Restore 10X on that Old Deck

I inherited a very old deck with this house.

We removed the rails and all the boards which were unsafe to support weight the weekend before I moved in.  I was determined to save the majority of the deck and began to look for ways to extend its life.

After much research and talking to contractors I decided to use Rustoleum’s Restore 10X which is specifically marketed to cover and protect old decks and concrete. I read both glowing reviews and some really horrible reviews on this product (the negative reviews said the paint peeled off).

My son’s go-to handyman told me a friend used Restore on his deck and it held up beautifully.  I then learned one man near me loved this product so much he patented a special nozzle to apply Restore using a paint sprayer. I’ve had good luck with many products by Rustoleum over the years so decided to take a leap of faith and go with it.

I should mention at this point that Behr also sells a product for painting old worn decks but the reviews are so bad and when I asked around everyone (from sales people at the home improvement stores to handymen) told me not to use it in my climate.

Before I go on I should tell you that of the many products I’ve used by Rusoleum I have been very happy with them. I’ve used their spray paint to make over an antique iron bed, paint door knobs etc. I’ve used their chalkboard paint for years with fantastic results and even used their Cabinet Transformation kit to make over my son’s first kitchen, which I liked so much I borrowed the leftover material to update my bathroom cabinets in this house.

That said, I HATE RESTORE!

My deck is 15 ft by 17 ft plus a set of stairs and two ramps. The deck alone therefore measures 255 sq ft.  The Restore 10X only covers 25 square feet per gallon.  Hedging my bets by planning for the worst case scenario of peeling paint I decided to to only use the Restore paint on the deck then color match a deck and floor paint to do the stairs and ramps. This way should the paint peel I would have to give up and replace the old boards on the deck (how would you sand old wood that has gouges in it?) but the stairs and ramps, which are new or at least in good condition would be fine. And with the deck alone using 10 gallons by switching to paint or stain I only needed one gallon for those, saving a lot of money.

I was told, and can say it’s true, that the color chips don’t properly represent what the paint will look like on your finished product. I picked a gray which turned out blue on the deck, not the look I was going for. If you want to use Restore and color match another paint wait and make your own color sample to take to the store.

Now the process

I followed the directions to a T.  I pressure washed the entire surface, let it dry.  This step is a bit confusing according to Rustoleum’s directions. Some say to clean with a pressure washer, other places the directions say not to pressure wash. I chose to pressure wash because the build up over time, and mildew in spots, was too much to believe paint would adhere to it.  The pressure washer damaged further some of the wood boards leaving me with small splinters of wood that later had to be cleaned off.

I had amazing pictures of before and after of the pressure washing but a virus wiped my computer clean.

Even with sweeping, I probably should have vacuumed the deck as well because I still found splinters of wood as I applied the wood primer.

The Primer.

After power washing I left the deck to dry for two full days. I did this because as old as the wood is I wanted to ensure the wood was dry all the way through. Had the wood been damp the primer and paint would not have adhered.

In order for Restore to work the company developed a special primer that must be used first or the paint supposedly won’t adhere to your wood.  I considered purchasing only one can of primer since you only need one coat but opted to purchase a second just to be safe figuring I could take it back if I didn’t use it.  Well, just to do the deck I used 1 and 3/4 cans of primer.

The primer is applied easily with a basic roller. I then allowed the primer to dry overnight.

Applying Restore 10X

Rustoleum sells a special paint roller cover for application of Restore 10X.  The store was good about making sure I had the proper roller covers and told me Rustoleum would not guarantee the product if I didn’t use them.

The cover is plastic with small holes, similar to mesh bags you find produce in.

I heard you need to really push the product onto the deck boards but I had no idea just how hard it would be to apply.  I couldn’t lift my arms the next morning and everything from my back to my neck screamed in pain for a few days. The product wants to adhere to the paint pan and the roller cover, not the wood.

I have one section I had to redo because I  had assumed that because I just had the paint mixed I didn’t need to stir it. Even though the Restore 10X looked thicker than regular paint it had settled.

You cannot use paint brushes. Good luck getting around railing posts, getting in those larger cracks in the wood or coating the sides of your deck boards. (I should say at this time the directions state if you  have cracks larger than 1/4 inch you need to buy their crack filler and apply that before priming. I didn’t realize this until I had already primed the deck.

