After finishing the repairs to the deck almost a month ago, the weather finally cooperated with enough dry days in a row that I could scrub and stain the deck boards so they all matched again.  We’d noticed that the deck boards had taken quite a beating over the winter even before we started on the project to reframe the deck around the tree, and after patching the decking with new lumber, it needed a coat of stain even more.

After scrubbing the deck with a deck cleaner

After scrubbing the deck with a deck cleaner

Close-Up of the Deck Before Staining

Close-Up of the Deck Before Staining

Since the old decking was pretty dirty, had some moss growing on it, and still had a pretty good coat of stain in some spots, I started by spraying the deck down with Olympic deck cleaner using a garden sprayer.  I let it sit for about 10 minutes before scrubbing it with a stiff-bristled brush and rinsing away all of the cleaner.  From the smell, I’d guess the cleaner had a pretty high concentration of bleach and it did a pretty good job of cleaning the deck boards off, although it didn’t remove as much of the stain as I was hoping it would.  We borrowed a pressure washer and tried that next, but didn’t want to damage the decking by turning the pressure up too high, so we wound up not getting much more of the stain off than what had already come off over the winter & during the cleaning.  The people at the paint store suggested sanding the deck down to bare wood for the best results, but that would have required us to counter-sink all of the nails and screws, which is no small undertaking on a deck the size of ours, so we opted to stain the boards as-is and deal with it later next year if it didn’t look right.

Samples of the New Stain Color

Samples of the New Stain Color

For the stain, I picked a shade of Sherwin Williams Deckscapes called Yankee Barn, which might be a little redder than the old color, but blended pretty well, overall.  It is a semi-transparent oil based stain to allow some of the grain to show through.  Before staining the whole deck, I tried staining some scrap pieces of wood from the repairs we had just completed.  Initially, we thought the color matched pretty well on the old and new wood, but it dried a lot lighter on the new wood than the old lumber that already had a patchy coat of stain, so we wound up applying two coats to the new boards and only one to the older lumber.

The end result looks a lot better than it did before we stained; just having things a uniform color really helps.  The new deck boards are barely noticeable and stand out more for their smooth texture than for their color.  It’s not quite as perfect of a finish as I would have liked – the new coat of stain couldn’t soak in to the old deck boards uniformly because of the old stain that was still there in some spots, so it has a shinier finish in those spots and more of a matte finish where the old stain had worn off and the new stain was allowed to soak in.  All in all, though, we think it turned out pretty good.  Our only concern now is that the new coat of stain will start to peel over time in the places where we layered it on over the old stain.  If that’s going to be a problem, we’re hoping it at least takes a season or two before it’s too noticeable!

The Newly Stained Deck

The Newly Stained Deck

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