Pressure washing a deck is an important step in preparing it for refinishing or staining. This process removes dirt, grime, and old stain or paint, leaving behind a clean surface. However, pressure washing can also raise the wood fibers, making the surface rough and uneven. To achieve a smooth and polished finish, sanding is necessary after pressure washing.

When it comes to sanding a deck, there are a few different tools you can use. The most common options include a belt sander, an orbital sander, or a sanding pole with sandpaper. Each tool has its own advantages and can be used depending on the size of the deck, the level of roughness, and personal preference.

A belt sander is a powerful tool that can quickly remove a significant amount of material. It is best for large decks or areas that require heavy sanding. On the other hand, an orbital sander is more lightweight and maneuverable, making it suitable for smaller decks or detailed work. A sanding pole with sandpaper attached to it is a good option for sanding hard-to-reach areas, such as between deck boards or railings.

Before sanding, it is important to choose the right sandpaper grit. Coarse grits, such as 40 or 60, are suitable for removing heavy imperfections, while finer grits, like 80 or 120, are great for smoothing out the surface. Start with a coarse grit and gradually work your way up to finer grits for the best results. It is also recommended to wear protective goggles, a dust mask, and gloves while sanding to avoid injuries and inhaling dust particles.

In conclusion, sanding a deck after pressure washing is crucial to achieve a smooth and polished surface. Whether you choose a belt sander, an orbital sander, or a sanding pole, make sure to select the appropriate grit of sandpaper and take necessary safety precautions. With the right tools and techniques, you can restore your deck to its former glory and create a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy.

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The Best Tools for Sanding Your Deck After Pressure Washing

After pressure washing your deck, the next step is to sand it to ensure a smooth and even surface. Sanding helps to remove any remaining dirt, grime, or loose wood fibers, and prepares the deck for staining or sealing.

Tool Description
Random Orbital Sander A random orbital sander is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, including deck sanding. It has a round sanding pad that moves in a random pattern, which helps to prevent swirl marks or scratches on the wood. This tool is ideal for sanding large areas of the deck.
Belt Sander A belt sander is a powerful tool that uses a continuous loop of sandpaper wrapped around drums. It’s best suited for removing heavy layers of stain or paint and for sanding rough or uneven surfaces. However, be cautious when using a belt sander on a deck, as it can be aggressive and may cause damage if not used properly.
Palm Sander A palm sander, also known as a finishing sander, is a smaller and lighter version of a random orbital sander. It’s perfect for sanding tight or hard-to-reach areas on the deck, such as corners and edges. This tool is less aggressive than a belt sander but still effective for smoothing the surface.
Sandpaper Sheets In addition to power tools, sandpaper sheets are essential for hand sanding areas that cannot be reached with a machine. Use medium-grit sandpaper (around 80 to 120 grit) to remove previous stain or paint and roughen the wood surface. Fine-grit sandpaper (around 220 to 320 grit) can be used for final sanding before staining or sealing.
Dust Mask and Safety Goggles When sanding your deck, it’s important to protect yourself from the debris and dust particles that may be released. Wear a dust mask to prevent inhaling fine wood dust, and safety goggles to shield your eyes from any flying particles.

Remember to always follow safety guidelines when using power tools, and take breaks as needed to prevent fatigue. With the right tools and proper technique, you can achieve a beautifully sanded deck ready for the next steps in the restoration process.

Choosing the Right Sandpaper Grit for Your Deck

After pressure washing your deck to remove dirt and grime, the next step is to sand the surface in order to achieve a smooth and even finish. Choosing the right sandpaper grit is crucial in this process, as it will determine how effectively you can remove old stain or paint, smooth out rough areas, and prepare the deck for a new finish.

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When it comes to sanding a deck, it is recommended to use a combination of different grits to achieve the best results. Start with a coarse grit, such as 40 or 60, to remove any stubborn stain or paint, as well as to eliminate rough spots and splinters. As you progress, you will gradually switch to finer grits to achieve a smoother finish.

Coarse Grits (40-60)

  • Removes old stain or paint effectively
  • Eliminates rough spots and splinters
  • Prepares the deck for refinishing

Medium Grits (80-120)

  • Smooths out the surface after using coarse grits
  • Removes any remaining roughness
  • Prepares the deck for the final sanding

Fine Grits (150-220)

  • Provides a final smooth finish
  • Prepares the deck for staining or sealing

It is important to note that deck materials may require different grits depending on their hardness. Softer woods, like cedar or pine, may require less aggressive grits, while harder woods, like oak or teak, may benefit from using coarser grits.

