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Deckin’ out our Deck (and a Giveaway!)

Thanks for sponsoring this post, HomeRight!

Remember last spring when we built our new deck? First it looked like a tragic little concrete slab.

Then we whipped up a little deck which basically rocked our (outdoor living) world this summer.

Aww, sweet Marley.

The deck definitely looked unfinished (‘cuz it was). We had to let the pressure-treated wood weather (or something?) for a few months before we could stain it but now it has a new semi-transparent stain and is lookin’ So-Hawt-Right-Now.
How to stain a deck
We had one TINY bump in the road – which I’ll tell you about in a sec – but otherwise, staining the deck was a quick-and-dirty instant-gratification project, which is how every single DIY project should be, according to me.

First we cleaned the grodiness off the deck. HomeRight sent us their fancy little Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom, which hooks up to your hose and sprays water while you scrub. TELL ME THAT’S NOT SMART. You can’t tell me. Because it is.
How to wash a deck: HomeRight Deck Washer Flow-through Broom
We scrubbed with a deck cleaning solution til all the junk that had accumulated was gone and the wood was as sparklingly fresh as the day it was born. Er, built. Then you’re supposed to let the wood dry out for 3-5 days, which was actually 24 hours for us because were impatient, and worried that birds would be trying to poop right on our deck (literally, aiming for our fresh clean wood) and we’d have to start all over again.

When it came to choosing the right color stain, y’all, I had no idea what I was doing. How do you choose a stain color?! I know nothing about this. Should it be red? Brown? Gray? Beats me!

The back of our house is a light, light gray with white trim and a red door.

I think brown might’ve been nice and warm, but decided to go with a cooler darker version of our siding color. I have no idea if this is correct or what you’re supposed to do. I just decided that we’ll be the only ones who see it so how bad can it be, right? (Just wait.)

We grabbed a bunch of stain color chips from the home improvement store. I sorted through them for colors I liked then googled that color to see if I could find a picture of it used on someone else’s project. I really liked this color, which is Cabot Dark Slate.
How to build a deck

Bob Vila

Looks like a nice cool gray, right? We grabbed a can of it in a semi-transparent stain and got to work.
how to stain a deck
Our tools of choice were the HomeRight StainStick (above) and the HomeRight Deck Pro with Gap Wheel, which is not pictured above but looks like this and is made to stain between the boards where you’d otherwise miss.
190107_GapWheel 4034
We decided to divide and conquer. Andy was on the StainStick, so he dipped this little extender thing into the can of stain and the StainStick soaked up the stain, then dispensed it as he brushed.
Tricks to staining a wood deck
How to stain a wooden deck
Isn’t that SO smart? We LOVED this thing.

(Is it just me, or do Andy’s veins need their own TV show or something? At least their own twitter account.)

Meanwhile, I worked with the Deck Gap Pro, rolling that little wheel thing in the gaps between the boards.
Stain a wood deck with homeright deck gap pro
I must admit: I was raised by a carpenter who instilled in me the belief that the “right” way to do things is to use good old-fashioned brushes and rollers, so I was skeptical before I started using the HomeRight tools. Not anymore. Andy and I kept saying over and over as we stained: “HOW would you even do this project without these tools? How would you get in the cracks between the boards? This project would be SO much harder.” Honestly: I will never stain a deck any other way.

Working simultaneously, we had the whole thing finished in a couple hours. But just after we’d gotten started, Weston wandered over to the deck and said, “What are you doing, mom? Painting?”
Me: “Just staining the deck.”
Weston: “What color? Purple?”
Me: “No, bud, it’s gray.”

Cue record-scratch sound effect! Andy and I looked around and both realized at the exact same moment, OMG, it looks SO purple right now!
Choosing a stain color for your deck
Me: “No, Weston, this is GRAY. IT IS GRAY!” (I said, frantically, trying to convince myself and willing to sacrifice my child’s understanding of color to do so.)

We were already too far gone to change the stain color, so we finished up and hoped it would look different after it dried. The next morning we came downstairs and Weston went to the back door, looked outside at the deck and said, “Mom, I LOVE our purple deck!”


The deck didn’t change color and it still does look purplish. I’ve just chosen to ignore that and see gray instead. I invite you to do the same!
Stained wooden deck at View Along the Way
You may need to adjust your monitor.

I don’t know what happened with the color. Maybe our can was mixed wrong because it doesn’t resemble the chip to me. But it is what it is, and that is GRAY. IT IS GRAY.

Make sure you swing by HomeRight’s website for any staining or painting projects you have coming up!

Tricks to staining your deck quickly and easily!

Have you guys tried any cool newfangled tools that actually did what they promised? Ever had a stain color disaster?
UPDATE: HomeRight is giving away all the tools I used in this post! You guys are going to LOVE these! Enter via the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was sponsored by HomeRight, but all opinions are my own, as always!

Let's connect


  1. Julia @Cuckoo4Design says:

    I happen to really love the color. Looks awesome and while I don’t have a deck, I will have to tell my neighbors about these tools because they always complain about having to take care of it.

  2. I love the new color. And I also love those stick tools with the paint in the handle that keeps you from dipping your roller all the freaking time for indoor painting…

  3. well you know me and gray is my neutral and i love it!

  4. I think it looks great! By the way, I couldn’t respond to your comment about my bench the other day, because you have the “no reply” set up. Not sure if you know that. Hope you’re doing well!

  5. I don’t think it looks to purple-y, and I bet as it weathers over time it’ll change colors. That totally happens. I think? haha

  6. I think it looks great! I wouldn’t have called it purple. Although I do love purple, so, you know….

  7. I LOVE it. I totally don’t see the purple and I think you guys did an incredible job.

  8. It may “appear” purple-ish because you got a transparent version, and may have forgotten to consider your deck’s starting color – the unfinished wood. People build deck out of different naturally colored wood, so the stain itself may be gray, but then over-top your unfinished deck color, made it turn into a purpley-grey color? Hope that makes sense. I believe that may have been what happened here.

    • yes, this. I also think it needs another coat or two. The RED in the wood showing through the blues in the gray will make it look purple. I would add a coat. Also- the “stain” in your photo is not really looking like a traditional stain where the wood shows through. It looks more opaque like paint.

  9. just started following your blog when i read how you “ruined” your kitchen remodel the other day and now THIS! It’s making me think I’ve written these posts myself and have amnesia!! Do you live next door? Are we friends and I’ve forgotten? Girl, I am so right there with you! Thanks for letting me know I’m not screwing it up alone! Love your stuff!

    • thanks for the heads up on the giveaway! BTW, I don’t see this as grey, either. i would totally use this color . . . if i had a deck!

  10. Love this tutorial! Where is the pin button?

  11. Come to my house next. PleaseThankYou.

  12. I don’t see purple at all! It’s more of a dark, slate blue to me. 🙂 Either way I think it looks great!

  13. If it makes you feel any better I actually didn’t even notice the purple-ish tint until you (your little boy) said something! I kind of do see the purple-ish tint now, maybe even a blue tint, but I first thought it was a pretty cool gray. =]

  14. Kelly, you crack me up with every single post! The deck looks great even if it is gray/purple and I love the fact that your son Loves it! he he he
    Looking forward to Andy’s veins twitter account!

  15. I love that color. Wow. Great choice! Almost makes it look like a synthetic decking material.

  16. I actually like it! As I was reading, and the picture where you had first put down the color… I thought it looked like a cobalt, navy blue. I don’t think it looks purple but more of a navy!

  17. hmmm it does look a tad….purple. Purple decks are in though…didn’t you know??

    And WOW i love this tool. We have to stain our deck too (not purple though) before winter gets here….(we better get moving i know) i need to look into this stuff ASAP.

  18. I LOVE IT! That color is beautiful! I want a deck 🙂 Seriously, I’m oogling all over this!

  19. I love your GRAY deck stain!! It really does look great, and, bonus, it makes Weston happy!!

  20. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is Grey, but its a beautiful deck none the less!

  21. The deck is definitely gray! And I do think Andy’s veins need a twitter account 😉 lol!!

  22. LOL, for real it looks gray on my screen! Honestly it does :-)) Nice job!

  23. We really need to stain our deck, so this would be perfect! And I think yours looks great 🙂

  24. Thanks for the chance to win! New homeowner and have recently started diy’ing the heck out of it! haha

  25. I totally see the gray! I understand your hesitation though – I waffle over paint and stain colors for months before choosing, and often see “undertones” that weren’t there before once it’s all on. (I still get made fun of by the people who love me most about my fear of “undertones”…)

    Looks great though! Been putting off staining my deck (or should I say cleaning and prepping my deck for stain) for a while now, so maybe this will be some inspiration! Thanks!

  26. It looks grey to me! You all did a great job.

  27. I like the color, and I totally see the gray! I wish I had a deck so I could enter the giveaway! That stain stick looks super fun to use!

