Prepping our deck for winter

by megan
Published: Last Updated on

Sherwin-Williams threw in a free gallon for review, thanks, guys!

EDIT: This review has been updated, see below.

Our last major project this year is to ensure our new deck is prepped for winter, especially since we dropped a hefty chunk on it. (The fence, eh, we kinda like it as is, though I might need to stain the front just for matching purposes) Much like Game of Thrones, the thought that “Winter is Coming” is constantly on our minds, and we know that we need to protect the upgrades we make on our home against the ongoing onslaught of Lake Effect snow.

Truth be told, I’ve been completely slacking off on it because staining this new structure was going to be a huge endeavor, but Mr. Beige House was persistent that we get it done before the weather changes.

Here is it in all of its raw glory before:

For this staining project, we went straight to the pros at Sherwin-Williams to help us out with this since our house was done with their paints on the inside…might as well stick with what we know will be a quality job!

We chose their SuperDeck Semi-Transparent water-based deck stain in Charwood (which the manager at our local SW store told me was one of the most popular colors. So much for being pioneers!) and did some rough calculations with their team to figure out how many gallons we would need for this project (we figured it’s about 300sq ft and thirsty new wood), bought those and our brushes (we got 5″ wide bristle brushes for this job) and headed home. And waited.

You see, to stain this deck, we needed, ideally, 4 straight days of dry weather. Unfortunately, it’s been a ridiculously wet summer and fall in NY, so we had to take what we could get. About a week after buying 3 gallons, we finally got a weather pattern that offered 2.5 – 3 dry days in a row, so we went to town.

tell me that ish ain’t pretty

We were total newbies to staining a project this large, but we tried to use the limited knowledge we had from smaller projects to ensure there was good coverage. I began to panic when I noticed that a lot of our work was resulting in obvious lines across the railings and boards, so I went around and tried to smooth the lines out before the stain completely dried.

Tip: try to use a dry brush method where you go back and forth over the same spot. This will help break up any lines from the original pull of stain onto the wood.

1st coat, trying to prevent choppy looking spots

We realized pretty quickly we had done some sort of miscalculation and were going to run out of stain. Within 2 hours of the project, we had gone through the 3 gallons and hadn’t even begun to stain the floor portion of the deck. To be fair, we stained all the railings, spindles, steps, and wood base (which is a formidable hunk of wood on its own), and the wood was really soaking up the stain quickly but we ended up having to go back and get another 2 gallons to get the work done.

All in all, it took us about a day and a half of staining and drying to complete both our front steps and back deck. The finished result? VOILA:

Now, it is really lovely, and I dig the color a ton, but where this stain shines is in its waterproofing…it’s an absolute workhorse that has blocked any sort of water from seeping in. We’ve got no end of rain in sight for the upcoming days and our deck has become a world of mini puddles thanks to this stain:


With that said, I have noticed that the stain doesn’t seem to permeate through the wood – we’ve got a few spots where the stain has “chipped” off and will need to be redone. Overall, we think the deck looks amazing and looks like it’s ready for the heavy snow we look forward to(?) every year.

2018 Update:

You guys, my heart is broken because of how poorly this stuff ended up working. Turns out, it doesn’t penetrate past the first layer and is similar to paint. Consequently, any remotely trafficked area of the deck now looks old and worn, and this is only after a year of use. I wouldn’t recommend this to any sort of space that is used often. Sadface.

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