Every so often, a picture does more justice than if the moment wasn’t captured at all. This is an early evening shot as you can maybe see by the moon in the sky. This is a 40 year old wood structure that I first overhauled in 2012.
The February 2018 work weather aligned perfectly for some routine maintenance on these beautiful West Side town homes off Mission Avenue above downtown Santa Cruz. This is the west facing side. Takes a lot of sun..
Call or Text today and schedule a bid. Decks, Shingles, Fences..
With our winter weather being so unseasonably warm and cooperative, this spring project got moved up to January/February 2018. This is an enormous East Facing side of a shingle home in South Santa Cruz. These closeup shots make a couple of points. First, every shingle will forever appear different, regardless of how well maintained they are. And second, you are looking at a very custom marriage between white exterior paint and transparent stain.
Oh Boy, December 9th, not my proudest moment. I had just finished a very tricky and time consuming shingle maintenance project on Pleasure Point. 2017 had proven to be a very good year. The draught that plagued our region for the past five years or so had been declared over, and consequently the pressure washing floodgates had opened up once again. Along with that new found freedom came numerous new clients that were looking to have their deck(s) stained and/or their shingles refinished. Again, it was a very busy and productive year, which is why, despite the unseasonably warm Santa Cruz winter weather, I still decided to shut everything down until the 2018 season.
My phone rang, and I screened the phone call. A short message was left. The message said that I came highly recommended from some forum called “Next Door”. The man left his address, name and number. He and his wife live in the Glen Canyon area between Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley, which for all intents and purposes is close proximity to my personal residence.
He seemed nice enough on the phone. He mentioned that he had already washed his decks and that he just needed somebody to stain the decks. Strike One. He also mentioned that he had done extensive research on deck stains, and that he had purchased ten gallons. Strike Two. As I am listening to this, I am thinking to myself that this guy is down 0-2 in the count, and that before he strikes himself out silly, despite having already ‘thrown in the towel’ for 2017, perhaps I should pay them a visit to at least provide free advice. We were practically neighbors.
It was a 75 degree winter day. The sun was shining. I was relaxed. Quinn and I took a drive up to see these people. The house was beautiful. The decks were good sized. We pull up, and out the front door walks a 70ish year old man, barefoot and in board shorts, with a limp of sorts. My gut feeling from the onset was not a good one. I’ve been visiting homes and giving bids and performing five star work all over this county for 20 years, and something seemed fishy. I have certainly earned the right to have my hunches out in the field.
He led me to the back deck and right away I knew that I wasn’t going to be the guy to do this job. I could get into what I saw and how I perceived what I saw, but that would bore you. I just know what I know, and I knew that this was a trap. And this was a trap that I wasn’t going to fall into. Been there and Done that.
So what did I do? I began asking questions. Lots and lots of questions. Questions about his bush-league wash job. Questions about sun exposure, staining techniques, etc. etc.. Questions that I knew the answer to. I wanted him to talk because I knew w/ certainty that in his mind he’s thinking that the job is like 2/3 complete and he(they) was simply calling the expert to finish the project off. That my friends is a trap!! In my mind, this job hadn’t even been started. Big Difference!
His wife peered out from the back slider as we went walking by. I smiled, shook her hand, and introduced myself.
Around the side part of the deck, this guy had already begun staining the stairs. Naturally I had questions. This is about the time he began to misinterpret my questions. My questions were being misinterpreted because my questions were trick questions that again I already knew the answer to. My questions were my way of saying, “Dude, I know you think you are the expert, and I know you are beginning to think that this is my first day on the job, and I’m sure you’ve read 1000 homeowner forums about deck maintenance, but Dude…you have NO idea what you are doing, and Dude…trust me…I am hyper aware and keen to the fact that you have fallen for my invincibility, and you don’t even know it.”
I finally asked the guy, as I was pointing to the 5-gallon bucket of cheap stain from Home Depot, I said, “Is this the stain you are using?” As I asked the question I knew the answer to, I got down on my hands and knees to read a word or two on the label. And that is when he said this:
“You sure do ask a lot of questions guy! I don’t think you are the right person for this job!”
Music to my ears! I stood up, put my hand out, shook his hand and I believe I said something like “OK, thanks.” I then turned my back and walked away. I walked to the end of his deck, I opened the latch to the gate, walked to my van, started the van and began to slowly drive away. It was weird I admit. A bit tense too I must add. We each rubbed each other the wrong way, no harm no foul..things happen..swallow your ego and move on.
Just about as I was getting out of sight, I heard this 70 year old punk snicker something snide and condescending under his breath. At least he thought it was under his breath. I slammed my brakes as Quinn slammed the dashboard. I put it in park, set the emergency brake, told Dog I’d be right back, opened the door, and ran up to this guy’s chest in the EXACT same manner that George Brett charged the umpire during the Pine Tar Incident.
From somewhere not to distant, I heard his wife screaming for me to “GET OFF THE PROPERTY!!”
I flipped out and laid into this grizzled kook for a good 60 seconds. I gave him everything I had. I must have called him every name in the book. I went so nuts on this guy, I even scared myself. But you know what? Even though I would never do it again, it was totally worth it.
