Staining the Deck Gone Wrong

I mentioned last week that we stained the deck.

This has been a very difficult process since thanks to the time change we only have about an hour, at most, of daylight every evening. Last weekend we moved everything off the deck, and power washed it. Which, we’ve decided needs to be done every spring, because it was beyond gross. I actually fell one day off the top steps because it was rainy that day and I stepped onto a dirtier area that had become super slick. Not again folks.

After cleaning, we waited for the weekend to get our stain on. Last time we did it on a weeknight and we were out there in the dark until 10:30pm. We learned our lesson. Mike picked the color last time and he picked Warm Golden Honey, which I’ll admit was not my favorite. It definitely faded a lot after this photo, but it was always a little too orange for my taste:


So, this time I wanted to go with a dark color, Sherwin Williams Charwood (SW3542):

SW 3542 CharwoodVia

We bought 6 gallons (the amount we used last time – thanks past Mallory for writing that note in the blog!) and went to work on Sunday.  When we started the stain looked really gray.  Like, light blue gray, but we had hours of work ahead of us, so I just assumed that as it dried it would (I don’t know, magically?) turn dark brown.  We used 2 gallons up when Mike opened the third and we realized the problem.  The 3rd gallon was the gorgeous brown you see up there, while the 2 we used were tinted Charwood using a weathered gray base.  What are the chances that we pick the 2 out of 6 that are mistinted to start with? 

We had all ready done a third of the deck at this point so our only solution was to return to Sherwin Williams and exchange all of our Charwood for the weathered gray color. 

Instead of my awesome dark brown deck, we have a giant light gray, almost blue one.  Womp, womp.


The more I think about it, the more bummed I get.  I told Mike while we were staining – as a sick joke – that the only good thing about having to stain every couple of years is that I’ll get my Charwood deck in 2-3 years when we have to redo this horrible process again!



I guess if we weren’t so pressed for time (no more staining in November!) to get this project completed, we would have opened more cans to see if they were all gray, taken the 3 seconds to see the bases were labeled differently, or freakin’ tested it on a piece of scrap wood!  Coulda shoulda woulda. 

The next 5-6 months the deck will probably be covered in snow, so we’ll see how I feel once spring time rolls around.  Hopefully the warm weather will make me forget about this feeling and I’ll get excited again about decorating the deck. 


  1. Hi Mallory, in your weathered gray pic, is that semi transparent stain or semi solid? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi! I believe it's a semi-transparent stain, but it's Charwood mixed in the Weathered Gray base (the computers were down that day and they manually mixed it not noticing the mix-up).

  2. Hi Mallory! Is this a water or oil based stain?

  3. I think it still looks much better than the yellowish previous color!