How to Sand a Deck: 4 Steps to a Beautiful Finish (2023)



Skills Builder on Saturday.

time to finish

6 hours

This project can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours, depending on the size and complexity of your deck.


$ 25– $ 50

Just a quick shopping spree (or order online).

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What will you need?


  • Eccentric or oscillating spindle sander
  • Detail grinder or multifunction grinder
  • dry and wet vacuum cleaner
  • nail drill
  • Hammer
  • Staubmaske
  • eye protection
  • Brush the soft bristle trap
  • sticky cloth
  • high pressure cleaner (optional)
  • hand grinder (optional)
  • spatula (optional)
  • electric screwdriver (optional)
  • Knee pads or knee pads (optional)


  • 60 or 80 grit sandpaper
  • Sand sponge, grit 120, for railing edges
  • Deck cleaner (or household powdered bleach and detergent solution)
  • Belt cleaning abrasive rod (optional)
  • Deckweißer (opcional)
  • Wooden exterior panel (optional)
  • Deck screws (optional)

Learning how to sand your deck refreshes the wood and prepares it for a fresh coat of paint. By sanding first, you extend the life, appearance, and durability of your patio.

Sanding with an orbital or random orbit sander is the best way to sand a deck because it removes dirt, stains, or old paint and the top layer of wood and is easy to work with. Follow these steps to sand a patio for smooth, long-lasting results.

Preparing to grind a deck

Beautify it with the right tools and accessories for a beautiful finish.

Choose your grinder and sandpaper

You can't go wrong with a random orbit sander or oscillating spindle sander to sand your deck. Because the deck is typically made of softwood, belt sanders can cut into the wood and cause permanent damage. Random orbital sanders and orbital sanders, on the other hand, are smoother, easier to handle, and produce a smooth finish, especially if you're not an experienced woodworker.

If you have railing posts or other details on your patio, switch to a multi-tool or detail grinder when working on complex areas. You can buy electric grinders or rent them at a hardware store.

What grit sandpaper is best for sanding decks? Opt for 60 or 80 grit sandpaper on decks and stairs and 80 or 100 grit sandpaper for posts and railings. If your deck is more worn or rougher, choose a lower grit to remove more surface area.

clean the deck

How to Sand a Deck: 4 Steps to a Beautiful Finish (1)

Foto: Filmstudio / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Cleaning the patio will help remove dirt, mildew, and grime before sanding it down. If you skip the cleaning step, the sanding will be more difficult and take longer.

Clean your grill, furniture, potted plants, and other deck items.Clean your painted terraceB. scrubbing or spraying with a non-toxic, biodegradable deck cleaner. you too can make oneHomemade deck cleanerSolution by mixing two gallons of warm water and two cups of powdered bleach in a bucket. Mix in ¼ cup of dish soap and voila. Scrub with a soft-bristled broom or deck brush and rinse with water.

Instead of using a deck cleaner, you can gently wash the deck. Be sure to set it on a low level with a spray nozzle so you don't damage the finish on the wood.

After cleaning your deck, you can apply a deck and wood bleach to improve the appearance of your wood. If your deck is over 10 years old or has turned gray over time, a dull bleach can make a noticeable difference. Allow the wood to dry completely before sanding the deck, usually 24-48 hours after the last cleaning or rain.

Inspect and repair deck.

Over time, your deck can collect ruts, cracked wood, and loose nails. Examine the deck, the stairs and the railings. Replace damaged boards and fill in any grooves and holes with a wood putty knife and putty knife. Secure loose boards with screws or nails.

Hit any protruding nails with a nail drill and hammer. Use an electric screwdriver to secure the loose deck screws (or replace with new screws). Protruding screws and nails can tear the sandpaper.

Check the weather in advance

Before sanding your patio, check the weather forecast to find three or more days in a row without rain. Your wood should be dry before you sand it and it should stay dry until you apply the stain and allow it to cure. You don't want your deck to get wet after you sand it, but before you stain it. The water will strengthen the grain of the wood and you will need to resand the deck.

Put on your safety gear

Wear safety glasses and a dust mask when sanding to prevent wood dust from getting into your eyes and lungs. Also wear hearing protection. Consider wearing knee pads or knee pads for comfort.

  1. Sand the deck boards and stair treads

    Attach your 60 or 80 grit sandpaper to your sander. Sand the deck boards with medium pressure. Start at the corner of the platform and work your way up. It is best to sand a deck in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damaging the wood. Look for uniformity, not a perfectly smooth surface. Digging too far into the wood with the sander can create permanent grooves.

    Sand the stair treads in the same manner, following the grain of the wood. If you feel the deck needs a little extra smoothing in certain spots, vacuum up the initial dust and sand with 80 or 100 grit sandpaper.

  2. Smooth the edges of the decking

    Then use a detail sander fitted with 80-grit sandpaper to sand down the outside edges of the deck. A random orbital sander or orbital sander is too large to fit in these slots.

    The edges around your deck and around the railing posts are the most important, but you can also touch up the edges of any deck boards, especially if they have chips or aged wood. Try to sand evenly to make sure the wood absorbs the stain evenly.

  3. Polish the railings and posts

    How to Sand a Deck: 4 Steps to a Beautiful Finish (2)

    Foto: tab62 / Adobe Stock

    It's time to tackle your deck railings and posts. Sand the railings and posts with a hand sander or sander using 80-grit sandpaper. Use a 120-grit sanding pad on the railing edges for an extra-smooth finish and to avoid splintering your hands.

    While sanding those finer details and finishes takes time, it's well worth the effort. Railings are often the most visible feature of a patio, so it's important to smooth them out (but not too smooth, as this can prevent the stain from seeping through).

  4. vacuum cover

    Use a vacuum to vacuum the entire deck, stairs, and handrails. Clean any remaining dust with a non-stick cloth, especially in nooks and crannies. If dust is left on the surface, the stain will not adhere as well and may affect the quality of the finish.

    seal orcolor your deckas soon as possible after sanding to avoid damaging raw wood. So all that's left to dokeep your deckClean annually and reseal every three years.

Do-it-yourself polishing pad vs. hiring a professional

Sanding the deck is an easy process if you have the right tools, but it can take half a day or more depending on the size of the deck. If you don't want to miss out on a free weekend or don't have a random orbital sander, consider renting one.local roof repair professional. They can ensure your deck has a smooth, consistent finish and can even color it for you. RespectivelyHomeAdvisor, is the average cost of sanding a platform280 $when you hire a professional to handle the task.

frequent questions

The best way to sand a deck is to clean it, sand the boards and stairs with 60 or 80 grit sandpaper and sand the railings and posts with 80 grit sandpaper. Use medium pressure when sanding your deck and aim for a uniform sand. Pressing too hard with a grinder can damage decks, since most decks are made of softwood.

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