How to Sand a Wood Deck

Sanding a wooden deck is essential to refinishing the wood and protecting your patio from the weather.

Sanding is the first step in deck restoration.Sanding is the first step in deck restoration.
Since sanding by hand is impractical, rent or purchase the equipment you need from a hardware rental store. Work on a clear day when no rain is forecast. Sand the old wood down to a clean, fresh layer, and get ready to stain or paint your wood deck. A properly stained and sealed wood deck resists wear and tear due to sun damage, heavy traffic, snow and rain.

Remove all furniture from your deck in preparation for sanding.

Fit a disc or orbital sander with 60-grit sandpaper, if your deck has a lot of peeling paint. If your desk doesn't, skip this step and move on to the finer paper.

Put on ear protection and goggles. You'll make a lot of noise and generate a lot of debris. Protection is essential.

Turn on a belt sander and begin sanding the boards. With rough wood, work at a 45 degree angle to the wood grain to lift the paint. Don't press down; rely on the sander to do the work for you. Make long passes across the wood, overlapping slightly.

Sand with the grain after the initial pass and work until you've removed the paint.

Sweep the deck boards thoroughly to remove all debris.

Switch to 80- or 100-grit sandpaper for a finer cut. Again sand with the grain, using little pressure. Work over the wood until you see no splinters and feel no resistance from rough wood, covering the whole deck like this.

Use a vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer to remove all wood dust so you can paint or stain the deck without trapping wood dust beneath the finish.

Things You Will Need

  • Disc sander or orbital sander
  • Sandpaper, 60-grit
  • Ear protectors
  • Goggles
  • Broom
  • Sandpaper, 80- or 100-grit
  • Vacuum cleaner or pressure washer


  • Sand railings with a smaller belt sander.

About the Author

A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.