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Learning the lessons of house ownership

You know how when you come home from vacation and you just can’t get into the groove again?  How you don’t want to sit in an office on a lovely summer afternoon but would rather be on a beach or in a garden with a cool glass at your side and a good book in your hand?

Since my return from jolly old Britain it is taking a bit to kick start the old work ethic.

But I haven’t just been sitting around!

First, a little background.

Before DH and I moved into our laneway we owned a condo.  And before that we were renters.  And it doesn’t take long to forget how much work it takes to keep a place in good shape when those problems are taken care of by strata boards and landlords. But now we are happy to embrace the work that will keep our house looking great — and we are also happy to lend our time and our sturdy arms to the folks in the main house when they want to spruce up their place (especially since we’re looking at it a lot of the time).

DD and DSIL are proud homeowners, and they like to keep their place looking good.  The first thing they did when they moved in about six years ago was to replace the rickety back stairs with a nice deck.  They hired a contractor and took out the permits and did the deed properly.  But they were badly advised when it came to the finish on the wood.  It was a kind of varnish that cracked and peeled almost immediately.

So they tried to remove it with a nasty chemical.  And by sanding.  And by sanding again.  But it still didn’t look that great.


On Canada Day we all got out with various sanding methods and went at it one more time.  We took off as much of the surface as we could.  Then we ate barbecued chicken and drank beer because — hey!  Canada Day, eh?

Then last afternoon/evening we all gathered again to stain said deck.  Bad weather had kept us from doing it last weekend, we needed time to put on two coats with a drying time between, but both coats had to be applied within a 24 hour period.  So we started in the late afternoon, and stained and stained and stained and stained.  Then we broke for dinner.  Then we repeated the process.  And I’ve got to say it looks a lot better:


The stain will also be used on those posts beneath the deck, on the table and benches you see, and on the fence and the roof of the shed.  So I see a lot of staining in my future.  But it makes a huge difference in the appearance of the deck.

The railing before:


The railing after:


Makes me want to get out the paint brushes and start on the fence, but I will hold back until my muscles recover.

Staining is hard work!  But the nice surprise for me was to find that it’s all water-based now and clean up was a breeze.

About ladywholivesdownthelane

Starting the adventure of building a laneway house in the real-estate jungle of Vancouver, BC

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