As you attempt to get the product on your roller you end up pushing in into the paint tray more than anything else. Just a really hard product to use in all ways. The splatter from the paint is the worst I’ve ever encountered in all my years of painting, I ruined both a pair of shoes and pair of pants.

I had about a cup of paint left and attempted to pounce the paint into the cracks and along the exposed side edges of the boards. [It held up pretty well in those spots.]

If the product holds up and protects the deck from further rotting it will be a job well worth it but the cost and amount of product used seems a bit crazy when added up.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs from the home improvement store near me:

  • Wood primer $6.47 each. I would have needed several of these if I were to fill every crack 1/4 deep or more
  • Restore Deck Start Wood Primer $34.97 per can
  • Restore 10X 24.97 each
  • Restore 10x Roller covers: $4.97

My total was $329.58. Plus I still need to purchase deck and floor paint ($22) to paint the steps and ramps.

From an environmental perspective this was a major fail on my part. I was so insistent I wanted to save the wood I didn’t think about the footprint of this product (once dry I realized this is mostly a plastic coating) or its cost.  My costs would have been less than this if I’d simply removed the rotten boards and replaced them.

Would I recommend Restore 10X?

The big question, was all the work, and pain, worth it? In other words, did it hold up and protect the deck?

The answer is yes and no.  Areas where I couldn’t get the paint to adhere I coated with a solid color stain. The stain held up fantastic but the Restore only held up in some areas. I applied the Restore In September 2016, here are some close ups of the deck today.

Touching the exposed wood I found that not only the Restore peeled off but so too did the primer.


If I want to do this properly, the solution would be to sand off all the product and start over.  Being that my wood is in bad shape sanding isn’t really an option.

I tried to get a closer image for you in this last one to show you the “lumpiness” of the Restore 10X coating.  Another issue I have with it is that it is impossible to clean. Taking a broom to the deck is an exercise in futility.

So would I recommend this product to you.

NO! Don’t waste your time. If you can’t afford to replace your existing deck or porch, or aren’t ready to replace it, patch the cracks and holes, use a good porch and floor paint or a stain and good sealer to extend the life of your deck or porch but don’t bother with Restore 10X.  For the money, I could have removed every deck board and replaced them and still had some cash left over, and I wouldn’t have been as sore as I was applying this product.



  1. Wow…
    I agree, a FAIL…
    too pricey and not durable and certainly not easy to use. Possibly, a “professional” might have better result, but of course the cost would much go up, and most “professionals” I’ve seen are not that particular about prep, so I doubt they too would have had better results.

    have you considered contacting the company to let them know of the fail? At least they should refund your costs, at most, maybe they would redo your deck to prove it could be done?


    • I forgot to mention in the post that the product calls for two coats of the paint and needing 10 gallons just for the first coat and how thick that was I didn’t put a second coat on. I think the whole thing would have been worse if I had.

      No, I considered contacting the company but after doing research found the only thing they will do is pay for more of their product and I don’t intend to use it again. Plus, the simple fact I only used one coat probably voids any guarantee they have. 😦


      • I agree, just as well you only used one coat…
        too bad about it all…

        I don’t think anything you did had anything to do with the fail (only one coat etc)…I think it is a bad product…


        • I agree. Once I completed the first coat and saw how thick it was I was convinced that a second coat would make it so thick that shoveling, for instance, would make it more susceptible to being damaged.


  2. oh..many yrs ago we used the Behr product on deck fencing (the deck was cement), which was very unpainted when we purchased. Spent HUGE number of prep hours/day, and applied as directed. Product was STRONGLY recommended, and very costly at time.

    HUGE fail.


    • So sorry to hear you too put the time and expense into these products only to have them fail. Did you remove the rest of it and was it hard to do on the cement?


      • no, we didn’t do the cement, that was left as plain ….

        it was a fencing around the cement patio..

        as I say, didn’t last long…less than a yr, and by then,
        we sold the house because we were moving…

        saw later the purchasers put up a manufactured fence…glass panels with metal sort of outline around the glass..

        Long time ago, it was, but I still recall it was EXPENSIVE


        • Glad it didn’t affect the sale of your home. Have to say while I love the look of wood if I had a more modern house I would love the glass panels the new owners put up at your old house.


