Posted by Rebecca, June 6th, 2011
This weekend was uncharacteristically cool with temperatures in the 70s or so both days. I wanted to give the house a good spring cleaning (yes I know, it’s nearly summer) and my closet needed to be organized. But we couldn’t resist the chance to work outside without sweating or getting sunburn, so we decided to tackle a project on our outdoor to-do list. Mike put in his vote for staining the stairs that lead to our patio.
We started later than planned on Saturday since we had some errands to run and we were trying to decide what project to tackle. Once we decided to stain the stairs, we figured we just go to Benjamin Moore (which just happens to be around the corner from our house) to get Pottery Barn’s Chesapeake Brown stain. This is the color of our outdoor furniture and once we saw that they sold the color at Benjamin Moore, we figured it would be an easy choice. We went to our local Benjamin Moore store and they didn’t carry their own brand of stain! We debated whether or not to go to another Benjamin Moore, but we figured since it was already noon we’d just head back to Lowe’s (we had already been over there) and choose a dark stain. Our furniture is a dark brown so we figured it wouldn’t be too hard to get something similar.
We ended up choosing Cabot Semi-Solid Deck Stain in Cordovan Brown. It was literally the darkest color Lowe’s had and it had to be mixed. I took a before picture, but I apparently butchered some settings on the camera when I did so the picture looks like a trippy x-ray. But here’s the can while we were using it 🙂
We have never stained anything before and didn’t know anything about the products. We chose something that said it was meant for the outdoors and then basically went for a color. However, this stuff stunk and I was not a fan of that.
We had to clean off the stairs first, since they were covered in some dirt from the patio process. I used a scrubby brush we bought for our laundry room floor that we haven’t used yet.
Who’s that 14 year old boy?? No wait, that’s just me… wearing a men’s shirt and a hat. I just got my hair cut last week and it’s in that too-short-for-ponytail phase, so I needed the hat to keep it out of the stain.
We had some plans Saturday night, so we were only able to tackle the outside and railing/spindles. We saved the areas we had to walk on for last so that we could get up and down the stairs for as long as possible.
I also suffered from several splinters in my…pants. Sitting like this and scooting around made me jump out of my seat several times. Luckily my pants were thick enough to protect from serious injury and/or death 🙂
We had to stop for the night around 5 and when I got out of the shower the stairs looked like this…
Yes, it started raining on our hard work minutes after we stopped. Thankfully, it didn’t ruin anything or cause stain to run all over our patio. But can I just say that the weather is a jerk?? This has been happening to us for weeks. I specifically checked the weather and wanted to stain on Saturday because it was supposed to be dry, while Sunday was supposed to have thunderstorms. But of course, Sunday was dry…
Day 2 began the staining of the walkable areas. We started earlier because, you know, I was waiting for those afternoon thunderstorms that never came.
The large, deck portion was a breeze. I thought because it had the greatest area it would be hard, but it went so fast and was pretty fun to do.
The steps were not so fun and took much longer. There were so many pieces of wood and edges hugging the house that it took some attention to detail.
By early afternoon yesterday, we were all done and just waiting for it to dry!
I went outside today to check on the drying process. It was dry to the touch, but I was a little disappointed to see that there was some obvious unevenness. We didn’t wipe off the excess stain, mostly because we wanted it to be dark and because I was putting on thin coats and essentially dry brushing the heck out of it. Mike did most of the outside parts and he put his stain on thicker. So some spots I assumed were wet are actually permanently shiny. I noticed the thicker stain on Saturday and tried to wipe and dry brush the areas out, but it was too late 🙁
I’m planning on sanding down these super shiny areas and re-staining them to look a little more rustic like the other parts. Rookie lesson learned- make sure you’re both using the same staining method when working in a team 🙂 No big deal, you live and you learn.
psst- I’m linking this post up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party today 🙂