I'd been waiting years, probably a decade, to do exactly that. Neither one had gotten stained--and thus, 'finished'-- when we built the house in 2003. Stain was always on the 'someday' list, and we'd talked about it several times. Viewed color samples at least three times. I'd picked out the color I wanted twice (same color both times). DH had even power washed both the porch and the deck four years ago.
But that's as far as we got with our staining project. So I was kind of surprised, and a little unbelieving, when DH said that since we couldn't have the grandkids for all of the vacation time we both had off of work at the beginning of July, we should get a good start on staining the porch and the deck. I watched in amazement as he power washed again. I was nearly speechless when he brought home a brochure of current color options for stain. I jumped right on it when he wanted to go to Home Depot and actually purchase the stain.
(One thing I've learned during the 25+ years I've been with DH, when he finally decides to move on something I've been wanting and waiting for, it's best to drop everything and take advantage of DH's current interest in that item or project. You could say that going along with his interest is in my best interest, LOL. In other words, if I just wait long enough until it's his idea, I get what I want.)
So we began staining the deck one evening in early July. We'd decided we needed to do the railings first, and the floor boards afterward. We didn't realize just how much time it was going to take to stain those railings. Every single 1.5" wide spindle, all four sides. There are hundreds of spindles, because they could only be 3" apart in order to meet code. Which meant staining the spindles took hours. And hours. And hours. All by hand. And the outside of the railings required climbing on a ladder to reach. Then back down the ladder again, move it another two feet or so, climb back up, and stain the next part within reach.
When we'd gotten about half of the front railing on the porch done on the second day--working on the front porch in the mornings while the sun was on the back of the house, and the deck in the evenings when the afternoon sun was on the front--we realized just how huge of a task this was.
Front porch: length of the house, plus the mudroom between house and garage, plus about 6 feet of the south side of the house (because it's a wraparound porch). About 43 feet in length. The width is six feet. Plus the stairs, all six of them, at six feet wide, that lead up from the yard to the porch.
Deck: length of house at 30 feet. Width of deck is 12 feet. Larger than the surface area of the porch by more than 100 linear feet.
most of the deck,
all cleaned and ready for staining
Spindles, oh my the spindles!
This is just one small section of the whole.
That's a heck of a lot of stain. And a whole lot of time spent with little brushes in hand doing those skinny spindles, plus all the 'trim' work around the house itself.
The very first section to be stained.
We used an old flannel sheet as a drop cloth, moving it as we worked on each section.
At the corner, clearly showing the difference between stained and unstained.
Did I mention that I'd decided that, while I still envisioned the railings the same deep green (to accent the trim and the shingles on our home) I had decided on while building the house, I now wanted the floorboards to be a more natural wood tone? Kind of a honey color? Which meant doing more detail work around each and every post, stair tread, and riser, with the little brush. Because the green stain could not get on the floor, no way, no how. I didn't want green drips and runs on my to-be honey colored floor.
The wraparound portion of the porch, partially done.
Couple all that detail work, all those spindles on the railings, with heat. Weeks of heat. Days so hot that the wood didn't cool off enough before the sun went down and so we couldn't do any staining on those days. The unrelenting sun and humidity were broken only by a day or two of rain here and there. Rain, meaning water, meaning the porch and deck were wet and, yes, unstainable. The result: it took us all of July to get this project completed.
On the plus side, we had a wide cloth pad that attached to a handle (kind of like a Swiffer type thing) that we used to stain the floorboards with. That went really fast. Although I did need to edge around the posts, and where the floor met the siding on the house, and do between each board (so you couldn't see 'naked' wood in the gaps between the boards) with the small brush I'd used on all those spindles.
But it's done now and it sure looks nice!
the front stairs (blocked off while drying)
Now that the porch looks so wonderful (DH really loves the colors, even though he was completely skeptical of my color scheme when we bought the stain), I'm hoping to convince him to finally purchase the lattice (which I'll stain green) to close in under the porch and be a more appealing backdrop to the flowerbeds than the cinder block walls of my cellar are. That's another project that's been waiting 13 years. . .