“I advise keeping four feet on the floor and all hands on deck.”- Anne Launders
As I type this I have a chai tea in hand, there are stars in the sky and I am cuddled up with a blanket on my deck. Sounds peaceful right? Things are good around here, my deck and I are old friends again.
One week ago my deck and I were not friends, we were hardly even acquaintances. I was fumbling with a book of matches and with the idea of putting myself and my deck out of our misery (but arson is a felony and my insurance probably wouldn’t have accepted insanity as my plea). All I can say is that the people who built the deck and then chose to very sloppily apply a brown solid stain were lucky I didn’t know where they currently live. They would have had a burning poop bag on their front porch to say the very least. Solid stain the the worst. It peels, it rubs off and eventually it needs to be scraped and/or stripped. I plead with you fellow deck owners. We are in this together and although solid stains look “right some nice” when they are fresh and new, they quickly turn into the spawn of Satan and what will soon become the bane of your existence. My deck should have been stripped and stained the year I moved in but it was just such a big under taking that I kept putting it off. Finally I could no longer stand the look of it and I put my foot down on my inner procrastinator. “It won’t be that bad..” I told myself. “A few hours work and it will totally be worth it”…my pep talk included. My inner cheerleader was so wrong. I can honestly say that painting my entire house; trim, ceilings and all was a walk in the park compared to revitalising my poor back deck.
What I did was I bought a deck revitaliser and stripper in one. It was made by Thompson’s Water Seal. I brushed it on and then let it sit for five to ten minutes allowing it to work it’s magic on the old rotten solid stain. I then pressure washed it all. This took approximately ten hours (but who is counting). The floor came up easily, it was the rungs that gave me a hard time. Next I had to sand (I chose to use my handy palm sander…the rotor dug into the wood!) the rungs to get off the rest of that stubborn stain. This took about four hours (again, I wasn’t counting..). Next I went to home depot and had a horrible time deciding on what to use to finish it. Ultimately I would have preferred to use just clear sealer but because the knots in the wood seemed to have a death grip on the old dark stain I chose a transparent stain and water sealer in one. Deck stains come in solid, semi transparent, transparent and clear. I wanted something I would never have to strip off again and something that would protect the wood. I went with Thompson’s Water Seal again and I chose the colour “honey”, hoping it would make the knots less apparent while giving the deck a uniform appearance. I made the right choice but again fellow deck owners, I urge you to just use a clear waterproofer if your deck is new or untreated. Let your decks naturally turn grey while protecting them. Low maintenance is good my friends. Staining the deck took a full day.
Although I complained and yes it was the worst project to date, I am so happy with how my little deck turned out. Water beads on it and it looks mighty fine if I do say so myself. You would never know the deck it six years old. If I continue to treat it every few years it should last me for many more to come. I must be getting old if decks are so high on my priority list….sigh. Happy rejuvenating all.