Posts Tagged ‘stain’



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 🙂

Outdoor To-Do List


Posted by Rebecca, May 25th, 2011

The weather is still playing mind games with us. There has been a chance of thunderstorms nearly every day this week, which makes it difficult to plan to do anything outside. We have a bunch of projects we want to do, large and small, so I wrote them all down. Since it’s a 3 day weekend (YAY!!!) I figure one of those days has to be nice, or at least portions of those days and the list will save some of the time we normally spend trying to remember what we wanted to do. Here it is, in no particular order. We’ll call it the Spring/Summer 2011 Outdoor To-Do List, because I am in such a creative mood 🙂

1. Paint garage doors

In a perfect world, I would love to have some craftsman style dark wood doors with square windows at the top. But for now we’ll settle for just painting them the same brown as our shutters and front door. Maybe someday we’ll look into replacing the top panels with some square glass windows.

2. Have brush cleared

This one should be coming very soon, since we already have someone to do it and he said it would be a couple of weeks before they could start. We actually have a decent chunk of land, but the builder didn’t clear all of the logs and sticker bushes and random stuff back there. So we’re having the brush removed and of course, keeping the large trees. Should make for an awesome treehouse someday 🙂 and I’m super anxious to see what our lot actually looks like in its full glory.

3. Stain backyard stairs

We plan to stain these stairs a dark color to compliment the furniture we bought and to bring out the awesome darkness we have going on in the “grain” of our concrete.

It’s funny because from a distance, the patio looks lighter than we wanted. We knew we could always stain it darker so we weren’t that concerned, but on Saturday when we finally stood on it, we saw where those 2 coats of sealer went. And I love it. It looks so realistic and has so much character now 🙂

4. Add mulch & river rock to garden beds

We need to freshen up our mulch a little and we want to define some edges with river rock.

5. Landscape around patio/walkway

We already planted a lonely hydrangea by the walkway, but we want to make this whole area an inviting garden that will hide the hose, air conditioning units and the awkward outside part of the fireplace.

By the patio, we’ve been saving any extra dirt (or rather, frozen peanut butter type clay) to fill in where the patio drops to make some raised garden beds there.

6. Replace dead plants in front (halfway done!)

These flat things aren’t dead, but I hate them. I’ve been itching to dig them up. I want something with more height to cover the bottom of the garage. So they’re getting kicked to the curb (literally)! Does anyone in the area want them? I’d like to see them find a good home 🙂

ps- that picture is from a few weeks ago and our grass is nice and green now

7. Install storm door

This picture is from the fall, but I thought I had another one on my memory card and I don’t… and it’s already dark out. But sadly, we want to install a storm door. I say sadly because I know it’s not going to be pretty for the curb appeal and ideally I wouldn’t want one. But we get such an awesome breeze through that front door and on nights like tonight when it’s 83 degrees inside and 75 outside? We could really use it. One of our requirements is to get a brown one with the lowest profile possible, so it won’t look as bad.

8. Pick up that damn pile of wood

I know you guys are probably sick of looking at this mess in our backyard. Believe me, we are too. But we know how time consuming it will be to return it to its former glory, hence the procrastination.

9. Build outdoor kitchen area

I wrote about our plans here. It may happen this year, it may not. We’re going to play the wait and see game.

10. Seed backyard

Pre-patio picture from the last weekend in April, but our grass back there isn’t looking so hot. Especially compared to our neighbors on either side, whose grass is much fuller in the back. We waited to reseed because we want to throw some seed back where the brush is going to be cleared.

11. Add planters and find a bench for the porch

These chairs were always a temporary porch solution and will be relocated to the patio for this year. I’ve been on the lookout for a character filled bench since we moved in. Maybe this year I’ll get lucky? I also want to plant some flowers in some pots we already have.

And because I like to cross things out and this was actually on my handwritten list….

13. Buy patio furniture (done!)

But I should probably change this to “Put patio furniture together” because that hasn’t happened yet 🙁

Now that I think about it, I should probably make an indoor to-do list incase of inclement weather. Though I’m pretty sure that would just say “paint entryway” 10 times 🙂

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