So far, 2014 has been pretty good.
- Hosted a last-minute New Years gathering at our place after learning that several others hadn’t made plans either. Barbecue, board games, gin and tonics. It was low-key and nice. Now, to get ourselves a dining table so we don’t have to borrow a trestle table again.
- Attended a lovely wedding which included a brief cruise on the Derwent River. It looked like a luxury commercial out there. So nice.
- Took Jamie’s mum out to MONA and then made tacos at home using the tortilla press I gave Jamie for his birthday. Making my own tortillas back in Arizona would have been like bringing sandwiches to a buffet, but over here it’s a different story.
God, I love summer. I’m glad that it’s not going anywhere in a hurry.
Jamie and I have been working in the garden quite a bit, but there’s one job he really wanted to accomplish this summer: staining and sealing our treated pine deck. Makes sense, it’s our favourite ‘room’ in the house right now.
The deck came with the house, which we couldn’t be happier about. The laserlite roof protects the deck from a lot of wear and tear caused by UV and the elements. It’s only treated pine, so, nothing fancy, but it’s sturdy.
It was pretty dirty and ready for recoating, though. So with a few days off over the holidays, we cleared all the plants and furniture off the deck and got to it.
We picked up some deckwash – Feast Watson Woodclean, though I figure they all work the same – and followed the directions. Wet down the deck, mix the 1L jug with 4 parts water, scrub into the pre-wetted deck with a stiff decking broom. Jamie and I took turns scrubbing.
After the cleaning solution sits on the deck for 20 minutes, you use a pressure washer to hose it all off.
We left the deck to dry overnight, and the next day we saw just how much grime came off. That gray treated pine is actually yellow! No way! It looked almost brand new.
Rather than using a natural oil, we applied a stain in a chocolatey merbau colour. I didn’t snap any pictures during this since it was a pretty messy job. We chose brushes over padded applicators in order to get into all the grooved surfaces.
The stain itself wasn’t too bad to use, its pigment and solvent integrated well after a good stir, but it was a warm day out so we did get some patchiness on the first coat. It all evened out after the second coat.
Be warned: treated pine is thirsty stuff! I don’t remember what the stated coverage was on the Feast Watson tin, but I’d estimate it at 3m² per litre for raw treated pine. It took six litres to apply one coat to this 18m² deck. Not great. The second coat used half that amount again, so, nine litres total for two coats.
Here’s how the deck looks now, reassembled and rearranged. Jamie got the idea to put the grill on the other side of the deck, opening up this end. It’s our little low-rent conservatory and I love being here.
I left the railings and ceiling beams untouched, because I intend to coat them with an inky charcoal stain. Totally hoping it’ll look sophisticated and greenhouse-like. Jamie wants to replace the railings altogether and install steel handrails and wires, but these ones will keep until then.
We’ve also acquired some furniture! Now when you come and visit, you might not have to sit in a camping chair. We spent a while hemming and hawing over deck chairs before we went with these, which you can find at your local big green box. They tick the right boxes: foldable, made from quality materials, not hideously expensive, not ugly. Design-wise, I do wish the tops were flat rather than curved with prominent end pieces, but overall I like the shape and the interconnecting slats. Sold.
The table is a crappy $10 tip shop special that will tide us over until we get a nicer table. It’ll keep. Although, that said, there’s merit in having an outdoor table that’s not too precious.
The merbau stain isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking that our treated pine is actually hardwood, no, but it looks like a million bucks compared to the dried-out, dirty yellow-grey it was before. I’m really happy with it. We’ll give it a topcoat of plain oil next summer, and here’s hoping we get at least 3-5 years out of the stain itself before re-staining.