I’ve taken a bit of a break for a couple of weeks – life gave me a hell of a sucker-punch that knocked me on my ass. I’ve been nursing emotional scraped knees, bruised bones, black-eyes and a broken heart that I’d rather not get into right now, however I’m trying to get back on track. A literal lifetime ago, before my summer got derailed, I was madly working on getting my back porch sanded and stained – prepped and ready for a few months of backyard fun and sunshine.  I’ve wiped away my tears and thankfully the sun has kept shining and the days are still long. And coming back and finishing my porch has kept my mind off my poor, battered soul.

I started out with a bit of a mess.  Layers of peeling, crappy, orange stain that needed to be scraped and sanded off of old, dried-out wood. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy. It was also raining off and on, so I was trying to get out there when I could – after work in the evenings between the downpours. I don’t have the greatest ‘before’ shot of this process. I did, however, find a combo shot of what the porch floor looked like ‘before’ the scraping and sanding as well as a classic stain color-sample shot. Oooh, how HGTV of me…



Ok, time for a side note and full disclosure: I am insanely impatient when I work on any home improvement project. Especially those that have to do with changing the color of something. I want to slap a coat of paint on everything, right away and see immediate results.  Right, frickin’ NOW……soooo….I have to admit, weeks ago, after I sanded a couple of treads on the steps, I wanted to stain them right away, so I could get a sense of what the end result was going to look like. It was totally stupid of me and I made a complete mess. (I actually stained one step and sanded another MINUTES after staining. The wet step turned into a sticky, globby mess. Man, I’m awesome.) However, for once, my lack of patience actually paid off. My original plan was to stain the steps the same cedar color I chose for my pergola, fence and the privacy screen in my yard. If I didn’t take the time to sit back and really look at the chosen color (in and around the big mess I made) I wouldn’t have realized the color was way too orange for my liking. So, I cleaned up my mess, collected my thoughts, looked at my options and decided to have an honest-to-goodness taste test. The right way:


There are four combinations on the test wood above (from left to right): 100% Olympic Cedar Naturaltone Toner, one coat of Olympic Canyon Brown Toner over top the Cedar, two coats of Olympic Canyon Brown Toner and one lonely coat of Olympic Brown Toner.

Which do you prefer?

My winner? Two coats of Olympic Canyon Brown. I love it. It turned out to be the exact rich, dark brown look I was looking for to create a clean, crisp, classic staircase:



I love it also, because the toner turned out to be just dark enough to fix any imperfections in the wood, but completely transparent so the wood grain shows through.


I also like the two-toned wood contrast in general. I thought it might look  a little weird. Tacky, even. But having a darker floor somehow grounds you when you are standing up there. And the lighter, brighter cedar-colored walls reflect the sun and make it a really cheerful place to be.

So, there you go. Porch is scraped, sanded and stained.

And, check it out. Almost an actual before and after:



Ok, that’s it.

Thanks for being patient with me and coming back and reading my ramblings on this post. I know it’s over the place.

Coming back and finishing this one was harder than you could possibly imagine.

See you around.

xo ~ T.