How to Sand an Old Deck Before You Stain It

A new coat of stain can transform an old deck into something beautiful. However, if you don't employ the proper preparation techniques, you may end up with an unattractive finish that won't hold up over time. Before you begin applying stain to your deck, you may want to remove old layers of stain and smooth rough or splintering areas first by sanding. Unfortunately, many inexperienced do-it-yourselfers tend to damage the surface of their deck by sanding with incorrect technique.

Step 1

Wait for a warm, dry day.

Step 2

Wash away dirt and dust from the old deck using the pressure washer. Begin on a low setting and gradually increase pressure to avoid damaging the surface of the old deck.

Step 3

Ensure that the deck is completely dry before you begin sanding it.

Step 4

Load the power sander with 80 to 120 grit sandpaper. Use the power sander to sand the old deck. Begin at one far corner and work from left to right. Sand along with the grain of the wood and never against it.

Step 5

Continue sanding from left to right in a fluid motion being careful not to stay in one single area for more than three to four seconds. Replace the piece of 80 to 120 grit sandpaper with a new one once the grit has worn down.

Step 6

Wash away sawdust from the old deck using the pressure washer.


  • Do not begin staining until you have washed away all dirt and sawdust or you will have problems with adhesion.
Continue Reading