  3. I too am trying to salvage an old deck. I had someone help me replace some of the boards as you have done. But, I have decorative spindles all around the deck that I can’t figure out how to clean with my sore hands. They would be hard to power wash the mildew off too because they have all this decorative etching. I used deck cleaner on the deck itself but the difference in the old and new wood is obvious. I wish now I had started over from scratch like I was advised, but had this urge to salvage and make do. Thank you for explaining so clearly the steps you took with Restore. My body won’t let me go that route either so I may try a stain if I can figure out how to clean up those spindles.


    • Have you considered a wire brush to clean your spindles? I’ve had good luck using them, even picking up ones meant to be used on outdoor grills. The urge to save what we have is deeply ingrained and I still have that as my first thought even after the mess with the deck. Good luck with your deck and spindles.


  4. I know all about repairing decks, Lois. In our other house, we had two that we had to repair. We ended up just ripping the old boards out and using brand new. It was less expensive than trying to repair and seal. I did the math on them and that’s what we ended up with. For the railings, we used metal or rather and wood. All we had to do was treat the wood with an oil and we were done. Easy and more cost effective. I would never try to restore a deck, it’s just such hard work and you end up having to replace the boards a few years later anyway. At least that was the hard lesson we learned. I also like the look of bare wood better than painted or treated.


  5. Well……. with that first photo…I was scared the deck would fall just by looking at it….I give you Big Kudos for doing the job on ur own, but it is hard know how much you will need to spend until you are already working on it running to the hardware shop for one more can. I would at this point start putting coins away to build a new deck and find some old-timer carpenter to put it in.


    • You weren’t far off. The deck had never been attached to the house and the framing and joists underneath stopped a few feet from the edge of the deck surface. It was crazy how they built this thing.

      We attached the deck to the house, beefed up the framing underneath and then replaced the necessary boards then I went to work putting up rails that look much better and are sturdy.

      I’m definitely planning on replacing the entire deck in a couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oy Vay! Well, thanks for the review, though honestly I was hoping you’d found a miracle product. I need to do some serious work on my deck this summer. There are some rotting pieces that need to be replaced, probably means replacing the stairs. Ug. And I have to decide if I’m gonna replace the rails entirely or just resign myself to painting them every year.

    But in terms of the decking itself, I highly, HIGHLY recommend a product called Trex. It’s a composite product, and it does contain plastic, BUT it’s made entirely from recycled plastic bags and sawdust – which they source from waste products. So IMHO it’s a big environmental win. I had it installed nearly 10 years ago, and it still looks beautiful with absolutely NO maintenance. It’s not entirely without issues… since it’s a composite product it doesn’t have the same structural strength as wood, so you can only use it for the decking itself, not support pieces. Plus, since it will bend slightly, it requires smaller joist spacing than wood, so I had to have some extra joists installed – which wasn’t a bad thing since some of the originals were not in the greatest shape. And it ain’t cheap either. But, when you add up all the money (and time) you’ll save by never having to finish or paint it, I think it was well worth the investment.

    There are other composite products out there, and I’m sure some are just as good if not better than Trex, but my experience with this product is a solid two thumbs up. Seriously, I’m even wondering if they make siding!


    • So sorry to disappoint you but yet Restore is a huge fail for me. I don’t know if it would work in your climate as I’ve heard the product will peel off in cold and exposure to extreme heat.

      I’ve looked at Trex for the front porch and may still do that but that means not only replacing the deck boards but reconfiguring the joists. I’ve heard Trex gets very hot on the feet and we go barefoot all the time. Have you found this to be true? The porch gets full southern exposure so that’s an issue for me.

      For the deck Trex would be a major expense because the supports weren’t built to code to begin with so I’d have to tear the entire thing down and rebuilt. If I use wood to replace the wood I can get by with the framing the way it is.


      • Hmmm… well, I didn’t actually have to tear anything down to add the extra joists. We just pulled up the old decking boards and then once they were off it was easy to hang an extra joist in the spot between each of the existing ones. It’s probably overkill actually, there was 2 feet between the original joists, and now there’s one foot – I think the specs say Trex requires a 16 inch span. I did add an extra cross-support just in case the extra weight of the Trex was an issue – but my deck is easily accessible from below, so that wasn’t a big project.

        Anyhow, I’ve never noticed the Trex being too hot, but I do have a simple homemade awning (it cost under $50) that covers the deck in the summer because it faces west, and the afternoon sun is brutal here – so the awning might mitigate that issue somewhat. I think choosing a light color also helps. Actually, it’s much nicer to go barefoot on the deck now than it was before, because there are no splinters!

