What Sander To Use For Deck: Fundamental Advice

You may need the desired sander for your deck based on your project’s requirements. So, many of you may ask what sander to use for your deck and how. Many different sanding approaches are commonly used for deck finishing projects, ranging from time-consuming hand sanding methods to rent a drum sander. Though all the sanders are adequate to complete the project, choosing an orbital sander is the best pick if you want to sand all the corners of your deck. 

What Is A Random Orbital Sander?

A random orbital sander is an effective solution for sanding wood in an elliptical pattern. This sander is the best to use when refinishing a deck because they are handy. The design of a random orbital sander allows it to move elliptically and work across your entire deck. You don’t have to worry about constantly keeping a straight line. Using a random orbital sander makes the job less time-consuming and more even. People like to use it as it is more user-friendly and easy to operate with one hand. The best benefit of using a random orbital sander is it fits nicely into confined places.  

What Sander To Use For Deck?

The powder sanders can be used in many forms, and any of the forms is adequate to sand your deck. An ordinary hand powder can also work well but working with ordinary hand powder requires your time and patience. A large deck may require a few days of work with hand powder. Woods on decks are softwood species. So, a random orbital sander is a better choice to pick from all the sanders for the deck. Whatever sander you use, make sure the deck is completely dry before sanding. The sanding techniques of each sander vary from one another. 

Related: Can You Use An Angle Grinder As A Sander: Most Effective Ways 

The Ways To Sand A Deck

If you want to improve the smoothness of the finish, sanding your deck before giving it a stain is a necessary step to follow. Prepare yourself with the tools needed to complete this simple job. Correct preparation of tools and materials will make your deck look fabulous for the coming years. Check out the tools and materials needed for this job.

Essential Tools

  • Putty knife (optional) 
  • Powder washer (optional) 
  • Detail sander (optional)
  • Random orbit sander 
  • Screwgun
  • Dustpan & scrub brush
  • Dust mask
  • Eye protection 
  • Breathing protection 
  • Ear muffs
  • Safety glasses
  • Knee pads
  • Shop vacuum 

Essential Materials

  • Deck brightener (optional)
  • Screws (optional)
  • Wood filler (optional)
  • Clean clothes 
  • Tack clothes
  • Sandpaper 

Procedures to Follow

Step 1: Washing the Wood

Check out the manufacturer’s instructions and wash the entire deck according to the direction. When using power washing, it is good to use a sprayer setting that doesn’t damage the wood. On the other hand, rinse the deck thoroughly to remove traces if you want to use a brightener or cleaner for scrubbing.   

Step 2: Preparing the Deck Surface

You should check all the surfaces you need to sand. Inspect surface decking, stairs, edges, railings, etc., to prepare the deck surface. After checking, ensure all the nails and screws are at least a couple of millimeters below the deck’s level and don’t rip the sandpaper while sanding.  

Step 3: Using a belt sander for the large surfaces

A belt sander is an excellent way to sand large deck surfaces quickly. Move the sander forwards and backward along the boards’ grain. To remove the stain or paint, you can start with sandpaper of 40-grit and then move to a finer grade, 120-grit, to make a smoother finish.

Step 4: Using a Finishing Sander in the Edges and Corners 

In the third step, use a finishing sander into the edges and corners where it is not possible for the belt sander to reach. Don’t push down hard and let the sander work for you nicely. Like the previous step, take a coarse grade of sandpaper first and move to the finer grade sandpaper to smooth the surface. Once the sanding is done, sweep down with a broom. 

Step 5: Sanding the Railings

Sanding the railings is an important step that you can’t leave out. On railings, you can use 80-100 grit sandpaper. Use a detail sander or your hand to get to all possible areas. 

Step 6: Vacuuming the Deck

Take a shop vacuum to vacuum the deck and use tack cloths later to wipe the surfaces. It would be best to make the surfaces free of any remaining dust. Then, you will be ready to stain. 

Safety Measures 

You can’t but wear a particle mask and safety glasses during sanding. Maintaining safety protocols is crucial because wood dust poses health risks when inhaled with the breath. The use of knee pads can make the job even safer and more comfortable while working. Exposure to wood dust might not be very risky, but it can cause allergic or respiratory reactions like asthma. 

Read: How To Use Angle Grinder for Sanding Wood in Proper Way


What sander should you choose to use for the deck?

A random orbital sander is a specific tool used to sand wood in an elliptical pattern. It is the most effective sander for the deck as it is given an efficient refinishing. Besides, it is easy and handy to use.

How does an orbital sander work for a deck?

People choose an orbital sander over other sanders because it nicely removes the old gloss and smooths out the rough areas on decking boards. A sanding sponge or balustrades should be used for the process.

Is it reasonable to use a drum sander on deck?

No. A drum sander is a tool that removes too much material so quickly that you might not be able to use it safely on a deck and harm the deck. It would be best if you did not use a drum sander that makes the surface uneven.

Why is it not safe to use a floor sander on deck?

Though some house owners want to use a big floor sander on wooden surfaces, it is not safe. A floor sander is a heavy machine and can’t reach the whole surface of most wooden planks.

Should I use a belt sander on my deck?

You should avoid using a belt sander because it is an aggressive tool when equipped with coarse sandpaper. You may find it challenging to handle and use in tight places. 

Final Verdict 

You can choose from deck restoration projects for many types of sanders for the deck. Make sure you choose the right one that matches your project’s requirements. Hopefully, exploring this content may have fulfilled your desired question on what sander to use for deck. The above content will help you determine the best type of sander for your deck. 

Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

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