I originally wrote this post as a detailed account of how I waterproofed the deck. Then, I realized that waterproofing a deck is kind of boring. Really, what I had to say boiled down to one point.
(our deck before cleaning and waterproofing - can you tell where the doormat was?)
Since I had never used a waterproofing product before, I read the directions in the store to make sure I had all the equipment I would need. The "application" instructions say: "Apply by brush, roller, dipping, or sprayer. A garden 'pump-up' style sprayer is the simplest method." Alright then. I dutifully bought a pump-up style garden sprayer. I was all for the simplest method.
(the deck scrubbed clean)
After I had cleaned the deck, I was ready to spray the water sealer on the deck with my pump-up style garden sprayer. I put the sprayer together, filled it up, and pumped. I set it to spray a "fine mist," but all that came out was a thick stream, which actually mostly landed on an azalea, rather than on the deck. I took the sprayer apart, put it back together, and went to it. Still, thick stream. When I tried to turn the nozzle clockwise to get a finer mist, it fell off. When I turned it the other direction, it still projected a thick stream, but just a more forceful and less accurate thick stream. Which hit the window of the house, and had to be removed with paint thinner. I took the sprayer apart again, and it leaked waterproofer all over the deck, so I had to sort of swish that around and rub it in, but there was still a big oily patch (fortunately, underneath where our grill goes). This went on and on, until I finally gave up. I got a cheap paint brush and an old dishrag. I painted it on, and wiped it off -- similar to how you would apply stain to wood. I used half the amount of water sealer, and it took half the time.
It was good that I read the directions, but a little common sense would also have helped. When applying an unfamiliar product, using unfamiliar equipment is rarely going to be the "simplest method." Maybe it would have been faster, had I already known how to use the garden sprayer, or had I gotten one that could handle the viscous, oily waterproofer (the one I had was designed for weed killer or something). But as it stood, it was anything but simple. I also ran out of waterproofer before I was completely done, due to the fact that, when trying to use the simplest method, I had waterproofed some compost, a window, and an azalea, rather than the deck -- so I had to make a second trip to the store for more waterproofer. Trying to "simplify" things actually made a one-day project into a two-day project, and required me to buy about $30 worth of equipment and supplies I didn't need.
(progress after the the first day)
And such is life. Buying extra equipment is not simple. Spending a lot of money on kitchen gadgets that do only one thing and organizational systems that don't fit with your personality is not simple. Multi-tasking during your morning routine so you can put your makeup, make the kids' lunches, and eat breakfast simultaneously, thereby saving 5 minutes, is not simple. What's simple is getting up a little earlier, throwing away the crap you don't have room for in your life anymore, and using a 50 cent paintbrush to apply the waterproofer.
I asked Kathy if she thought that the next time we needed to waterproof the deck, we would be rich enough to pay someone else to do it. She laughed. I think that means yes?