  28. I think it does look gray, but some parts look a little tiny bit purple. It’s not a bad thing though — I think it compliments your back door color nicely!

  29. Looks totally gray to me! That wheel thingy is genius!

  30. Love the GRAY deck 🙂 It really works with the blue rug.

  31. What a super cool tool to stain the deck! I absolutely need of those if we ever stain anything. I love your grey stain! I see no purple here. 🙂

  32. We also have gray basement walls. I, like you, have decided to see gray and not purplish.

  33. I stained our deck railing this fall (the flooring is composite and requires no maintenance). I used Sherwin-Williams Deckscapes. It’s more paint than stain and I really loved it. However, when I was using our power washer I smelled smoke. Turned around and the power washer was billowing out smoke! If you decide to give it another whirl I highly recommend the Deckscapes, you can apply it with a paint roller and it’s runny so it should cover in those cracks well.

    • My uncle used that on his deck and he said it still looks exactly the same three years later. Why we did not use the same stuff I cannot tell you.

  34. The deck is sooooo gray, it’s not even funny.

    Also, did Grey’s Anatomy confuse you about the proper way to spell Gray? I still can’t figure it out. Thanks, McDreamy.

  35. Well it doesn’t look purple in the pictures, but give it time! Stain changes so much over time! Hopefully you will love it soon(er than later)!

  36. Can you possibly do another layer? Or perhaps paint over it? Either way it looks nice!

  37. Of course the deck is grey. I usually pick the wrong color stain on the first go-round and straighten it out with a second coat of a slightly different shade. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  38. I see more of a royal blue…maybe that’s a little better? The big picture, with the rug and furniture, doesn’t look off colored to me at all and looks really nice! We don’t have a deck, but I feel like those tools could come in handy when/if we ever get around to refinishing these hardwood floors, especially the one that sucks the stain into the pole!

  39. I just love this GRAY deck! It really looks sharp and I think you were right to go GRAY against the lightness of the house. You sure make deck staining seem easy, I would love to give it a try!

  40. I like it. It is funny, my husband just cleaned out deck too and we need to stain it. Too bad it started raining before the 3-5 day dry out! Maybe we will win awesome deck staining tools in the mean time?

  41. True story, the deck looks gray. I didn’t see purple at all, but who am I to argue with Weston? Not me, that’s who.

  42. Your new deck looks great! Thanks for sharing! Erin @ House Envy

  43. I didn’t even notice it was purple until you mentioned it. At least it isn’t Barney purple!

  44. Love kids and their honest opinions! Don’t think I’d call it purple, looks simple enough.

  45. LOVE the color. When we get a new deck (someday!), I’ll be pushing for this stain!

  46. I love it. Looks gray to me!

  47. I see gray! I never thought it looked purple. In fact, we’re planning on building a pressure-treated deck next summer and when I saw your stain I thought it looked perfect! Does it look different in person than in your pictures? The photos look great!

  48. I really love the colour actually. It did look purple-y when it was wet in the photo but it dried a lot greyer. I see grey.

  49. We just finished putting up a new deck this year, all 40’x16′ of it, so these tools could certainly come in handy next summer when it’s staining time.

  50. Shannon Baas says:

    I looks gray to me.

  51. That gap tool is right up my alley. The less bending over the better, which is why my favorite gardening tool is this weed puller that you use while STANDING UP! Brilliant, and so satisfying to use: It was $30 well spent.

  52. Love your color choice! What a transformation!

  53. Maybe it’s just my computer but I really like the color and it doesn’t seem very purple at all. Maybe you’ll like it more when it’s faded.

  54. I have that issue with my walls in my living room. Some people dare call it sand or *beige* – when it is clearly, CLEARLY a warm gray. It does provide you some means to quickly being able to pick your true friends, so there is that. 🙂

  55. The things they make these days! Love me some gadgets. And don’t worry, I had a brown sofa for 5 years that everyone said was purple. Party poopers 😉

  56. Sarah Preston says:

    THIS IS AMAZING. We have a teeny slab in our backyard and this gives me so.much.hope because I was really wondering what we were going to do back there! Now I have a plan, and hopefully will win the tools to do the job! 🙂

  57. This is an amusing post. thank you. Also – love how you’ve added an outdoor rug and colorful pots creating a functional outdoor room.

