Sunday, June 12, 2016

Deck Follies, pt. 1

I have mentioned a few times (with increasing dread) that I needed to work on the deck this summer, and indeed I wanted to start this weekend.  Saturday was supposed to be a thunderstorm, so I hadn't thought I would really get started until tomorrow.  However, it rained very heavily in the morning, then cleared up, so I was able to run quite a few errands (including buying a bunch of things at Home Depot) while the deck dried out.  It actually ended up being quite hot, so maybe it wasn't such a terrible thing that I had to run over one more time to Home Depot to get paint rollers to put down the paint stripper.  That meant I didn't actually get started until about 7 pm, but the heat finally broke a bit.

In the end, I was out working until 10 pm.  It was not a fun chore, and I think while all of the steps are a bit aggravating and dirty, this was probably the worst.  (I am still quite sore.)  The deck stripper was so powerful that it ate through the plastic tray that I was using.  I then had to get on my knees to scrub down the stuff and then rinse it thoroughly with water.  Because of the acidity, I could only work in a relatively small area, and because I was worried about running out of time, that meant I generally only left it on for 5-10 minutes, whereas it probably would have worked better had it sat for 20 minutes.  Some places the paint came up relatively easily, but in other areas, it doesn't look like it made any difference at all.  (At least theoretically, the whole area should respond better to sanding now that this stripper was applied, but I guess I'll find out tomorrow.)

I was really getting discouraged, and I probably would have just bailed, but the guy at Home Depot said it would be a bad idea to leave it sitting overnight, even with the rinsing, since it needed to be neutralized with this deck washing agent.  I managed to get that down for 5 minutes or so and then hosed it down (rather than scrubbed and hosed it down).  On top of everything else, the hose nozzle broke, so I had to go to the tap multiple times.  It was a real chore.  If it had been just a bit earlier in the day, I would have had the kids help out, but they were getting ready for bed.  Anyway, I think this will be the worst, though I think sanding will also be a dirty chore, but at least I won't be dealing with caustic agents.

Unfortunately, my next door neighbor is having friends over for a BBQ at 3, so I really ought to wrap up by 2:30.  And because of noise restrictions, I can't actually start until 11.  If things go smoothly, that might be enough time, or it might be enough for the top part, but this is a very large deck!  I'll probably only get half done, but perhaps I shouldn't get too discouraged before I've even started...

At one point, I was thinking of just heading out at 3 tomorrow, but I've noticed that I may have a lot of trouble actually staining the deck next week.  It is supposed to rain Sunday, and you need 2-3 days without rain to justify putting down the stain or it won't cure properly, so doing the whole job next Sat. just won't work.

So my new agenda is looking something like around 10, do a bit more of the deck wash on the lower part of the deck (fortunately this was only stained not painted).  Mow the lawn.  Start sanding at 11 and see how quickly or slowly this progresses.  Go back to Home Depot to buy the stain at 3.  Stain the spindles on the side of the deck away from the neighbor with the BBQ.  Call it a day.

I may be able to leave work on time next week and basically get the staining all done by Wed. evening.  (That might be cutting it tight in terms of returning these books to Robarts Library, but I'll just see how that goes.)  That would be ideal, as there would be lots of time to dry while I am doing other things.  I have a TSO concert on Thurs.  I'm leaning towards seeing the Much Ado About Nothing in the park on Friday.  Then I might actually be able to rest Sat., since I can't do much about the deck if it actually is supposed to rain on the 19th.  If it does rain, I hope it is light or falls in the morning and early afternoon, since I am heading down in the late afternoon to check out the Luminato Festival at the Hearn and Tafelmusik, and I would prefer to bike there.

Of course, this all depends on how the sanding goes and whether the stain goes on fairly uniformly.  Given everything else that has happened, I probably shouldn't get my hopes up too high.  Nonetheless, I think pretty much no matter what happens, I should be done with this job by the end of June, and it should hold up for 4-5 years.  Even when stain starts to fade or flake off, it usually doesn't look quite as bad as when a painted deck goes.

I will say that this is probably the last major repair of the year that I will be doing myself.  We'll be calling the roofers soon, and then also a carpenter to deal with some stair issues we are having.  I know in these cases, it is better to call in the professionals and let them deal with things.

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