-end homes and businesses in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, and throughout Middle Tennessee.

To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!