We finally did it. The interior of the porch has been stained. We started thinking about this last summer, and put our project plans into place, in earnest, this summer. We began prepping around, oh, Memorial Day. And we completed the project Labor Day weekend. It's not that it took us the whole summer to do the project, of course. It's that we started, and never finished, which seems to happen a lot around here.
The thing with outdoor staining, if you haven't attempted it, is that you're supposed to do it during a spell of dry weather that's not too hot and not too cool. No rain, no humidity- which describes zero days this summer. I don't think I've seen so many torrential showers in my whole life as I've seen in the last three months, and the vegetable garden will attest to that.
So, here's what we started with.
And here's what it looked like midway through the process.
And here's the finished floor.
There are a few tips I have to pass along now that I'm an expert.
1) Stain comes in solid, semi-solid, and semi-transparent. Solid is like paint. Semi-solid is still an awful lot like paint. (That lesson cost us $50.) The more solid the stain, the better it protects the wood, but if you're looking for something that looks like stain and not paint, you want semi-transparent. Arborcoat now makes sample sizes, and I highly recommend testing out the color before you buy a gallon. (Anyone interested in a semi-solid Sea Gull Grey?)
2) As I mentioned earlier, you're looking for a period of a few days that's going to be dry, usually at the beginning or end of the summer, if you live in a place where there are 4 seasons. Good luck.
3) You must prep the surface before you stain, and give it plenty of time to dry. We used the orbital sander on a few rough spots, but mostly prep involved cleaning. We found that the best way to clean the wood that was showing a bit of mold/mildew in parts was to use a good scrub brush, and a solution of 4 parts warm water to 1 part Oxi-Clean. We messed around with natural, green cleaners, but cared less about the environment after plenty of useless scrubbing. Bleach is good.
4) Enjoy the time between the cleaning process and the staining process, however long it takes, because neither will be fun. We did have a whole summer's worth of fun, despite this project hanging over our heads.
After all the cleaning and staining was said and done, we admired our work, and then covered the floor with a new rug.
I ordered this custom outdoor rug from a local carpet store in June, and finally picked it up and rolled it out. I spent a lot of time looking for a rug to fit the space, but for the larger rugs, I found custom to be less expensive. Plus, I could order it to be exactly the size I wanted. It makes our porch feel a little more like an outdoor room.
Next, we're in the market for a light fixture. For now, when the sun goes down we rely on the little lamp in the corner, and the TV, to light the room.
We also wanted to repair and stain the outdoor deck, which is an eyesore. There's still another month or two. We'll see. Meanwhile, we hope to enjoy a couple of more months on the porch, with many unseasonably warm days and watching the Red Sox win their way to the playoffs. Porches are for dreaming, right?