Two Story Cottage

Adventures (or MisAdventures) in Deck Staining

Hi Everyone,

I’m Erin’s sister, Emily –  I’ve written a few posts before but it’s been a LONG time. Oops! Anyway, there are a lot of perks to being Erin’s  younger sister.  I’ll send her pictures of things I’m thinking of doing in my house to get her feedback. I even had her come over and style a bookshelf once. (I’m too left-brained for that.  My arrangements tend to look too stiff and orderly). As you know, Erin likes to move things around frequently, so I am often the recipient of items she no longer wants.  I’ll take pretty much anything – even if it goes into the garage attic for a future house (why yes, I do have a giant kitchen table and chairs stuffed up there…luckily, it’s a big attic).  There are a few disadvantages too; like being publicly pressured to have children.  Thanks for that.


My husband (Andrew) and I had a great deck installed at the end of the summer last year, and we were planning to stain it early this spring so we could enjoy it all summer long.  When Erin mentioned that Thompson’s offered her deck staining products, I jumped at the chance to use them.  We just needed two free weekends – one to clean the deck and one to stain it.  The only stipulation was that the stain had to have 48 rain-free hours prior to application.  We usually have summer drought problems around here, so no big deal right?

Enter the summer of rain and statistics like “second wettest June since 1895.”


We had one nice weekend in June and cleaned the deck.  We stowed the furniture in the garage and got to work with the Thompson’s WaterSeal 3 in 1 Wood Cleaner.  Since our deck was less than a year old, I wasn’t sure if we really needed a product like this, but Andrew and I were both surprised by the results.  And by how dirty the deck was…oops.

The cleaner was really easy to use.  We poured some into a bucket and rolled it in small, wet sections of the deck with a paint roller.  Then we let it sit for 10 minutes or so and rinsed it away.  Super easy, right?  We had a few spots where we needed to scrub a little bit, but that wasn’t a big deal and the stains either lightened up quite a bit or went away completely.

I was worried about keeping the cleaning solution off of our recently planted beds. By cleaning small areas of the deck at a time it was easy to control, however.  And it turns out I didn’t need to be so careful.  Thanks to Mother Nature, my backyard is basically now a marsh and my new azaleas have officially rotted to death.  Sad.

We were really happy with the final result – it just looked much brighter and new again.


With the deck prepped, we were set to begin staining the next weekend.  Wrong.  The weather forecast slowly changed and it rained.  And rained some more.  For weeks on end. Even if we had a nice Saturday we didn’t have the 48 hours of dryness prior.  So, my nice new deck furniture sat in my garage for two months until we finally had a Saturday in August that worked.

Or was supposed to work.

You see, I was getting desperate at this point.  We had a dry Thursday and Friday, and Saturday was supposed to be dry until the evening.  I figured that we could get up early and get everything done in time to allow the deck to dry for the two hour minimum before the rain started.  Not so much – it started raining at 11:30am.  And not just a light rain, but a pouring rain.  The deck was close, but not quite done at that point.  We had to abandon the project with  just a few boards incomplete, and I was really frustrated at this point.




The next day the rain stopped, the deck dried and we were able to get a good look at the damage.  It looked awful!  There was a small area that was messed up by the rain, but the parts that we did that dried looked bad too. I know now that we were staining the deck the way I would go about painting a room….which is not the way you are supposed to do it.  The correct way is to go section by section and stain small areas at a time.  But, we stained areas along the outer edge of the deck next to the house first and then stained in between the boards and then stained the top.  Apparently stain doesn’t dry all together like paint does.  So, we had a stripey, choppy, ugly deck.  Super…just what I’d been waiting all summer for.  Luckily, Andrew did the bench, sides and legs of the deck all at once, so those looked nice.  It was just the floor of the deck that was questionable.


We got lucky the next weekend with a dry Sunday and re-stained the floor of the deck.  It took an entire day,  but we were really meticulous this time.  Instead of staining a squared-off section at a time, we stained two or three boards and did the entire length of the deck.  One of us rolled the stain on and the other used the paint brush to smooth it out, get in the cracks, etc. It was worth the effort though – the deck looked much better after round 2.  Once we figured out the best way for us to stain, I found that the stain went on easily and we really liked the color.


The stain is Thompson’s Waterseal, waterproofing stain in desert brown.  It is semi-transparent.  It is also an all-in-one product.  No sealing necessary!  I like that it allows the wood grain to show but gives the deck a uniform, tinted look.


The only surprise is that the water seal aspect works ridiculously well.  After it rains, the water beads on top of the deck in some areas.   I’ve found that I can sweep it off if necessary, but I don’t really see myself doing that every time it rains.  I understand that it’s good that the water isn’t soaking into the wood though!  There is no question the product is working.

Now that it is nearing the end of August, the deck is finally back together and ready for use.  I got a couple of new pillows and repainted my flower pots to complete a fresh, new look.   I know Erin has a post planned to show off our deck makeover.  Stay tuned!


This review was in exchange for the product and all opinions are my own.


\"Designed \"Development