I’m a fan of wood decks. First of all, I love outdoor spaces and when we’re at our home in Punta Gorda, FL we spend as much time outside as we can, even in August! Secondly, compared to other outdoor surface options such as brick, stone, or concrete, I much prefer to work with wood. It’s a material I feel comfortable with, know how to work, and have the right tools for. It’s also relatively affordable. That’s why, about eight or nine years ago, I built my huge backyard deck out of pressure treated lumber.
Unfortunately, I’ll soon be rebuilding large portions of that deck. Why? Because much of the wood is totally ruined from just seven years of exposure to the Southwest Florida sun, rain, and heat. I’ve got cracked boards, buckled boards, and rotten boards all because I never took the time to do the one important requirement of using real wood for a deck… I never maintained it or coated it with any sort of waterproofing.
Big mistake, and one I did not want to make again with my small front porch deck, which I built about a year ago out of the same thing…standard pressure treated lumber. (Southern Yellow Pine, in my case)
So I made my way up to Walmart to buy some Thompson’s Waterproofing Stain. I chose from a number of Thompson’s products, which are well established as a trusted protector of exterior wood everywhere. The original Thompson’s Water Seal is a clear sealant that goes on very easy but provides no color options. Then there is a semi-transparent stain option that is just a step below paint in terms of opacity, you can see the wood grain through it, but not so much.
The other option, the one I chose, was the Tinted Waterproofing Stain. This product protects the wood, adds some color which I wanted, and still lets the natural wood grain show through. Wood grain makes me happy.
At less than $20.00 per gallon, I couldn’t complain about the price, especially given the strong coverage. Based on what little I used for two coats on my front porch, I estimate coverage at about 300sf per gallon, but that always depends on the wood you’re working with and just how porous it is or isn’t. Bottom line in my case… it cost me about $3.00 for the stain to waterproof my front porch. Throw in another $4.00 for a throwaway foam roller and plastic roller pan and I was able to do my whole porch for about $7.00.
Application is Quick and Easy
It took me less than an hour! It was a pretty hot day so the Thompson’s Waterproofing Stain dried pretty fast, allowing me to put a second coat on twenty minutes after the first was done. Both coats went on super easily with a foam roller and a cheap brush to reach between the boards and coat the edges. This stain was pretty thin, which means it “lays out” easily. That lets you work pretty fast without worrying about getting an uneven finish. Application really couldn’t have been much easier.
The finished product was better than we expected. I went with the Cedar color to compliment our red front door and the red mulch we use in the adjacent flowerbed. I love the color. It really took the plain pressure treated wood and made it look like something fancy. Other color options include Desert Brown and Nutmeg.
It’s also clearly protecting the wood at the same time. When I woke up the next morning, it had rained a little and water was neatly beaded up on the deck surface…which means it wasn’t soaking in to my wood, so the project was a success. The only drawback is that now I’ve forced my own hand on the lower portion of our deck, the step, and the columns, all of which I’ve been telling Kim I’d take care of for a year (or so). Way to think ahead… 🙂
If you’ve got a wood deck that needs protection, don’t make the very costly mistake I made with my backyard deck. Take the time to put a couple coats of Thompson’s on it and hit it again every year or two. If you do that, you’ll find that wood can last a very very long time indeed. From what I understand, the product I used is available exclusively at Walmart.