Q: First-time homeowner and first-time stainer here! I had a small porch made out of untreated wood built last summer that I would now like to stain. I like the redwood look I see throughout the neighborhood, what I think of as the most common color of stain around!

I purchased two sample packets of stain, both by Olympic. One was a toner and one was a semi-transparent version of the same redwood color. I applied them both to a piece of wood leftover from my porch and they both went on like a watercolor paint — very thin, very clear and not deep colors at all. I feel it colored it maybe only a shade darker than what the natural wood is.

I do realize this wood is not the optimal wood to build with, but it has got to be stainable! (Please tell me it is!) Do you have any suggestions as far as getting a deep red/brown coloring to soak in the wood and give it the rich look? Is there something I’m doing wrong? Is there a better stain for this type of wood, or do I just start considering paint? Any suggestions would be great.

A: No need to start considering paint just yet.

All wood is made up of fibers and cells in different degrees and configurations. The more "open" the cell structure, the more readily it will absorb liquids, such as stain. So all woods will accept stain to some degree, some more than others. Some woods — pine and oak for example — will even absorb stain very differently within the same piece. Other factors include how wet or dry the wood is, how weathered it is, how smoothly sanded, etc.

One of the first things you need to do is determine what type of wood was used to build the porch. You mentioned that it was not pressure-treated and it is apparently not redwood. Fir, hemlock, cedar and pine would be some other common porch woods, but there are others as well. I would suggest that you either ask the person who built the porch, or take a sample down to your local lumberyard and ask one of the people there to identify it for you. Stick with a dedicated lumberyard, not a home center.

Armed with that knowledge, I want you to next go to a paint store — again, a dedicated paint store, not a home center. Show them the type of wood you’re working with and the color you’re hoping to achieve, and they can work with you to select the proper type of stain and the proper color, as well as giving you tips on how to apply it. Bring the wood sample with you as well, and they may be able to test it for you to see if the color is going to come out the way you want. …CONTINUED

Q: I am going to be building a cover over my deck. I am going to have to put it about 15-18 inches up on the existing roof (about the back of the eve) in order to get the slope needed for drainage. I have been looking for a bracket that will hold a ledger board up slightly off the roof, so water can go under and not rot the board. I have not found a bracket that will do this. The closest thing I have found is a basic 90-degree, 1-inch-wide, angle bracket that you can find in any hardware store, but I do not think it will be strong enough. Any suggestions?

A: Because you are looking at a bracket that needs to have the proper slope to match both the house roof and the roof over the deck, you may not find a stock item that fits exactly. I would suggest you check out the Simpson Strong-Tie Web site at www.strongtie.com. Simpson is probably the largest manufacturer of metal hangers, brackets and connectors for the construction industry, and if anyone will have it they will. If you find something in their online catalog that will work, just jot down the stock number — and if your local lumberyard or hardware store doesn’t have it, they can order it for you.

If you can’t find anything there, you’ll have to have ones made. If you can make a simple sketch of what you need, any local welder will be able to weld or bend brackets to your specifications, and the cost should be pretty reasonable.

I’ll also suggest another alternative. Install a ledger board flat on the roof, parallel with the eaves, and secure it to the roof by screwing it down into the rafters. Cut the ends of the deck covering rafters on an angle so that they lay down flat on the ledger and create the angle of slope you want for the roof over the deck, then fasten the rafters to the ledger board. Install your roofing on the deck cover, and then install a sheet metal flashing that tucks under the house roofing and goes over the deck cover roofing. Water coming down off the roof will be channeled up onto the deck cover, where it will then run off. Since the ledger is completely under cover, it won’t get wet. For a little additional assurance, you can use pressure-treated lumber for the ledger.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paulbianchina@inman.com.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Inman Connect Las Vegas is back and there are only a few presale tickets left! Register today before they're gone.REGISTER×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription