Four Handy Deck Sanding Tips

by | Jan 30, 2022 | Home

Does your deck look faded and bleached? Fade marks and other forms of deterioration appear due to the influence of weather elements. Sanding helps individuals get rid of every sign of damage.

Such DIY projects are completed in several stages, including prep work, cleaning, choosing a sander, following a grit sequence, etc. Each step requires special considerations before transitioning to the following phase.

The handy tips below will assist you in your sanding project.

Prep the surface

The inceptive tip to follow when sanding your deck is to prepare the surface by inspecting every corner. In the course of the inspection process, you should keep an eye out for any protruding nails and screws, which are enemies of sandpaper. If you happen to spot such nails, don’t hesitate to hit them with a hammer to make them even with the flooring. Find out how to fix popped nails during deck repair.

In addition, the stage of preparation is the right time to perform deck repairs, such as plank replacement. You should inspect the flooring for rusted components and rotten wood, as these are unmistakable signs your deck requires repair. When coming across rotten or deteriorate planks, don’t spend time hesitating whether to replace them. The structure should be as sound as possible before the sanding process starts.

If you need to make plank replacements, make sure the planks are similar to those already used in the flooring. In this way, your deck will retain a uniform color even after the planks are replaced with new ones.

Clean it

After preparing the surface for sanding by making the required repairs, you’re supposed to clean it thoroughly. The cleaning solution you choose should correspond to the wood type used in the deck. Besides a cleaning solution, you will need a bucket with water, and a brush, preferably with an extension pole. Instead of chlorine bleach, homeowners are encouraged to use oxygen bleach, as the latter doesn’t compromise wood strength.

Furthermore, there are special wood cleaners designed to eliminate stubborn stains and make the wood softer for staining. You should also be equipped with a robust brush, which facilitates the process of stain removal. Dirt and debris are best removed with a power washer, as they make sure nothing is left on the surface.

Select the right sander

The following step of the procedure is selecting the right sander. There are multiple sander types to choose from, including a belt, drum, orbital, random orbital, and detail sander. Individuals are encouraged to use a large sander to reduce their workload.

A belt sander is mainly preferred for removing paint and stubborn stains from rough wooden surfaces. Such a tool is usually used in the first sanding round on large decks. It is helpful to get to know the uses and features of a belt sander.

Conversely, a drum sander is usually applied when removing the most stubborn stains and remnants of paint. These tools are incredibly powerful, meaning individuals should use them with caution. Unless used correctly, a drum sander might damage your floor.

Orbital sanders are highly preferred by homeowners for decking projects because of their ease of use. The sanding treatment provided by these tools is gentle, thus minimizing the risk of causing deck damage. There is a trick for users to keep in mind, which is starting with coarse grit and working their way to using fine-grit sandpaper.

The random orbit sander is similar but more powerful than the orbital model. It offers speed settings for users to make the sanding process more flexible and efficient. Anyhow, the round surface of this sander prevents it from reaching the corners, meaning it cannot be used to tackle hard-to-reach spots.

The detail sander is specially designed for sanding crevices and corners. It’s the best option for intricate areas where other larger sanders cannot be used. The size of these tools should be chosen in accordance with your deck’s size.

Follow the right grit sequence

Deck flooring has to be sanded a couple of times for it to be refinished properly. There are certain deck sanding issues to avoid during the process. Individuals should follow the right grit sequence by transitioning from rough to finer grits as the process progresses. You should determine your expectations from every type of grit prior to commencing with the project.

For instance, extra coarse sandpaper is recommended for projects with plenty of stains, rough surfaces, and dirt accumulation. It’s suitable for sanding old decks, which haven’t been sanded for many years. Conversely, coarse sandpaper is sufficiently coarse to remove previous layers. It can be used on both softwood and hardwood floors.

If you plan to use coarse grit sandpaper with a drum sander, you must be extra careful in order not to damage the flooring. Medium grit sandpaper has the potential to eliminate mold, mildew, and stains. Decks that are sanded frequently should start with medium grit. Fine sandpaper is appropriate for the penultimate stages of such projects, as it leaves the surface soft and prepared for the finish.

Extra fine sandpaper is usually used to polish the deck and make the flooring even smoother. Always start your project with coarse sandpaper and gradually transition to fine grits.

Final word

Deck sanding should be performed every few years for the surface to look neat and brand new.

It’s worth the effort!

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