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How to make your wooden deck water resistant

jenpen.studio - September 8, 2021 - 0 comments

10 years ago, I can’t believe it’s already 10 years, I started my journey (with my then husband) of building our own house. It’s something that was exciting but very stressful at the same time.
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With my design experience building up at the architectural firm, I designed our house. The house was “finished” (you know, a house is never finished) after two years and we were ready to move in. Because we did the whole construction ourselves with the help of family members and some friends, it took us a bit longer than the normal construction time for a house.

One of the aspects that we wanted to enjoy was the view. So I wanted a large wooden porch. The inspiration came after one trip to eco-lodge Berg en Dal. These were wooden cabins located high in the forest and with wooden slatted bridge to go from one house to the other. It was a great experience and we really loved the wooden deck with the view we got there.

It was a great way to incorporate that in the design of our new house. Would I have done it now the same way? I think not. The maintenance for wooden elements is a lot, especially with the sun that we have here on the island.

For example, instead of painting the deck, the better thing would have been to stain the wood. It will last longer than paint.

Another thing I didn’t like was the railing of the deck. It wasn’t done properly.

So, after 9 years, I finally decided that the wooden deck needed an upgrade and some tender, love and care.


This time I teamed up with Shanaar Ayubi of ShaWoodz. Basically everything that concerns wood, he will be able to create and fix.

He shared with me the idea of Shou Sugi Ban technique. I wasn’t familiar with that term, so here’s a little explanation.

Shou Sugi Ban is a Japanese technique to basically make your wood waterproof or fire resistant. You will burn the wood to create a crust kind of look, which you would have to brush off afterwards.

Because the wood is burned, it will be more difficult to get burned and  makes it more difficult for the wood to soak up water.

But before all that happened, there were some demo to be done.


First he demolished the railing, except the frame. That was going to be reused. The whole deck was made from green pitch pine wood and new planks from the same wood were used now for the railing.

Now I wanted to go for the horizontal look (also the house is now rented by renters with a small child, so this would be a so much better options. They stapled mesh again the railing when it had vertical lines for safety. This of course wasn’t all that appealing).

The railing was made secured, because it just wasn’t good anymore.

Now comes the toughest part: the whole deck needed to be sanded. All the old paint needed to take off first of all the wooden planks. You can imagine what the outcome of that was. Yep, dirty dust to clean up after.

After that, the deck was brushed clean so the burning process can begin.

The wood was burned with a torch and after every few planks; he’ll brush off the burned dust and then he’ll make the wood wet to clean it. It feels like he’s putting out fire.

When that whole process is done, you should let it sit for a day.

I wanted the railing to a bit more lighter the deck itself. So I opted not to stain the railing, but just use a clear seal.

For the floor I used a semi-solid stain from Sherwin Williams.


After the whole process, I can truly say that the deck looks very beautiful. It really feels like a new deck. The water really does stay above the wood. It doesn’t penetrate into it.

The deck is now upgraded and safe for the little one the walk around (still with supervision, cause we all know how quick kids can be).

It’s ready to get styled (but this time by the renters 😉 ).


For more information about this technique, please contact:




5999 671 8280

Photography by: Hubertienne Decaster, JenPen.Shots

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