How to Sand a Wood Deck

  • 01 of 04

    Sanding a Wood Deck

    Man sanding backyard deck
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    After a deep power washing, the wood fibers will raise as they expand with water. After drying, wood fibers can often remain raised and may cause splinters.

    Plan on sanding your wood deck after power washing and before final staining and sealing. It will make the difference in obtaining great results. In this tutorial, we'll review the steps involved in sanding the wood deck surface and also the hand rails.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    What Grit of Sandpaper to Use

    Pieces Of Sand Paper
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    Sanding the wood deck boards and handrail is essential for a proper refinishing job after a power washing. Sanding removes raised wood fibers from power washing and opens the pores of the wood to assist in the soaking of stain or sealer.

    Unlike when sanding furniture, smoother is not always better when sanding an exterior deck surface. For sanding a deck floor board surface, use a sanding grit of about 60 to 80. For sanding a handrail, use a grit of 80 to 100. Do not use higher than 100 grit....MORE Higher grits of sandpaper will smooth the wood too much begin to close down the pores and may reduce the absorption of the stain or sealer into the wood pores. Use medium pressure on the hand sander checking for evenness of appearance as you go.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Sanding Board Edges

    Man Sanding an Outdoor Deck
    Melissa Carroll / Getty Images

    Sanding the outer edges of the deck board may be a little difficult depending on your deck design. In the example shown the baluster rails are low and make sanding the outer edge of the floor deck boards a little tricky.

    Just be sure to get the boards consistently sanded, even if you have to get some areas by hand. Even sanding will help ensure even stain absorption and a better looking end product.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Sanding the Handrail

    Back Yard Deck
    Stan Rohrer / Getty Images

    Sanding the handrail of your deck is very important and is where people gage the smoothness of your sanding job. Make sure to sand the top, edges and bottom of the top handrail because all edges are touched and will be prone to splintering if not sanded. Again, use 80 to 100 grit sandpaper for the handrail but try not to go higher than that or you may limit the absorption of the stain or sealer into the wood.