Staining the Cottage

The cottage has two cedar decks and the siding is cedar too. There is also a garage that has cedar siding as well. It all looks very nice (at least it did when it was new) but is now in need of some cleanup. This is the year for it. [note to self: when we replaced the siding why did we choose cedar and instead of something maintenance free?]

The project started in June. Well, the planning for it started in June. It was going to be a big job so I had to go out and buy a big pressure washer since the little electric one I currently have would never stand up to job at hand. Ah, Canadian Tire to the rescue again. The real work started in July. The first step was to replace a few rotting boards in the deck. This part was easier than I thought it would be. I know what you’re thinking, “how hard could it be to replace a deck board”. I usually have the luck of running across some form of difficulty like the board that is up against the wall. New boards in dirty deckThe siding comes down onto the top of the board (as well as the recently installed glass doors) and the nails holding the board in place are actually covered by the siding. As I said, actually getting the boards replaced was easier that I expected.

The next step was to power wash the front deck and the front wall. Too much pressure and parts of the wood come off while not enough pressure and the dirt, mold, old stain does not come off. It’s a fine balance that usually over laps so it is necessary to find a good compromise.

The siding was harder to clean than the deck and it did come out with a nice golden colour. Unfortunately, although the deck did clean up nicely it was still dull in colour. Deck after power washing When the stain was applied to the deck it simply looked like wet wood, there was no colour to it. I only stained a few deck boards before stopping and having to think about it some more; in the mean time… on with the job of washing the siding.

Here you can see the difference! Cottage wall On the left side of the picture is a wall before it was touched. The right side of the picture shows the siding after power washing (lower) and after staining (upper). What a difference!. The next picture shows the side wall in progress. Cottage wallThe left side has been power washed and is still wet while the right hand side shows the wall in its original state.

Back to the deck. It had to be sanded with a floor sander. I was hesitant to do this as I have heard all sorts of horror stories about sanding dents and hollows into the floor if the floor sander is left too long in one spot. As it turns out, the local rental place didn’t have a drum type floor sander but they did have an orbital floor sander which is safer for the naive user. Everything was all set to go but I didn’t want to hit that switch and see the sander sink into the deck or bounce all over the deck but eventually I got up the nerve to give the switch a quick flick and push the sander a few feet before turning it off again to see what the result would be. What was left was a swath on the deck where the cedar was clean, beautiful and smooth. Wow. So I continued to do the entire deck. What a result! Deck after sandingWOW! I had also purchased a bottle of deck wash and brightener so I applied this to the deck too and the wood whitened up even more. WOW again! Finished deck Now the stain really adds a rich colour to the deck.

By the time I got the front deck and the sides of the cottage and garage done it was mid August. The deck railings still had to be done as well as the back deck. These are done now. The last picture is a view of the back of the cottage before the deck was stained. Back of cottage You can see how nice it looks. Since this was the year for work at the cottage we had someone come in and do some landscaping too which is why you can see top soil with grass seed and a new driveway. It was a busy summer at the cottage, no time to relax but does it ever look great.