Do It Yourself

Restore a Deck

Wood deck covering: An affordable alternative to replacement

Keeping a wood deck looking good takes a lot of work. The boards can still crack and splinter, making the deck look old and worn. The best way to restore your existing deck is by applying a deck paint restoration product.

Tools required for this Project

  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Safety glasses

You will also need special application rollers (one roller for every 15 Litres of restoration coating), a firm scrub brush, a roller extension pole, and a high-pressure hose. (High-pressure hoses can be rented if you do not own one.)

Materials required for this Project

  • Masking tape
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Paint stirring sticks (you will need these to clean the product from the gaps between boards)
  • Acrylic caulk
  • Deck restoration coating
  • Deck cleaner (We suggest using a manufacturer’s recommended product twice a year to clean your deck)

Protect the wood with special coatings made specifically for restoring your deck

Deck paint restoration coatings can last about 12 years without additional applications, providing a completely new textured surface and is thick enough to fill all cracks, knotholes, and splinters.

This project can be completed over a period of three days.  On day one you can get all the preparation work done then on the following weekend you can apply the restore paint product over a two-day period.

 Here’s how to buy the best deck paint product, prepare the surface and apply it.

What is a Deck Restoration Coating?

Deck restore paint coatings are made from a long-lasting tint’able acrylic base material with UV inhibitors and added solids of aluminium/sand. Some brands of wood deck covering form an impenetrable barrier while others allow the wood to breathe while repelling water at the same time. 

All brands require that surfaces be prepared correctly beforehand, so read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. For the best results, we recommend you apply two coats for the best performance.

Pick the wood deck covering 

Deck covering options

Build it Hermanus recommends Woodoc Water-Borne Deck.

Developed in South Africa using the most advanced International Technology and high in UV-absorbers to withstand the harsh African sun and extreme weather, it is the answer to keeping decks looking beautiful for longer

A water-borne exterior sealer, especially developed for application to all exterior wooden decks and -staircases, as well as other exterior wood.

There are many fantastic products on the market, Build it Hermanus’s friendly staff would be happy to advise you on alternative products, so you will find the best deck paint to suit your needs.

Now that you have chosen a brand you like; you need to choose the colour of your wood deck covering carefully.  Dark colours retain heat so if your deck gets direct sunlight it might be too hot to walk on with bare feet.  Deck restore coatings absorb and retain heat longer than plain wood. 

We recommend you buy the manufacturer’s deck washing product to ensure compatibility with the deck coating. 

Prepare the surface

Protect the house with plastic sheeting and masking tape 

You will want to avoid paint from splattering on posts, rails, and the sides of the house by wrapping the exposed areas with plastic sheeting and masking tape.  Spread poly sheeting under the deck to catch the paint dripping through the board gaps.

Reset any nails that are protruding and secure any loose boards with deck screws to start with.  Next using an 80-grit sandpaper, sand the deck to remove any old product and rough up the surface.

 Dilute the deck cleaning product according to manufacturer’s instructions, apply it, and let it soak in. Scrub the entire deck using a firm scrubbing brush making sure to remove all the grease. Now use the high-pressure hose to remove the ground-in dirt on and in between the boards.  

Good Job! 

Let the wood dry for about a week before applying the restoration product. It’s been a week; the weather is beautiful and it’s time to get back to work! Great, Let’s get on with it and apply the first coat

Roll on the deck restore coating

To get started, fill the holes and cracks with latex caulk and let it set. Go ahead, dip your roller in the pail, place it on the deck boards pressing down to get a good thick first coat and start rolling.

Work slowly and meticulously, coating several boards at a time, to ensure the proper coating thickness.  Great, you have completed your first coat, now let the first coat dry for about six hours or dry to the touch.The first coat is only your primer and its purpose is to make sure all the areas that have been restored are covered and sealed.  Once the second coat is applied you will have a very different look.

Now that your first coat has dried you are ready to apply the second coat using the same method.  

The second coat takes longer to dry so we recommend that you let your deck dry for at least two full days before using it.

Great Job!

Please send us a photo of your newly restored deck, we would love to see it, you can upload your images in the comments section!

