4.15.2011

To Stain or Not To Stain....


Ever since we completed our deck in November (read more about that here), we have been debating whether to stain it or seal it.  At first, I was in the "seal" camp and B was in the "stain" camp.  My opinion was mostly based on the fact that I'd heard/read that sealing it would last longer than stain (AKA less work for us down the road).  But after doing more research and reading up on consumer reports, I found that if you use a good brand, let it dry properly and maintain it each year with a light coat, then stain is just as easy as sealer.  PLUS, in my opinion anyway, stain looks so much better than a simple sealer coat....especially on pressure-treated wood.  If we had done mahogany or cherry, then we would probably lean more towards sealer to capture the beauty of the wood, but PT is just not a beautiful wood.

So......we stained it this past weekend!!!!  YAY!  And when I say "we" I mean B and my dad.  I ran back and forth to the store to pick up the paint (and back and forth to pick up more....and so on)....but I didn't really participate in the paint/stain part of the project.  I'm not going to lie to you, it took them most of the weekend to do it all, but it looks great so I think it was well worth it!!  And I can say that because my back isn't still aching because of it! 

Before we went out to buy the stain though, we talked about what we wanted it to look like.  We are planning to paint the trim of our house white this summer (or next....let's be realistic), so we thought that it would be nice to reflect that on the deck as well.  So, we ultimately decided to go with solid white balusters and railings and a deep reddish brown semi-transparent stain for the floor.  The choice of the floor color came from the wood floors in our house.  Since the deck is really an extension of the kitchen, we thought it would be best to keep the wood colors consistent.  Here are some inspiration photos that caught our eye during the planning process:



 
Then, as usual, we shopped around a little for the best prices on some of the highest-rated brands (I read a lot of good reviews on Cabot and Sherwin Williams Deckscapes so we focused on those two).  Lowes carries Cabot so we went there first.  The stain was about $33/gallon for semi-transparent stain and $27/gallon for solid white stain (we would need about 3 gallons of each for the project, so we would be looking at about $180 total).  We grabbed them (Cordova Brown for the floor and White for the railings) before heading to Sherwin Williams (since they are pre-mixed colors they are fully returnable).  I fully assumed that Sherwin Williams would be more expensive, so I was banking on keeping the Cabot anyway.  But when we got to Sherwin Williams we found out that they were having a 40% off sale for the weekend on ALL paints and stains, including Deckscapes.  WOOHOO!  Both the solid color stain and the semi-transparent stain were regularly $37/gallon, but with the discount they were only $22/gallon!!  We scooped them up as fast as we could and returned the Cabot ones on the way back home!  AMAZING DEAL!!  So all in, the total was $132......we saved $48!!  It is still a lot of money for stain, but I love it when I can save a little here and there!  It makes it all worthwhile.



For the Sherwin Williams Deckscapes brand, they are only available in custom-mixed colors, so they are non-returnable, but since I knew this was the best deal around I didn't mind snatching up a few gallons.  I chose Riverwood for the semi-transparent color on the flooring and Extra White for the solid color on the railings.  I walked away from the store with only 2 gallons of each (since I wasn't sure how far it would get us and didn't want to waste a gallon if we didn't need it.  Turns out, we ended up needing 3 gallons of each, but since the store isn't far from the house, I didn't mind running back out for it later in the day (especially since I wasn't the one doing the back-breaking work)!!!  The store manager recommended 3 gallons of each to me when I told him that we had about 340 sq ft of deck, but I didn't listen.  Next time, I will trust that he probably knows a little more about this than I do!  Haha!

So, this is what the deck looked like last week (on a rainy day, unfortunately):




And this is what it looks like now:





I am so happy with the way it turned out.  The guys had to do 2 full coats of the white (which is not fun when you are painting hundreds of thin balusters) and 2 full coats of the semi-transparent stain.  They used brushes for the railings and both a roller and a brush (to get in between the slats of wood) on the flooring. 

We considered doing the solid-colored stain for a few minutes, and then decided that we liked the idea of knots and grains showing through a little, so we opted for semi-transparent.  The guy at the Sherwin Williams store agreed that it would not only look nice, it would last a bit longer since you wouldn't notice the fading as much as you would with a solid stain.  We will still have to touch it up every year or every other year, but the big part is done so it will hopefully just be maintenance from now on.  I'll keep you posted on that next year though!

