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!