  58. Love it! We just stained our deck over the summer and we so desperately needed these!

  59. Okay, try as I may, I don’t see any purple or even blue. No worries, it looks fabulous!

  60. You have impeccable timing

  61. The deck is definitely gray! I think it looks fantastic! Great color choice!

  62. LOVE IT! I bet another coat or two would get what your inspiration was. Enjoy!!

  63. Looks great! I have never seen the gap wheel before…what a ridiculously fantastic idea!!

  64. I totally saw grey, it does not look purple to me at all!

  65. If that is purple, I love purple! It’s not purple. It’s perfect.

  66. I think it’s gray. It looks nice!

  67. The deck is grey!

  68. The deck is gray! I could use this for my deck. Thanks for the chance!

  69. Your deck is totally grey. I, however, seem to have stained my orange. Like, O-range. Orange you glad wood doesn’t look like this naturally? Needless to say, it needs a re-do.

  70. Perfect timing — we’re hoping to stain our deck before it gets too cold!

  71. I love it! I didn’t see purple until you mentioned it and now I can’t stop. So just keep calling it gray on repeat and I’m sure it will have the same effect!!

  72. The top electric pressure washer offered by Karcher is the 1500 psi, 1.

    For one, the drying and washing capacities of these machines are almost always unequal; if you lots of clothes, you may have to perform to drying cycles to dry all of them.
    You are wasting that original heating input as well.

  73. Those tools are so cool! The deck looks great!

  74. I don’t think it looks TOO purple, think it looks great next to the house 🙂

  75. It’s gray…ish. It looks fantastic though so even if you see some purple, it still looks great!

  76. Our deck really needs refininshing. That was on the project list for this summer, but now that there’s 6 inches of snow on it, doesn’t look like it’s going to get done this year.

  77. I didn’t think the deck looked purple in the first photo. Of course, in the last one it had a purplish-hue, but nothing wrong with that! 🙂
    Great review of the products.

  78. The deck looks gray to me!! 🙂

  79. Tari Lawson says:

    The deck is gray.

  80. Whatever color it is, it’s fantastic!

  81. Wait..that’s not gray! I had no idea:) The deck looks AWESOME Kelly!

  82. I was already on HomeRight’s site adding things to my cart before I saw the We moved into a new home over the summer and the previous owner had to add new railings to be up to code so we are waiting until Spring to stain the whole deck. These tools would be a phenomenal help it looks like!

  83. Kelly, this happened to us three years ago when we stained our deck– we kept seeing ‘purple’ in our gray and/or brown stains! We ended up going with a dark brown stain just so it didn’t read purple. I love Cabot because it covers well but I do think they need to work on their color formula (though, your deck IS gray, it IS, and NOT purple, but I’m just sayin’, for Weston’s sake, Cabot might need to tweak a bit.}

  84. Katie McCormick says:

    Looks gray to me! That wheel thing is genius! We have to stain our recently built deck too & that will be such an awesome tool to use- thanks for sharing!

  85. definitely grey!!

  86. Well, I didn’t see purple until you said purple, but now I see purple. I bet in a few months it will fade a bit from sun and weather and will just what you envisioned. And it’s not THAT purple 🙂

  87. phyllis henry says:

    I think the deck will mellow into the gray you want. Looks great!

  88. Amy Bostic says:

    I really like the color….looks great

  89. Love the tools. That is so cool. And I think your stain looks like a lovely shade of grey.

  90. I actually think it looks good with the siding, whatever color it is!

  91. Your deck looks great to me…I love the GRAY color!! 🙂 We have a deck on our house that needs to be stained. These tools would be SO useful! Thank you for the giveaway!! 🙂

  92. Looks grey to me! Great job!

  93. Totally grey. Once, I painted my boys room what I thought was a brown and it looked purple. It was terrible. But by then I didn’t feel like reprinting so they were stuck with it until we moved. Ha!

  94. The deck looks great and it’s totally grey. We just redid our back deck add well and our waiting for the wood to cure so these tools would be perfect.thank you.

  95. Your deck looks great it is SOOO GRAY 😉

  96. It’s GreyAll Day! l Would LOve The Wheel tool!

  97. My deck is in dire need of staining! I refuse to stain again with a paint brush, so winning would be AWESOME! 🙂

  98. Looks great and super easy!

  99. it’s definitely in the grey family, doesn’t look at all overtly purple, I’d say you’re good to go. 🙂

  100. Nice. I’m staining my deck this weekend. Maybe I will win those awesome tools!

  101. Looks pretty gray to me! We actually just started staining our desk this past weekend.. could have used this for sure!