For 20 years I’ve been that guy performing the most sophisticated and honest bit of deck maintenance, shingle maintenance and restoration..Basically all things exterior wood maintenance, staining, sealing, the list goes on. I’ve seen everything. I’ve cleaned everything. I’ve applied over 4000 gallons of high-end, Eco Friendly water based transparent material on all forms of exterior decks, siding, shingles, arbors all over Santa Cruz county. I have probably performed 1500 bids and some 1100 jobs all said, and ALL without incident. It’s a labor of love, and I would have to consider myself the very best at what I do. What’s my point?
My point is that I have forgotten more than this guy will ever know, and I actually haven’t forgotten anything. My passion for this is still at an all-time high. As many times over the course of last 20 years where I had been forced by a client to remain composed, keep all my promises and non-promises, yet stay committed to custom quality work despite the discord, well this complete blowout was for all those other times. All the other times that the client abused his or her privilege despite being treated as though they were King and/or Queen.
After the tirade, I got back in the van, apologized to Dog for exposing her to my dark side, oh and for slamming her into the dash, and we drove on down the hill.
For about four hours, I thought about what had gone down just next door.(pun) Yeah, that was a first for me. On one hand, it was the most unprofessional display of character and business practice ever. But on the other hand, true passion burns deep and sometimes can’t be contained.
Thought you should know..
This is high end lumber on a custom home built in 1995. We began the siding maintenance in 2004. Therefore, in the 13 years since we got the job, this was our fourth time adding a maintenance coat to this South facing wall. From the top, you can see that the staining process is underway. So yeah, 4x in 13 years due to the heavy sun exposure. Many parts of this beautiful home in Live Oak have received only one coat during the past 13 years. Another example of “as needed” exterior wood maintenance. The alternative to “as needed” maintenance is waiting every 10 years to stain the entire home. Bad idea!!
This A-client waited as long as she was capable of waiting before telling me to stop telling her to wait. It was going to be that classic case of client always being right, even though I always know best. The Lowdown: It’s new wood, and was just built a couple months prior. It had definitely turned a little. And by turned I mean that the brand new pinkish white look had faded some. There were bird droppings all over. Many of the boards had already pushed out additional sap. It was no dirtier than it should have been. If it were my deck, I definitely would have waited another 4 months, which would have meant like half the upcoming winter. Well the client wasn’t having any more of my logic, and I was happy to cave in to her request. They are close friends and special clients to me.
I will be keeping a close eye on this new entryway. It’s right in my neighborhood, and I’m always curious. Especially when I reluctantly cave in to a work related request.
Transparent Stain is Extreme by Defy(Dark Tone)
Santa Cruz Deck Maintenance
Pressure Washing, Custom Staining
There were several factors that lead to me agreeing to perform this solid color makeover. It was a full wash, and a partial stain. We stained all the flooring, the top piece of the rail, and too many accents boards to name. I ensured the client that I would tie everything together symmetrically. The goal was to find that balance between investing the right amount into this 30 year old deck. We used a Flood Product that we purchased from King’s Paint & Paper. I forget the exact color. It was my only time working with a solid decking stain this particular deck maintenance season, and by the end of the job, I was reminded 1000x why. To me it felt like I was applying chocolate fudge everywhere. In the end however, and yes it took an additional ten hours of honest labor for me to get to that particular end, the results were quite nice. Most importantly, the client loved it. As always, I was the harsher critic..
More Ipe’. This is a beautiful deck. It’s at least eight years old. The deck is likely 10-12 years old. It gets filtered sun throughout most the day. It sits beneath two pretty good sized Oak Trees. A really nice design with every board having to be cut 2x. Upper Prospect Heights Santa Cruz California. The pictures tell most the story.
The clients had been living here for eight years. They hadn’t done anything to the deck since moving in other than regularly blow off the abundance of leaves and debris, and a couple times per year the homeowner would bust out his Target Pressure Washer and give it what he probably referred to as a deeper cleaning. Outside of that, the Ipe’ just sat there and endured summer after summer, winter after winter.
Obviously from the pictures, it was pretty filthy. Thankfully, it cleaned up real nice. I’d like to point out picture #3. You can see the reflection in the standing water. That means only one thing. The spaces between the boards are crammed with debris. Water proves to just as much damage to wood boards as does sun. And slippery when wet! Picture #4 is a dry look of the staining process. We used Extreme by Defy, a blended tone.
Santa Cruz Deck Maintenance
This was a new(ish) east-facing backyard deck up near UCSC. This redwood deck was built in the late summer 2015. This client happened to be an accomplished wood worker himself, and knew the importance of letting brand new redwood boards age in place. He and his wife happened to wait a couple years, which certainly was not too long given the fact that the deck only gets morning sun til about 2pm.
Naturally, the deck had opened up, and oxidized grey. Obviously it cleaned up very nicely. The clients wanted a dark, richer tone to match the modern look of their home. We used a Butternut Tone blend from Extreme by Defy. We washed and stained some of their Ipe’ furniture as well.
Another quality custom deck project in Santa Cruz County.