        All that being said, the stuff was not cheap. But since the old deck had to be refinished every single year, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!


        • I fear the porch will need rebuilt from scratch regardless of what I use for the deck boards. The entire thing is supported by stacked cement blocks! As for the deck on the other side, the entire frame is a mess. The joists don’t go all the way to the ends of the deck surface and the posts that support the entire thing leave a 5 -7 foot overhang of the entire thing. It’s like a big floating floor. I’ve never seen anything like it.

          The Trex not being too hot is good news because that’s been my one big hold out in considering it.


  7. you know Lois, I am thinking you need to think outside the box, here…grin.

    You have done a huge amount of renos…inside and out

    just think what paint/glue/cement/stucco has been the most durable, and try that

    I am thinking you could paint, and
    also, maybe slop some glue on, and have the kids stick in rocks / shells etc they collect up. Put a coat of something clear on top, etc..??? what do you think?


    • That’s pretty much what I am thinking too. I still have the solid stain I used on the ramps and stairs and might use that to coat over the Restore. I touched a few spots with the stain around the posts for the railings and see that it held up even over the Restore. I would love to stencil a lovely pattern on it as well. I love the look of outdoor rugs but with no roof over the deck and my chair constantly messing up rugs a stenciled “rug” would be lovely. I’m not done trying to keep this deck for a while longer. 🙂


      • a stenciled rug sound perfect. I have long loved the look of them in photos…

        I am betting if you give it a light sanding, and then put on whatever you come across which has worked well in past, it will likely hold up much better. don’t forget, I you luck into some partial cans of what you look for, you can always dump two or more together to make a new colour and have enough for the job (hoping the dump doesn’t result in something gross , grin)


        • We’ll see if I get that ambitious this summer or not.

          My grandfather taught me to mix paint. He was thrifty and would save all leftover paint from any project to mix and use to paint the basement when needed. He figured it didn’t matter what it looked like as no one but us saw the basement.


          • grin…Well, the only problem with mixing bunches, is sometimes the color is odd…
            but, have seen folks dump in (to the paint) crushed up this or that to give it unique look.


          • Yes, some times the color is pretty bad but if you have a basement used only for storage and laundry it doesn’t make much difference what the color is as long as no one else is going to be seeing it.


  8. Some how I missed when you changed the name of your blog and haven’t visited in a while. I haven’t been posting as much and you too had a busy spell, so I thought you were just busy with your house and grandkids. Glad that you’v actually been here.

    I had much interest in this discussion as we will need to do some work on the deck in our new house. For now it’s usable, but will need attention soon. I have thought about Trex, but worried about the heat also. We have brutal afternoon sun, so we are also thinking about some kind of cover.


    • Sorry about that. I was assured changing the name would not affect subscribers, mostly it seems to have affected those who blog on blogger. Not sure why.

      I was almost ready to chuck blogging, a few times really. I had no direction and as a result had very little inspiration to write. Then after a few days of calm around here I found the direction I’d been lacking since I was hacked. hence, the new title.

      Anyway, glad to see you again. Hope you found some answers to help you decide how to address your deck from this.


  9. Well done Lois for even beginning to tackle this problem. I guess its trial and error with the state of each piece of wood.. Being in the UK I am not familiar with this product.. Ours in Ronseal for fences and decking.. Which is probably a very similar product.. You can buy in various shades and for various types of strength for weather protection..

    Your post made me look again at our garden fence.. Its been three years since we protected it.. And it will need another coat in the autumn ..
    Love and Hugs. and enjoyed your photos
    Sue 🙂


  10. That’s what my son recommended when I was ready to start working on my decks here. I went to my local HD and the guys did not recommend it. So I got something else that worked better in most areas. But bad wood or not properly cleaned and fully dry wood will not hold the sealer no matter what you use. I have some that needs re-staining after a good sanding. Pressure washer is out and ready to clean off mold from steps, etc. My sister missed many areas when she was helping me. Nothing will stick if you don’t get it off. 🙂 Sorry you went to all that work only to have to do it again. Just hate that.


    • I’m glad you didn’t try it, hard as heck to apply and not worth the expense or the aches afterwards. It’s nice your sister tried helping even if she doesn’t have your eye for detail.

      Liked by 1 person

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