  102. I think it looks great 🙂

  103. The funny thing is that had you not said it looked purple, I would have never thought so! My first response upon seeing it was, ‘Oooh, a fantastic driftwood gray deck!’

  104. It does not even look gray – but I know how you feel when a color just doesn’t fit right to you. Amazing job!

  105. When we stained out deck it was supposed to be a redwood color and was a pumpkin color, so I think your grey would be better than our pumpkin color, LOL. Makes life fun…:)

  106. Found your blog via pinterest. THOSE TOOLS LOOK AMAZING. We need to stain a deck…but it’s on the second floor…wonder if it decreases the amount of drippage? Great tut! Thanks for the giveaway!

  107. perfect timing! we are staining our deck soon! btw, it’s gray 🙂

  108. Your deck looks great! We need to stain ours but have put it off so these tools would be awesome

  109. Jill Myrick says:

    The deck is grey…lol.
    but I love the color and think that it looks great.


  110. Looks awesome! Super cool tools that we could use when its time to stain Our new deck.

  111. Totally looks gray to me! 🙂 Love it!!! We want to refinish our deck this fall and these would be so LOVELY to win!!! I hope we win!!

  112. Looks gray to me!

  113. It does have a purple tone but it’s nice. The blue rug makes it look more purple.

  114. I love it! We’re in the picking colors to stain the deck right now 🙂

  115. I think it looks great! And grey! Totally grey!

    That deck washer is pretty sweet!

  116. My deck is gray and needs to be stained

  117. Gray…. Definitely gray..

  118. Whatever, I totally see gray. And I was thinking how awesome our deck would look in that color. Andddd our deck is way ready, as it has been aging for, oh, 6 years now.

  119. Rebecca Lock says:

    The deck is gray and I really need to clean and stain my deck.

  120. I love the look of your new deck. 🙂

  121. How did you stain the underside? My understanding is that all six sides of boards must be stained, or the stain will be more likely to fail.

  122. Just found you and love it. I too, sigh, just stained my deck with a color that doesn’t match the swatch 🙂 It was sherwin Williams semi transparent Hawthorne. Way too brown (light brown) after second coat applied and looks like paint. Has the semi transparent faded at all on yours. Which looks great in the picture by the way but I know those can be deceiving!

    • Hmmm, I hadn’t noticed fading until you specifically asked, but I’m actually sitting on the deck right now typing this and you know, I think it is a little faded just from a few months ago. :/

  123. Your deck looks great! I’d caution against adding another coat – unless you decide you hate the color. The more stain you have on your deck, the more likely it is to start peeling down the road. Trust me, I am unfortunately speaking from experience here. It is no fun have to sand down a deck with peeling stain! I put as thin a coat as possible every time and yet again my deck is beginning to peel. (Sigh)

    • Oh nooo! I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I definitely won’t add another coat then, thanks for the warning!

  124. Deck Work says:

    Great post! Been reading a lot about doing some deck work. Thanks for the info here!

  125. I love the article. 30+ yrs of hairdressing & tarbending has taken a major toll on my upper flipperz and I can no longer do either as a profession. Anywho, I just had a deck built and thought, no way will staining be done here. I do believe a friend and I WILL be doing this!

  126. Oh my gosh I know this post is old but I HAVE to tell you. We stained our deck this summer and 1) Those tools would’ve made life SO MUCH EASIER (we used a roller and paintbrush – I think my back STILL hurts) and 2) the SAME thing happened with our stain, only ours came out PINK! We took it back right away, it was NOTHING like the paint chip (like a natural looking brown with just a tiny red tint). We returned it right away. Your color turned out nice, luckily! But there must be something in the way that they mix stains that gets messed up easily. I have no idea.

  127. The deck looks simply amazing. Great work!! You really put great efforts to accomplish this task. The color, texture, location and size everything is perfect. Well done.

  128. I think you did a great job on staining your deck! A great way to keep your color from becoming dreary or “purply” is to seal and reseal your deck. There is actually a special kind of sealant made specifically for brightening wood. It has the ability to restore patios and decks to their natural color. Bonus: the brand I’m familiar with has a 25-year warranty, while most sealants only last for a couple of years!

  129. Noah Cooper says:

    This is cool, you can also do the deck sealing before everything in the future, it goes as dock maintenance.

  130. Hello! I know this post is 3-4 years old, but my husband and I are planning on building a deck over a concrete slab very similar to this project! I was just curious the size of your deck and (if you don’t mind me asking) the overall cost to build it?


  1. […]  From disgusting concrete slab to nice family deck.  I love the […]

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