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When Is It Time to Restain Your Deck?

This post is in partnership with For the full tutorial, head this way!

Three summers ago, we stained our bare wood deck, painted the railings and built a new (safer) staircase. It made all the difference in the world, although we always sort of wished that the opaque stain color we chose, Gray Birch, was a little less blue. It was the softest, prettiest gray, and while we loved the impact it made to our home’s front porch, we promised each other that, when the day came, we would chose a deeper shade with a touch more warmth.

Our back staircase was a test, and we opted for just that. We landed on this opaque stain from Sherwin Williams in Flagstone. So many times we second guessed ourselves. As we initially watched the stain rolled on, we thought, it’s brown! This is definitely brown. But as the stain dried, it turned into the most handsome grey. We couldn’t love the color more, so this year, we decided to bite the bullet and match the back deck to our front porch!

The bigger question was, how do you know when it’s time to restain your deck? Despite the cold Chicago winters, we’ve been impressed with the quality of our Sherwin Williams stain, so much so, that we didn’t consider touching up until this year. There were worn areas along the stair treads, and over time, we had accumulated deep down grime that wasn’t coming loose with our garden hose.

We had assumed that a deck restaining would require days of sanding – an idea that wasn’t appealing to either of us. Luckily, that wasn’t the case at all! A few simple steps was all it took to get the porch looking as good as new, and we’re sharing the entire easy tutorial on this week! We needed one sunny weekend to knock out the job, but in total, I’d guess it was less than four hours of work. Worth it.

While we were at it, we spruced up the patio furniture, too! You already know we added these small tables to the mix (all porch sources are listed at the bottom of this post!), but we changed up the pillows and rug for a more neutral look overall.

I fell in love with these IKEA pillows, and I promised Scott that they’d look so cute! on the porch swing. The problem? They’re wool, so although he was hesitant at first, he came around when I suggested we try NeverWet:

This stuff is nutty. We followed the instructions, thoroughly spraying our pillows (and swing cushion while we were at it!), and allowing them to dry before putting everything back into place. We poured a cup of water over the pillows and cushion, and… it slid right off. Magic! Note: It has an incredibly strong smell, so this is 100% an outdoor project.

Our front porch is covered so while we did this as an extra precaution from sideways rain and mist, we also like that it’s an extra barrier against our Chunk. There’s nowhere else she’d rather be (unless you count the backyard):

If you’re at the point where your deck could use a refresh, make sure to check out our step-by-step tutorial on! It’s a lot easier than you might think.

In the meantime, you know where to find us!

Front Porch Sources:

Stain: Sherwin Williams Flagstone | porch swing | vintage chairs | outdoor rug | IKEA pillows  | Sunbrella pillows | swing cushion (in flax)  | small tables | throw blanket (similar) | ottoman | plant stand | watering can

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  • Chel5.24.17 - 3:18 PM

    The porch looks great! Quick question about the IKEA pillows, do you find them comfortable to lean against? I had considered then for my living room and was concerned they would be to scratchy.ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.24.17 - 3:28 PM

      They’re super cute, but definitely scratchy. Since we use them as a back rest (rather than a pillow you’d lean on), it’s fine!ReplyCancel

  • Paige5.24.17 - 8:52 PM

    Our deck is totally going to need to be repainted by next summer! I’m not looking forward to the project, but know it will be so pretty when it’s done!


    • Kim5.25.17 - 7:40 AM

      It’s a huge project, but changes EVERYTHING! Good luck when your time comes!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley5.27.17 - 9:50 AM

    I love that you stained your deck floor. I so wish we had done that. We have outdoor carpet. It’s fine, but its already looking a little lumpy after a year. That is SO smart that you used the never wet spray. I used non outdoor fabric, so I’ll have to give it a try!ReplyCancel

  • Lara Herzer6.9.17 - 12:57 PM

    Beware Sherwin Williams stain! We used this on our 1000 sq ft Chicago deck a couple of years ago, big mistake! It only lasted a season. Come to find out it was ranked last in Consumer Reports, but one of the most expensive.

    Last year we went with their top pick, which was an opaque Behr product. So far so good!ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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