Plan your next DIY project with Build it Hermanus and get the job done right, first time. Please follow us on social media to stay up to date with our latest sizzling specials and promotional offers! Or, log on to our online store and shop from the comfort of your home:

Build it Hermanus offers local delivery, supplying the greater Overberg area with building materials, do-it-yourself home improvement tools, and expert advice.

Build it Hermanus offers added value services in respect of hardware retailing; embracing all activity within the building materials industry, focusing specifically on the building of; urban, township, rural housing as well as all home improvements and do it yourself.

Do It Yourself

DIY Fire Pit


What is better than sitting around a crackling wood fire pit with your friends this winter? 

Don’t have one?  Not for long, we are going to teach you step by step how to build an in ground fire pit in your own backyard.

do it yourself fire pit

What you will need:


  1. Brick hammer
  2. Bucket
  3. Concave jointer
  4. Concrete float
  5. Cordless drill
  6. Level
  7. Margin trowel
  8. Mason’s trowel
  9. Safety glasses
  10. Spade
  11. Tuckpointing tool
  12. Wheelbarrow


  1. 120 face bricks
  2. 25 firebricks
  3. Can of spray-paint
  4. 92 cm (Length) 20cm (wide) cardboard concrete form
  5. 122 cm (Length) 20cm (wide) cardboard concrete form 
  6. Five x 40kg bags of Type N mortar mix 
  7. One 2 Litre bucket of refractory cement (sold at a brickyard)
  8. Ten x 40kg. bags of concrete mix 
  9. Two x 3-meter lengths of 3/8-in. rebar

Overview:  How to Build a Fire Pit 

Getting Started on Building your Fire Pit

Fire pits have become very popular of late and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to build one.  Most importantly the fire pit must be solid, safe to use and last decades, so let’s do a good job😉

This project will only take a few days and as you follow the step by step instructions you will see why.  The first step is pouring the footing and letting it set, then you will start mortaring the bricks into place.

Step 1

Before Digging, make sure that you do not damage any underground electrical wires or water pipes.

Make sure that the location is not too close to buildings and overhanging trees. When the wind picks up, you do not want to burn anything down!

Step 2

Mark Out the Fire Pit

Dig out a dedicated space in your yard for the fire pit base by following the dimensions below:

  • A 92cm – diameter in ground fire pit creates enough room for a good fire while keeping everyone close enough to chat and be social.
  • To make measuring the pit and pouring the concrete footing easy, we used two cardboard concrete form tubes (purchased from a concrete supply company).
  • Carefully bend and screw the two ends together to create a 92cm – diameter circle and use the other to bend and make a 122cm – diameter circle.
  • Set the larger form in position and spray paint around it. Dig a hole about 20cm deep and 8cm larger in diameter than the form.

mark out fire pit

Step 3

Level the Pit

  • Dig the soil out about 20cm deep for your fire pit base and check that the bottom of the hole is level.
  • Now compact the soil to remove any high spots.

level fire pit

Step 4

Stake the Forms to keep them in place while you pour the footing for your fire pit base.

  • Place the larger of the two concrete forms in the hole you have dug and place the smaller of the two concrete forms on the inside.
  • The concrete footing creates a stable base for the pit walls and will keep the sides from cracking as the ground moves over time.
  • Mix up Ten x 40kg bags of concrete mix according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • If the forms are not completely round, reposition the stakes slightly.

stake the forms fire pit

Step 5

Add the Rebar

  • Bend rebar into half-circles for this circle fire pit and tie them together with wire to make a ring.
  • Fill in between the forms halfway then press the ring into the concrete for strength and stability, making sure the rebar circle does not touch the sides of the forms.

add rebar to fire pit form

Step 6

Finish the Footing

  • Fill the forms to the top with the remaining concrete and tap the cardboard concrete mould tubes gently with a sledgehammer until the concrete mix is level and smooth.
  • Let the concrete set overnight then remove the forms.