Next project on the list: PATIO FURNITURE!!!  I have been scouring craigslist for months and NADA, so I might end up with an inexpensive set from Home Depot or Lowe's.  I have seen BEAUTIFUL sets at Jordan's Furniture and some local seasonal stores, but a $2000 set is just not in the budget for us now.  My neighbor bought an $89 wrought iron table from HD last year and she said it has held up pretty well so far, so I might end up ultimately going that route.  I'll report back tomorrow though.  My dad is coming by to let me borrow his truck, so I'll let you know how it goes.

And as always, if anyone has recommendations for patio furniture that they've bought or that they have seen in catalogs, I'm all ears.  We aren't completely opposed to a teak or other wood material set, but I would RATHER not have to stain the deck and the furniture every year, so a composite or wrought iron would be my first choice.  Any thoughts or opinions on that are welcome too!!  Thanks guys!

23 comments:

  1. Heather, I think it looks gorgeous!!! Such a great choice. Plus I love the white banisters. Great job!

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  2. Hi Heather. I just discovered your blog. The deck looks fabulous. I also enjoyed looking back at some of your previous room renovations. Fabulous work - so inspirational! I look forward to reading more about your work. Ange

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  3. The color looks so great! It looks beautiful with the white fencing.

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  4. Hi Heather! I found your blog on google :) I typed in deck inspiration, clicked images, and found a pic I liked and it brought me to your beautiful blog! My husband and I will be closing on our house May 10th and the deck needs major work! I was planning on doing exactly what you did but I was advised not to paint the wood (to make the white railings) because the paint would chip and need a lot of loving over the years. After reading this post, I got the impression the white you used was a stain?? Is this correct?? If so, I am definitely buying it!!!! The deck looks gorgeous and I am so excited to get started on my own in a few weeks :) I am your newest follower! So glad I found ya, thanks google!

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    1. Solid color stain is not good on deck floor surfaces. However it will last for years on railings and fences. Use a oil toner or semitransparent stain for the deck. For old decks with peeling paint or weather damage rent a hardwood floor sander. Good luck.

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  5. What a great deck, I wish ours looked this good.

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  6. Looks great! The Allen and Roth brand (any of it, but their patio furniture in particular) at Lowe's is very high end looking and has held up great so far.

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  7. Wow! Great transformation!!
    We are about to do ours this summer... Thanks for the tips... We are pretty much Sherwin Williams folks... so I will look/wait for the 40% off to get the stain...
    Good Luck on the furniture... got mine mixed & matched from Big Lots & Wal-Mart & it has held up well for 4 - 5 yrs. Doesn't need to be expensive to look good... : )

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  8. I'd love to learn about the steps you took to transform your deck. This looks gorgeous. Did you power wash? sand? prime? seal after staining?

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  9. Hi Glowing Gal -

    We actually didn't do very much to the deck before we started staining and painting. If we had waited a bit longer between building the deck and transforming it, we probably would have power-washed, but there really wasn't any dirt and mildew built up from the last 6 months. We really lucked out! We just swept up the leaves, sanded down a few rough spots (mostly on the railings and the edges of the stairs) and then did a quick wipe of all the surfaces before grabbing the brushes and rollers.

    And we also just used the products that I noted in the post...no prime or sealer necessary. I admit that it may have been easier to do a coat of prime before the white stain/paint went on the railings, but hindsight is 20/20. As far as sealer goes, the Sherwin Williams Deckscapes has a sealer included in the mix to save you a step! Genious!

    Hope this helps!

    Best,
    Heather

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  10. that is a gorgeous deck. Thanks for sharing!!--connie, measuredbytheheart.com

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  11. Your deck looks gorgeous! So glad I saw your link through Thrifty Decor Chick...I love your blog! Keep it up!
    Kendra

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  12. Beautiful - what color did you use of the Deckscapes?

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  13. To stain, of course, if you even need to ask. :) I love how it turned out! White railings over dark wood floor always make an exceptional scene. You even matched it with white rails. I wish I can just see what your deck’s overlooking. :) Some flowers along the border would also add appeal

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  14. So, have you stained the deck now? Staining does give your deck protection against the harsh weather. Just to share, I hate cleaning our deck, but nothing’s better than a clean deck that is free of molds and grime. :D

    ,Angelina

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  15. If I had a choice, I’d always love to see a stained deck. I’ve observed that a deck looks more lustrous and clean when you stained it, and I think you'd probably agree with me. Hehe! Look at the transformation here. Compared to the unstained deck you had before, it looks more beautiful now! :D

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  16. How has the stain held up over time? I would like to use your color combination on a new deck I am doing this month.

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  17. can you share the color of the deck stain you used?

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  18. What color Sherwin Williams stain did you use?

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  19. The blog says she used Riverwood for the semi-transparent stain color

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  20. this looks really good. thanks for posting and sharing

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