staining the deck

Staining the deck is a major pain in the ass. You need four straight days of warm, dry weather, so you don’t have much flexibility in scheduling. When it’s time, it’s time.

First step is to clear all the shit of the deck. At our house, this usually happens late enough that I have to move the whole deck garden down to the driveway. Next, you have to wash the whole thing with deck cleaner which gives the wood a light bleaching, raises the grain, and makes it more receptive to the stain. Then, it dries for 48 hours.

Finally, it’s time to put the stain on. I put on a full Tyvek suit (with booties and a hood), thick latex dish gloves with rubber bands on the wrists, and a hat. I go down to the basement and lug out the big five gallon can of stain, pry open the top, and mix it up. I get a large bag of fresh rags, a new stain brush and go to town.

Railings and balusters are first. Stain goes on and then you immediately wipe it dry to prevent drips and pooling. Getting all four sides of each baluster is a nightmare, particularly when I’m enmeshed in the adjoining lilac bush. Deck boards are next. I have a pad on a pole for most of this, but it also requires getting down on all fours and using a bristle brush to get in between the cracks. This ends up being the worst part because by this point, the sun is usually high and hot. I drink gallons of water during the process and never need to pee.

But when it’s done it looks killer! Here’s the before (after washing/bleaching):

And here’s the after:

Worth it.