How to Sand Your Wood Deck Like a Pro

After a deep and powerful wash, the wood fibers in the various deck components often increase as they expand with the water. Once dry, these wood fibers can often remain elevated and can cause splinters.

For this reason, you should plan to sand your deck after power washing and before painting and sealing. This crucial step will ensure that your refinishing job produces optimal results.

Tips for Sanding a Wood Deck Before Refinishing

The right sander for the job

Electric sanders used to sand a deck come in many forms, from conventional manual household orbital sanders to commercial vertical sanders that you can rent from construction centers and rental stores.

Either of them will properly sand your deck if used correctly. Sanding with regular electric sanders is entirely possible for most homeowners, although patience is required, especially with a large deck that can take several days of work if you're using a hand-held electric sander.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about How To Sand A Deck

Source: Bunnings Warehouse

Note that deck woods are generally softwood species that can be punctured by using power tools or sandpaper with a very rough grain. Belt sanders, whether manual or large upright models, tend to pull out softwoods, so oscillating or orbital sanders tend to do a better job.

Also, be sure to wear a particle mask and safety glasses when sanding, as wood dust poses a health hazard if you inhale it. Knee pads and hearing protectors will also make your work safer and more comfortable.

Make sure your deck is completely dry before sanding. If it has rained recently or if you have machine washed, wait several days before sanding. Treat deck surface, rails, and board edges as different tasks, varying the sanding techniques for each.

Preparation steps

Make sure your deck is completely dry before sanding. If it has rained recently or if you have machine washed, wait several days before sanding. Treat deck surface, rails, and board edges as separate tasks, varying the sanding techniques for each.

Start by carefully inspecting all the surfaces you will be sanding: deck boards, ledges, stairs, and railings. Make sure all fasteners are positioned below the surface of the wood.

Some very old screws may need to be removed and replaced. If there are loose boards, now is the time to put on new fasteners to secure them.

If there are deep chips or gouges in the wood, be sure to fill or repair them before sanding. If you use wood putty, make sure they are completely dry and hardened before continuing with sanding.

Sanding the Deck Surface

When sanding hardwoods, the goal is usually the smoothest surface possible, but this is not the case when sanding the surface of an outdoor deck. To sand the floorboards, use 60- or 80-grit sandpaper, but no coarser than that.

Sanding with finer-grit papers (100-grit or higher) will smooth the wood to the point where the pores start to close, preventing the stain or sealer from absorbing into the wood. Use medium pressure on your hand sander, making sure it looks smooth as you go.

It is important to thoroughly vacuum all surfaces before proceeding to stain and sealing the deck.

Sanding Board Edges

Sanding the outside edges of the deck board can be a bit difficult depending on the deck design, especially if the rails have a very low baluster bottom rack that makes access difficult.

Here, a smaller detail sander can come in handy if your standard orbital sander won't fit. Again, use a 60-80 grit sandpaper for the final grain of deck boards and be sure to sand as evenly as possible, as stains are often unevenly absorbed into the final grit if boards don't they are sanded evenly.

Again, clean the final grains dust-free before proceeding to staining and sealing.

Sanding the Railings

Sanding the grid of your terrace is very important since it is the most visible element and where people focus their attention. In addition, it is particularly important that the handrail is kept smooth to avoid splinters that could injure your hands.

On the handrails, use 80-100 sandpaper and strive to sand all surfaces and cracks. Here, a detail sander or even hand sanding may be necessary to reach all areas, but again, don't sand down to sandpaper that prevents stain penetration.

Vacuum well, but also wipe all surfaces with a clean cloth to remove all traces of sandpaper dust before staining and sealing.

Clean the Wood Before Staining or Sealing

It is best to start painting and sealing very quickly after sanding. Make sure all surfaces are completely clean of sandpaper dust, then wipe the surfaces with a non-stick cloth to remove all traces of dust before it begins to stain or seal.

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