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Howdy all. First post so. y'know take it easy on the newbie please.
Anyway, I've a client who has a 730 square foot deck that had the underside painted a pretty jarring color by her schizophrenic brother a number of years ago (that's another story...), and is insistent on changing it to something other than... underside is 2706 square feet of surface area. I would rather not brush/roll the entire freaking thing on a 20' ladder. So batman, How do I airless the underside without contaminating the stain on top? Am I just over tequila-ing the entire thing? Er, overthinking...
I entertained the thought of tarps up top with a light layer of sand. Just enough to keep the tarp from lifting from the airless pressure. Of course the access is 45 feet of 16 percent grade just to get to bottom of the stairs. Yeah, that's out.
Any suggestions can't be worse than my own so please, fire away.
Thanks in advance.
M
 

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Well, I'm not batman... but


Is the decking your standard 5/4" x 6"? I'm thinking the problem with either the tarps/sand or self-adhering film is the beveled edge that most decking has. Maybe whatever overspray would just lay down in the cracks and not be noticeable, but...IDK.



Was the stain on the topside a solid? And if so, certainly use that on the bottom to minimize issues.


One other thought is just how old the decking is and how even the gaps are. Before I'd want to brush and roll such a thing, I'd go to town with some thin rips of any kinds of scrap material and bang them down in the gaps between the boards on the top side. You could cut long wedges to account for gap variability - something like strips of 2x4 ripped on a shim-like angle from 1/16" or 1/8" on the bottom to 1/4" - ish, or whatever on top. Rip them as long as needed. Pound them in?
 

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Pretty sure you'd be fine with some dropsheets and some rocks or something\anything to keep them from blowing around.. Let the drops hang down over the edge of deck to keep over spray contained. An extention wand may also be helpful.
 

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Match the paint to the deck stain, lay down your drops on top, and try to stick them down the cracks a little.
 

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As Woodco mentioned try and do a match. If you can manage to spray at an angle rather than straight up it should keep most spray from even penetrating the depth of the cracks. I suspect that anything coming through will even be noticeable, but do a test spray to be sure. Hopefully she is having you do the top as well which should cover any slight overspray which occurred.

Edit: you don’t say what the average width is between the deck boards. If they are relatively narrow, overspray should be minimal, if any. If bigger, and overspray actually is a problem, then some three mil plastic weighted down with a few sheets of relatively inexpensive OSB plywood would make more sense than rocks or sand. Just shift the plywood as you progress. Having a helper topside to assist in doing that would make for a faster job.
 
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We’ve used backer rod in similar situations. Based on your square footage, I’m afraid it would entail quite a bit of stuffing. I’d also be afraid of it sticking.
 

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Or, if filling the gaps is preferred, just get some rolls of cheap foam weatherstripping. Roll it out and push it down in.
 
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