Curb appeal and a happy camper!

August 20, 2019 - Comment

My beautiful new deck! When I decided I needed and wanted and could afford a new, more attractive, entrance to my front door, … and I could afford it, I contacted a well-known and reputable hardware store in my city of Dayton, Ohio.  I called and explained what I wanted to have built and an

My beautiful new deck!

When I decided I needed and wanted and could afford a new, more attractive, entrance to my front door, … and I could afford it, I contacted a well-known and reputable hardware store in my city of Dayton, Ohio. 

I called and explained what I wanted to have built and an appointment was set up to meet with a representative of the company who would come to my home and give me an estimate after learning more details about what exactly I wanted. 

My first mistake was not asking more questions.  My assumption was that whoever did the work would provide quality work and that the company would supervise to some extent.  That was not the case; the company was not in any way under the umbrella of the company.  The individual who did the work had the dimensions but not a sketch of the intended project as discussed with the company’s representative.  Upon completion, the company would not even accept a review of his work and were not interested in any comments or recommendations, etc.

I would like to share the name of the company, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that without contacting them and giving them a chance to respond, defend their policies.

Anyway, on to the actual process once the deck/porch was built.  In order to stain the wood for looks and for preservation, buy a reputable brand.  The lighter the stain, the more the wood grain will be visible.  Good stain may cost more but is well worth it. 

Look at the weather report to make sure there is no rain expected on the day you plan to do the actual staining.  Also, don’t plan to stain until there have been 2 or more days without rain.  And, preferably when no rain is predicted for 2 or more days after you stain.  The stain dries quickly, however, so that window of no rain predicted is just an extra precaution and not extremely important.

Sand any rough areas with a small, hand-held, electric sander.  Then sweep the deck clean, removing as much dust as possible.  Before beginning to stain, clean a relatively small area more thoroughly and start there.  Stir the stain by swishing the large can around.  Then pour a small amount into a resealable container.  Using a quality paintbrush, apply the stain in strokes going with the grain of each plank.  Then proceed to an adjacent area cleaning it again, etc.  Wiggle the brush when needed to get the stain into hard to reach places like where the planks are joined, and to corners.  Wipe off any excess that doesn’t soak in before moving to the next area.

An entertaining side note:  Years ago, my then husband had a few friends over to build a deck behind our house in an octagonal shape leading up to the French doors’ entrance to my dining room.  There was also a single door entrance/exit off the family room so carrying food in and out would be less cumbersome and minimizing a disaster if there were spills…

They measured everything and did a wonderful job!  I was thrilled with the result.  We decided to stain it rather than let it “season” naturally.  We had seen both and preferred the stained look.  There was one concern, but, when the project was complete, it didn’t seem to present any problem.  One of the posts was positioned directly over an area that our power company had marked so that nothing would interfere with its purpose.  Well, one evening we were baking a large roast and the power to the stove went out.  We decided to finish cooking it in the microwave but then it went out too.  So my husband went out on the deck to start up the grill and, soon, my family was happily having a great meal.  The electrical issues magically were no longer a problem. 

Later, we had more power surges so called a friend who worked for the power company.  He came over and discovered the problem, so we had to call the power company and confess to the transgression of ignoring the warning.  The solution they came up with involved their digging a trench from the deck to the end of our lot.  The lot was an acre and the cost was high so my husband decided to dig it himself, regretting his decision to ignore the warning with every shovel full of dirt! 

I have a “humble” house post-divorce.  But my deck, in spite of all the shortcomings, is beautiful and such a huge improvement to my home. 

It was worth the work, the expense, and the initial disappointment of what I thought of, at the time, as “shoddy” work. I’m over all that now and just delighted.

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