Project Complete: Staining Our Deck and Playset

Wooden structures like fences and decks are, in theory, supposed to be re-stained every couple of years. This protects the wood from damage and keeps them looking pretty. We haven’t done that kind of maintenance in over a decade. First there was no time. Then there was no money. Then there was neither time nor money. However the seeing the gradual dilapidation of these wooden structures was making Howard and I both feel sad about the state of things. I finally freed up the time and sneaked enough money from the budget to make it happen.

This is the playset before we began. You can see remnants of the original stain on it, but much of the wood is bare.

Step one was to rent a pressure washer and blast off all the old paint. Howard handled pressure washing the playset. I managed the deck. Our gargoyle, Winston, had a supervisory job. The washing took five extremely wet and dirty hours.

The water blasted off old layers of stain and also some top layers of wood. There were many places where we had to be careful that the high powered stream did not damage the wood more than necessary. I suspect that would not have been an issue if we’d been properly maintaining our wood through the years.
This is the playset all clean and dry.

Next came staining. We used five gallons of stain and about 22 man hours of work. We decided to apply the stain using brushes rather than a sprayer since our last sprayer experience was…messy. It was a lot of work, but we got it done.

From a distance the structures look like new. Up close you can see all the dribbles, drips, spots where the washer gouged the wood, spots where we neglected to blast off the old stain, and places where the wood is just old. It is not perfect, but now when we step outside it feels nice instead of feeling depressing. I can live with that. On to the next project.