Garden Advice

Tips on How to Sand a Deck After Pressure Washing

Deck sanding – this task is essential when it comes to the maintenance of your deck, especially after cleaning it or before staining/sealing it. But how does one complete such a chore? What are the tools and steps that are needed? Well, in this article we are going to tell you everything that you have to know before approaching this project. 

So, if you are someone who:

  • Wants to learn how to perform proper deck sanding;
  • Is passionate about home DIY projects; 
  • Is just curious about the topic.

The Fantastic Team is here to help!

Ready? Let’s find out how to sand a deck after pressure washing it!

Consider the drying time post pressure washing 

After you are done with the pressure washing, the wood will soak up the water. Needless to say, it needs to be dry before starting the sanding process. If it rains, wait a couple of days to make sure the surface has completely dried. It could take about 24 hours to dry or maybe less if it’s exposed fully to the sun. The time it takes to dry will increase as the temperature drops and the humidity rises. Generally, drying shouldn’t take longer than 2-3 days, of course, if it doesn’t rain. 

Thoroughly inspect your deck 

First of all, inspect all the surfaces you’ll be sanding, including the decking, edges, stairs, and railings. Replace any old screws that might cause issues. Use new fasteners to secure loose boards. Fill and repair the wood if there are splinters or gouges. If you’re using wood fillers, ensure that they have fully dried and hardened before sanding. 

Sanding the deck 

When you sand hardwoods, you typically want to achieve the smoothest surface possible. That being said, you shouldn’t apply the same logic when you sand the exterior surface of the deck. It’s recommended that you use sandpaper with less fine grits (for example, 60 or 80). Grits rougher than that will deface the exterior. If the grits on the sandpaper are 100 or higher, the wood will become too smooth, and its pores will close down, making stain or sealer absorption more difficult. Apply medium pressure when sanding with your hand sander and try to remain even. 

Suppose there are any minor grooves on the decking, sand those areas as well. You can examine the groove sizes and then look for a slat of wood that would fit in loosely. Using sandpaper to wrap the wood slat, use it as a sanding block to sand the decking grooves. 

You can finish the flatter areas by wrapping stable handles. 

You need to make sure there is no risk of rain falling on the deck as you are sanding it. All progress will be lost if the wood becomes damp before it’s been stained or painted. Should this happen, you would have to redo all of your work, so keep an eye for the forecast.

Sanding Board Edges

Depending on the kind of deck you have, the outer edges of the board can be more difficult to sand. It’s harder to access some areas if the railings on the deck have a baluster rail. If your regular sander doesn’t fit in these places, use a smaller detail sander. Use 60 or 80 for the end grain of the decking board to smooth and even it out. If the end grain is uneven, the panels will absorb the stains unevenly as well. 

Sanding the railings 

People most often focus their attention on the railing of a deck, because it is the most noticeable feature. Therefore, make sure you sand it thoroughly. The handrail must be smoothed to prevent splinters that could cause injury, so be aware. 

Use a grit of 80 to 100 on the railings and make sure that you sand everything. A detail sander can help you get into all the nooks and crannies. You might need to file by hand for this part. Make sure not to polish the surface too much or the wood won’t stain.

Before you stain or seal, vacuum and wipe all the surfaces. No sanding dust should be left on the decking. 

Final Step: Staining the deck

After thoroughly vacuuming and wiping the decking, you need to move quickly. Once you’ve made sure that all of the sanding dust has been cleaned, you can start staining and sealing.

Make sure that you use decking stain and not fence paint. The thicker the colour is, the better protection it will provide. For a larger deck, it’s better to use thicker stains, so that they can last longer. Translucent and semi-translucent stains are thin, so they have to be re-applied annually. If you don’t want to repeat the process every year, then look for a more prominent colour. 

While staining, we advise that you use a brush specifically to ensure that the stain is applied evenly.

Are you wondering when you should re-apply the stain? Specialists often recommend replacing it every 2 to 3 years, but you may need to do it every 12-18 months, especially during harsher seasons.

Hire a professional for the job

As you can see for yourself, sanding a deck is no easy job. You have to have the right tools, equipment, and, of course, time. With that being said, why invest your energy in this labours task, when you can get a professional to do it for you? Book Fantastic Services’ budget-friendly decking installation, repair, and oiling services. They are really fast to organise, easy on the wallet, and performed by trained and experienced professionals. So, don’t break your back trying to sand your deck, when you can book Fantastic Services for the job! 

Looking for a decking specialist?

Get in touch with Fantastic Services today!

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  • You need to let your deck dry completely after pressure washing it. If you don’t,  you can’t properly sand it;
  • Make sure to thoroughly clean your deck prior to sanding it. 
  • Take your time when inspecting your deck for damage. Repair any existing issues for better final results;
  • Check the weather forecast before starting the task – you don’t want it to rain on the day of the job.


Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comment section below!

Image Source: Shutterstock / Thitikate

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