Small change, big impact on the back porch

The other day, as I was enjoying lunch on our back porch, I thought about the porch posts … I mean really thought about the porch posts. (I’ve never claimed to be normal, people.) Now, mind you, I’ve probably glanced at these porch posts every day for the past three years since we’ve lived in this house. But on this day I saw them differently.


I already knew they needed a coat of new stain because the old coat was fading fast. I had assumed I would just re-stain them the same color green because, well, what else do you do over dark green stain? But as I was pondering my porch post problem, I had an epiphany. I cocked my head to one side and thought, “I wonder if I could use a solid stain in a wood color and just slap it over the green?”

Bingo! By 5 p.m. I was power-washing the posts. (My husband and kids have to live with this insanity.) A few days later, Operation Mahogany Porch Posts was in full swing.


I had to purchase a whole gallon of the solid stain (Zar Exterior Solid Color Deck and Siding Stain in Mahogany), paying around $40 for it. Gulp. I probably only needed about a quart, but I was told by the folks at Ace Hardware that they can’t sell anything smaller if it needs to be custom-mixed. Does anyone know of a place that sells quarts of solid or semi-solid exterior stain? Just curious.


When the drop cloth comes out, this guy heads for the hills. He knows another DIY project is in the works. 😉

I started at the top of each post, brushing my way down and using a generous amount of stain, as the wood seemed to suck it up quickly. I was really happy with the color overall; it was very true to the sample stick in the store. The coverage was excellent, too.

Mahogany-solid-stainIf you’re wondering about the differences in stain opacity and how to pick the right stain coverage for your project, I found this illustration from Cabot on choosing stain opacity to be very helpful.

It only took me about an hour and a half to stain all four porch posts. Overall, I was really happy with the results. I think it gives the porch a more upscale feel.



I also like that the posts match my dumpster-rescued DIY patio set and the DIY oil-rubbed bronze ceiling fan.

DIY patio set


What do you think of my “new” porch posts?

Fall-back-porch-before Solid-stain-porch-posts-after

You may also like...

13 Responses

  1. ted says:

    sherwin williams sells quarts of stains, solid or not

  2. ZoeAnn says:

    LOVE IT!! That stain really did make a huge difference- of course now I’m thinking…. I can do that… however living in a condo complex the stain must all look the same- have you had experience with outdoor curtains? That may be my next project. Thanks for you inspiration!!

  3. gail says:

    Beautiful job Susan! The porch looks so great and inviting. 🙂

  4. Dawn Rene says:

    Right…small change, BIG IMPACT…like when you re-did the ceiling fan. That was an incredible makeover!

  5. joan clanton says:

    i read this post to my husband and he said OMG! there are two of you! — this is totally something i would do. it’s amazing how small things make such a difference. your porch posts are very nice!

  6. I love how you strike when the iron is hot! Cracks me up! Sometimes I drag my feet when starting a project, but once I get the supplies out, it’s a done deal. And, to think, you knocked this project out in just an hour and a half! It’s like DIT care diem!

  7. Patty says:

    Love it, really looks good.

  1. September 12, 2014

    […] Small change, big impact on the back porch […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *