How Do You Sand a Deck?


Quick Answer

To sand a deck, use an orbital sander with an 80- or 100-grit sandpaper. Start with the large surface of the deck, moving with the grain of the wood. Then, sand the hand rails and the railing balusters. Finally, sand the edges of the deck and the deck stairs.

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Full Answer

  1. Choose an appropriate sander

    What sander works best depends on the size of the deck you need to sand. Rent a large orbital sander for a huge deck. For most decks, a small hand-held orbital sander is most appropriate. It can be used for the entire deck and most of the detail work.

  2. Purchase the correct grit of sandpaper

    For a deck, the ideal sandpaper is 60-grit or 80-grit. For the handrails, choose 80-grit or maybe 100-grit if absolutely necessary. Do not use a finer grit as you need the pores of the wood open to absorb the stain applied after the sanding.

  3. Sand the entire deck, rails and stairs

    Use medium pressure on the sander, and try very hard to get a nice even surface. Once the main surface is done, concentrate on the edges of the deck under the railing as well as the stairs. Sand the handrail very carefully to reduce the risk of splinters. Sand the balusters as well. The orbital sander might not fit between the baluster rails, so use a smaller hand sander if necessary.

  4. Remove all the sawdust and stain

    Sweep or vacuum to remove all the sawdust remaining from the sanding. Do not get the deck wet, as that causes the wood to swell again. Stain and seal the deck as desired.

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