finish fire pit footing

Step 7

Dry-Set the Firebrick Liner

  • Your normal clay brick can crack at high temperatures, so we are going to use firebricks to line the inside of the fire pit walls. (also called “refractory” brick as used in pizza ovens) – Firebrick is a dense brick that’s made to withstand high temperatures.  They are a bit more expensive but will last for many years.
  • You will need 25 firebricks for a 92cm diameter pit.
  • Pack the firebricks vertically around the mouth of the firepit, flush with the footing and mark the position behind every brick, with a pencil.
  • Firebricks are tougher to split than your normal building bricks. “Soldiering” the brick minimizes the splitting and lets you easily accommodate the curve of the pit.
  • You will need to split four firebricks in half, which you’ll place across from one another around the pit to create draw holes, to allow oxygen in for your fire.
  • Once you have split your firebricks, dry-set them in place on top of the footing.

dry set the firebrick

Step 8

Mortar the Firebrick

  • We are going to use a 2 Litres of refractory cement to mortar the firebricks, as it can withstand high heat.
  • You can buy refractory cement remixed in a bucket and has a thick consistency.
  • Work with four bricks at a time and trowel the cement on thin then position your bricks. A margin trowel makes it easier to scoop cement out of the bucket.
  • REMEMBER to leave four gaps in four opposite points around the ring to insert your half bricks. These gaps are the “draw holes” that are going to feed your fire with air.
  • Continue around the circle making sure that your levels are straight as you go.

mortar the firebrick

Step 9

Create Air Holes

  • The top of the half brick must be level with the tops of the firebricks so you will have to apply mortar and prop the half brick into place until the mortar has set. 
  • Use another brick to hold it up and once it has set pull the loose brick out.

create air holes in fire pit

Step 10

The Outside Walls can now be completed using Face Brick

  • We used face brick also known as building bricks to complete the exterior of the fire pit walls. 
  • You will need 80 face bricks for an outer layer packed horizontally.
  • The face bricks can easily be split in half with a brick hammer.  Half bricks work better to accommodate the curve of the pit walls.
  • Mix your Five x 40kg bags of Type N mortar mix as per manufacturer’s instructions then you are going to lay three courses of face brick and mortar.
  • Face bricks are smaller than firebrick so keep in mind that the total height of three stacked face bricks will determine the width of your mortar beds between courses.
  • It’s always better to dry-set the face bricks by marking on the fire bricks to be sure that the third course of face brick will be level with the top of the firebrick.

Step 11

How to Split 80 Face Bricks in Half

  • Firstly, put your gloves on, you are going to need your hands “in working order” to finish your fire pit😊
  • Hold the brick in the palm of your hand, now give it a solid tap in the centre on the outer edge.
  • Tap, split, repeat.

split brick

Step 12

Set the Face Brick

  • Lay a 5cm thick bed of mortar right on top of the footing, to keep your mortar joints a reasonable width between courses.
  • Take a 15-minute break to let the mortar set, then smooth off the top.

set face brick fire pit

Step 13

Work in Sections

  • Working in sections applying fresh mortar on each section before securing the face brick into place.
  • Check the level of each section, tap down the bricks as necessary, making sure the face bricks are aligned with the outer footing.
  • Staggering the joints between sections increases the overall strength of the pit wall.

lay fire pit brick

Step 14

Smooth/Strike the Joints

  • Once you have finished each section of face brick, use a jointer to smooth the joints before the mortar dries too much.
  • If you press your finger into the mortar and an indentation remains, the mortar is ready for smoothing.  This will give the outer wall a polished look.
  • REMEMBER to leave the draft holes open as you mortar the face bricks into place!

strike mortar joints fire pit

Step 15

Finish Off the Top Lip

  • Firstly, Mortar the top of the brick caps.
  • Finish the pit with a matching row of regular face brick placed horizontally on their sides.
  • You will need about 40 face bricks for this cap.
  • Mortar each brick on the outside edge and press it into place.
  • For a more sophisticated look, you can use natural stone, to change the look and feel😉

mortar the fire pit brick caps

Step 16

Fill Gaps

  • Check your joints and add a small amount of mortar to fill any gaps.
  • Strike the joints with a concave jointer for a smooth look once all the bricks have been mortared into place, checking the level as you go.

fill gaps in fire pit brickF

Step 17

Finished DIY Fire Pit

  • You will want to wait about a week for the cement to cure properly before making a fire in your new pit.
  • Only thing left to do now, invite all your friends over, for the fire pit lighting ceremony next weekend.
  • Enjoy and please send us pictures of your masterpiece, we would love to see them!

do it yourself fire pit