How to Sand a Deck Before Staining

Welcome to our guide on how to sand a deck before staining. If you’re planning on staining your deck, proper sanding is essential for achieving a smooth and even surface. 

sanding a deck

Sanding also helps the stain penetrate the wood better, ensuring a longer-lasting finish. In this guide, we will take you through the steps needed to prepare your deck for staining. 

From gathering your tools and materials to the step-by-step sanding process, we will cover everything you need to know. Let’s get started!

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before you begin sanding your deck, it’s essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials. This includes deck sanding tools such as a belt sander or orbital sander, sandpaper of various grits, a broom, and a power washer if needed.

Don’t forget to wear protective gear like safety goggles, a mask, and gloves to keep yourself safe while working.

Required ToolsRequired Materials
• Belt Sander
• Orbital Sander
• Broom
• Power washer (if needed)
• Dust mask
• Safety goggles
• Gloves
Sandpaper (60-100 grit for cleaning, 100-150 grit for sanding, and 220 grit for finishing)
• Cleaner (deck stain stripper if needed)
• Deck sealer or stain
• Paintbrush or roller
• Paint tray

    Having all the tools and materials beforehand will save you time and ensure that you have everything needed to complete the job.

    Step-by-Step Guide to Sanding Your Deck

    Check nails and screws

    You should prepare your deck by checking every nail and screw to make sure they are countersunk a couple of millimeters. Otherwise, the sandpaper can get caught and rip. Use a nail punch to countersink any nails that are sticking up and screw down any screws. 

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    Clean the deck

    You can then use a power washer to clean your deck thoroughly. A pressure of around 1500-2000 PSI is adequate for most deck surfaces. Make sure that all the nooks and crannies of your deck are clean, and leave it to dry overnight. Once your deck is dry, you can begin sanding. 

    Use a belt sander

    We recommend you use a belt sander for large surfaces. It is the best tool to sand a large area of the deck quickly. 

    If you are using a belt sander, move the sander backward and forward in the direction of the wood grain. 

    You should start with a coarse grit sandpaper, around 40 to 60 grit, and then work your way to a finer grit of around 120 to 150 grit to create a smooth finish. 

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    Use an Orbital Sander for corners and edges

    You can then use an orbital sander to touch up the edges. This is the best sander to do the edges and corners that the belt sander can’t reach. 

    With the orbital sander or (finishing sander), you should move this in a circular motion and let the sander do the work, don’t press down too hard.

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    Remove all dust

    After sanding the entire deck, remove all dust and debris using a broom or vacuum. You can use a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust. Once the deck has been thoroughly cleaned, you can consider refinishing options which will protect it against elements. 

    Ready to stain!

    You can apply sealants, stains or paint to give your deck a new look. However, be sure to allow enough time for the deck to dry after sanding before applying any finishing touches.

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    Final Thoughts

    Don’t forget to gather all necessary tools and materials before starting, including deck sanding tools, sandpaper of various grits, a broom, and protective gear like safety goggles, a mask, and gloves.

    Take extra care in cleaning your deck thoroughly and selecting the right sandpaper grit for your deck’s condition. Following proper sanding techniques and using refinishing options can greatly enhance the appearance of your deck.

    With these steps, transforming your deck into an outdoor space you can enjoy for years to come is within reach. So go ahead and get started on your project today!


    How often should I sand my deck before staining?

    It is recommended to sand your deck before staining every 2-3 years or as needed depending on the condition of your deck.

    Can I use a regular sander for deck sanding?

    While a regular sander can be used for small deck areas or touch-ups, it is best to use a belt sander for larger deck surfaces to save time and effort.

    What is the best sandpaper grit for deck sanding?

    For initial deck sanding, it is recommended to start with a coarse grit sandpaper (around 40-60 grit) to remove any stain or old finish. Then, move to a medium grit sandpaper (around 80-120 grit) for smoothing the deck surface. Finally, finish with a fine grit sandpaper (around 150-220 grit) to achieve a smooth finish before staining.

    Do I need to clean my deck before sanding?

    Yes, it is essential to clean your deck thoroughly before sanding. Use a deck cleaner or a mixture of water and detergent to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and any other debris. Allow the deck to dry completely before starting the sanding process.

    Can I use a power washer to clean my deck?

    Yes, a power washer can be used to clean your deck, especially if there is heavy dirt or grime buildup. However, be cautious and use a low-pressure setting to avoid damaging the wood. Allow the deck to dry thoroughly before proceeding with sanding.

    Should I wear protective gear while sanding my deck?

    Absolutely! It is highly recommended to wear protective gear, including safety goggles, a mask, and gloves while sanding your deck. This will protect you from dust, debris, and potential splinters.


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