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Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander: a complete guide

Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander

Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander but which one? You need to consider your options before purchasing one of these machines, as they can do more harm than good if you’re not careful. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to sand a deck with a floor sander to get the job done right without any setbacks or problems.

To get the most out of your floor sander or orbital deck sander on your deck project, you’ll need to have all the information you need to make sure you’re doing it right and getting all the grit off the wood surface so that it’s smooth enough for the new paint or stain to stick appropriately.

Sanding a deck with the floor sander

  • The first thing you need to do is prep your deck for sanding by removing any loose debris or finish that’s already on it.
  • Removing MoldMold and mildew can be done by mixing one part bleach with three parts water, then spraying onto your deck in areas where MoldMold and mildew are present.
  • Wear eye protection when working on your deck, both because of possible splinter injuries and for safety reasons if you plan to use bleach spray.
  • Once you’ve removed any large pieces of debris from your deck, use a wood rasp to roughen up its surface. This will help eliminate some of its existing finish and make it easier for the paint to stick once you apply new coats later on.
  • After roughed up your deck, sweep away any remaining sawdust or other small particles from its surface before moving on to the next step.
  • Next, vacuum your deck thoroughly with a hose attachment to remove dirt or dust from its surface.
  • You may want to start by going over your entire deck at half-speed and gradually increase speed until you’re going full-blast at the end. 
  • When vacuuming, pay special attention to crevices between boards and around screws—both places tend to accumulate dirt quickly. 
  • If there are cracks in your decking boards, such as those caused by age or pressure damage, fill them in with wood filler before continuing to Step 4. Fill holes about 1/4 inch deep and let dry overnight before sanding.
  • Now comes the fun part: time to sand!

What do you need when sanding the deck with a floor sander?

To begin Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander, you’ll need the following things:

  • A corded or cordless floor sander and 100-grit sandpaper. If you go with a cordless unit, make sure it comes with its battery (and charger!). 
  • You’ll also need eye protection
  • Ear protection, 
  • Dust collection equipment if you don’t want to spend days cleaning up after your project. Dust Collection Hose, 

Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander steps guide

Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander

Follow these steps and watch your deck transform before your eyes. Using a floor sander to sand down your deck makes quick work of a time-consuming task.

Step 1 – Prepare the Surface

Before you get started, make sure that your deck is structurally sound. Also, make sure that any splinters or other hazards are removed and swept away. Follow up by cleaning off all dirt and grime so your floor sander will glide smoothly across the surface. Now you’re ready to start sanding!

Step 2 – Choose your Sandpaper

Sandpaper with a grit level of 60-150 will provide the best results, and should never be coarser than 60 or finer than 150. First, make sure the deck is clean and dry before sanding, and then make sure you’re wearing a mask.

Step 3 – Use Your Floor Sander Safely

Always wear your safety gear. A floor sander can kick up dust and debris, which could cause you eye damage or respiratory problems. A full-face respirator, goggles, and ear protection are essential while using a floor sander. It is also important to remember not to leave any trailing extension cords that could cause an accident by tripping someone else or yourself.

Lastly, make sure that any children or pets stay clear of your work area so that they do not contact hot sanding wheels or get hurt from flying debris. While using a floor sander may seem like it will be easy, there are still many things that you need to consider before getting started; however, if you follow these steps and use your tools safely. 

Step 4: Remove nails and old decking.

Using a claw hammer, remove all of your deck’s nails by knocking them down into position on a hard surface. Be sure not to hit hard on nails that have already been knocked down, or they will break. Next, use an electric sander or router to shave off any remaining pieces of old deck boards. If you are using a floor sander for your project, wear safety goggles in case wood chips fly up at you.

Step 5: Apply sealant. 

Now it’s time to apply a protective coating of exterior grade sealant over all your decking surfaces. Please make sure not to skip over any spots and be sure not to spread too thin of an application, as doing so will only cause problems later on when it comes time for you to stain or paint your project!

Final Step – Clean up and Protect your Wood

After sanding your wood, you may notice that it has some splinters or sharp edges. Use medium-grit sandpaper (400-600) and lightly smooth over any splinters or rough areas on your wood before applying your stain. When finished staining and sealing, apply several coats of polyurethane to protect your wood from splintering and discoloration.

Applying poly will add years of wearability to your deck! You should give each coat at least 3 hours of dry time before applying another coat. Apply multiple thin coats instead of one thick one to reduce runoff onto non-wood surfaces and decrease drying time between coats. If you use an oil-based finish, allow 24 hours between each coat.

When does a deck need sanding?

There’s no universal answer since different materials require different levels of maintenance. However, your best guide for when it’s time for sanding is probably based on age and usage. The longer your deck has been around and how often it’s used (or abused), the more you need professional sanding services.

And by a pro, we mean someone with some heavy machinery—deck sanders aren’t something you can pick up at your local hardware store! If you have any doubts about whether or not your deck needs professional sanding, give us a call today and let us help you figure out what steps to take next.

Precautions when Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander

  • Before starting any project involving power tools, it’s essential to do some research and ensure that all of your equipment is in good working order. If there are issues or something seems amiss—such as an underpowered or overused tool—it could put you at risk of injury or property damage.
  • To use a floor sander on your deck, you need to take precautions. 
  • The most important thing is always to wear safety glasses, as large bits of wood will be flying off in all directions. 
  • Secondly, you have to pay attention and avoid exposing yourself or anyone else nearby. Make sure you are standing on wooden boards while operating your floor sander on your deck. You might want a dust mask as well; the action of sanding leaves quite an amount of sawdust in its wake, which could get in your eyes and mouth if you aren’t careful about where it goes. Also, wear gloves for extra protection against splinters and debris that comes off during sanding.
  • It’s also wise to wear long sleeves and pants, even though many prefer shorts when working outside. Lastly, make sure you set up a barrier around your work area so that no one can accidentally walk through without warning. A fence would be ideal, but at least put up signs or rope off your work area. This is especially important if you have children running around who may not understand what’s going on and why they shouldn’t go near the sanders.

Things To Remember When Working With A Floor Sander

There are several vital things to remember when sanding your desk. Here are some safety tips and best practices that will help you get through it unscathed. Floor sanders are loud, so make sure you wear ear protection and eye protection. Earplugs should be worn at all times, and goggles or glasses to protect against wood dust and flying particles.

In most cases, your face is not protected by anything except your hand, so take extra precautions when working with a bench grinder or any tool you will be running on a surface close to you. Make sure you have proper ventilation while using a belt sander. You don’t want to breathe in too much sawdust, which can cause irritation and infection. A vacuum cleaner can come in handy for sucking up sawdust before it settles on your desk or other surfaces nearby.

Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes while operating power tools such as belt sanders, drill presses, etc. If possible, do not use power tools outside if there is even a slight chance of rain; water can damage sensitive electronic components such as motors or electrical systems, leading to serious injury if touched while wet (or worse). Make sure you read all instructions carefully before operating any power tool. Never leave a powered tool unattended!

you can also check out our other related article Sanding hardwood floors by hand:

Sand and seal the deck

Start by applying the sealant with a foam brush. This will help cover up any minor blemishes on your deck. Let dry completely before applying another coat of sealant; repeat until you have enough coats to protect your deck. Once dry, please get rid of all those bubbles formed during application by running your orbit sander over them several times; do one board at a time so they don’t blow away! Repeat until you’ve gone over every inch of your deck.

Finally, apply two more coats of sealant and let dry overnight. To speed things up, use a heat gun (not an open flame) to accelerate drying time if necessary. After 24 hours, lightly sand again using fine-grit paper; then vacuum off any dust and debris left behind. Enjoy your newly sealed deck!

Cleaning and sanding your deck ensures that you remove all of that loose, unsightly dirt and debris. You may need more than one pass: If there’s MoldMold on your deck, you’ll want to use bleach and water in a bucket mop or power washer. To be sure you get everything off, sand it down when it’s dry.

 Before sealing your deck, inspect all areas for damage. Use an electric sander with 80-grit paper to take off any paint or stains after cleaning. Seal your deck once it’s scorched and free of all dirt or grime leftover from cleaning—wait about 24 hours after you wipe down your deck before sealing it up.

Sanding and restaining railings

Sanding a Deck with a Floor Sander

If you have any railings or fences that need sanding, make sure they’re well restrained before you start—the last thing you want is for them to go flying off while working. And remember: Start with coarse grits and work your way up through finer ones until everything looks smooth. You may not even need 100-grit paper; 80-grit will do fine on most deck boards. Follow the directions on your specific sandpaper package to get optimal results.

Pros Of Choosing A Floor Sanders For Deck Top Work

  • Power sanders are designed to sand wood for purposes other than finishing.
  •  Floor Sanders are commonly used for hardwood floors, but that does not mean they cannot be used on other materials, such as plastic and steel.
  •  Some of these power sanders include orbital function, a circular motion. This can cause swirl marks in soft or delicate woods that you might want to preserve.
  •  Floor Sanders are available in various powers and speeds depending on what type of work you will be doing.
  •  If you need something powerful and fast, go with a large-powered machine for heavy-duty jobs. 
  • If you need to work on small pieces that require detailed work, go with something smaller and lighter to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your arm muscles after prolonged use.

Frequently asked question

Here the some Frequently asked question:

Can I sand my deck down and stain it myself?

It’s possible, but there are some things you should consider first. First of all, if your deck is already stained, you’ll have to strip off your existing finish and start from scratch. You can do that yourself or pay someone else to do it for you.

What grit should I use?

The answer depends on what type of floor you are refinishing. For example, if you use an orbital sander on a concrete surface, it’s best to use 60-grit paper. On softwoods such as pine or fir, 80-grit is appropriate. However, if you’re working with hardwoods like oak or maple, then 120-grit is ideal. 

How do I know how much sanding grit I need for my project?

It depends. Every deck is different, so there’s no standard amount of sanding grit you need to complete your project.


Sanding decks using a floor sander is an easy way to get professional-looking results on your deck and home without paying high labor costs. A floor sander will be more efficient for large areas than hand sanding, while small areas can quickly be done by hand. If you’re looking for professional-quality results at a low cost, try sanding your deck yourself. Be sure that you work in well-ventilated areas and always wear appropriate protective gear.

While plenty of professionals might offer their services at higher prices, it’s clear that learning how to operate a floor sander is far less expensive than hiring out all of your renovation jobs. And when you consider that most people don’t have access to professional tools or equipment, learning how to use a floor sander is even more critical. Whether you’re just starting or have been doing renovations for years, knowing how to use a floor sander will help your next project smoothly.

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Why Trust About Sanders?

When it comes to the world of sanding and sanders, you need a trusted source of information and guidance to ensure you achieve those perfect finishes. That's where I come in – I'm Martin, a dedicated sanding enthusiast with a relentless passion for attaining flawless surfaces. With years of hands-on experience in the sanding industry, I've honed my skills and expertise to provide you with the most reliable and accurate insights. What sets me apart is my commitment to excellence. I meticulously handpick each sander after rigorous testing, ensuring that only the best tools make it to your hands. My goal is to empower you with the knowledge and recommendations you need to tackle any sanding task confidently. When you trust About Sanders, you're putting your faith in a seasoned expert who shares your passion for perfection and strives to deliver top-notch information and reviews for every sanding challenge.

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