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When sanding your deck, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific type of sandpaper you are using. Additionally, make sure to wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles, to protect yourself from dust and debris.

By choosing the right sandpaper grit for your deck and carefully sanding the surface, you will be able to achieve a smooth and flawless finish that will not only enhance the appearance of your deck but also prolong its lifespan.

Hand Sanders: Pros and Cons

Hand sanders are a popular choice for sanding a deck after pressure washing. They offer a variety of advantages, as well as some drawbacks that should be considered before choosing this tool for the job.


1. Portability: One of the main advantages of hand sanders is their portability. They are lightweight and easy to carry, making them suitable for working on a deck.

2. Precision: Hand sanders allow for more control and precision compared to power sanders. This can be particularly beneficial when dealing with intricate or hard-to-reach areas on the deck.

3. Versatility: Hand sanders come in various forms, such as sanding blocks, sanding sponges, and sandpaper wrapped around a piece of wood. This variety allows users to choose the most suitable option for their specific needs.


1. Labor-intensive: Sanding a deck by hand requires physical effort and can be time-consuming, especially for larger decks. This may not be ideal for individuals with limited time or physical capabilities.

2. Less efficient: Hand sanders are generally slower and less efficient compared to power sanders. They may not be the best choice for those who want to complete the job quickly or have a large deck to sand.

3. Potential for uneven sanding: Without the assistance of a powered tool, it can be challenging to achieve a consistent and even sanding finish across the entire deck surface. This may result in an uneven appearance.

In conclusion, hand sanders offer portability, precision, and versatility for sanding a deck after pressure washing. However, they can also be labor-intensive, less efficient, and may result in uneven sanding. It’s important to weigh these pros and cons to determine if using a hand sander is the right choice for your deck sanding project.

Belt Sanders: When and How to Use Them

A belt sander is a powerful tool that can be used to quickly and efficiently sand a deck after pressure washing. It is an excellent option for tackling larger and more stubborn areas of debris and old stain or paint that the pressure washer may not have been able to remove completely.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when using a belt sander:

  1. Choose the right grit: Belt sanders come with different grit sizes, ranging from coarse to fine. The grit you choose will depend on the condition of your deck and the level of sanding required. Start with a coarser grit to remove rough spots and old finishes, then switch to a finer grit for a smoother finish.
  2. Prepare the deck: Before using the belt sander, make sure to thoroughly clean the deck and allow it to dry completely. Remove any loose nails or screws and repair any damaged areas. This will ensure a more effective sanding process.
  3. Safety first: Belt sanders are powerful tools that can cause injury if not used properly. Always wear safety goggles, a dust mask, and hearing protection. Hold the sander with both hands, keeping a firm grip, and move it in a smooth and consistent motion.
  4. Start with the edges: Begin sanding the edges of the deck, using a back-and-forth motion parallel to the grain. This will help to remove any uneven areas and create a smooth transition between the deck surface and the edges.
  5. Sand the surface: Once the edges are done, move on to sanding the surface of the deck. Hold the belt sander at a slight angle and move it in the direction of the wood grain. Be careful not to press too hard or stay in one spot for too long, as this can result in uneven sanding.
  6. Finish with a finer grit: After sanding the entire deck with the coarser grit, switch to a finer grit to achieve a smoother finish. Repeat the sanding process, this time focusing on creating an even and uniform surface.
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Remember to take breaks and check your progress regularly to avoid over-sanding or damaging the deck. Once you’re satisfied with the results, clean the deck again to remove any dust or debris left behind and apply a new finish or sealant to protect the wood.

Belt sanders can be an invaluable tool when it comes to refinishing a deck after pressure washing. By following these tips and techniques, you can achieve a beautifully sanded deck that is ready for a fresh coat of stain or paint.

Random Orbital Sanders: Perfect for Deck Sanding

When it comes to sanding your deck after pressure washing, one tool that you should definitely consider is a random orbital sander. These versatile power tools are perfect for sanding large surfaces like decks, thanks to their unique sanding motion and ergonomic design.

A random orbital sander utilizes a circular sanding pad that moves in an orbital motion, which means it rotates while also moving in an ellipse. This motion helps to minimize swirl marks and ensures a smooth and even finish, making it ideal for deck sanding.

One of the key advantages of a random orbital sander is its ability to remove material quickly and efficiently. They have a high removal rate, thanks to their aggressive sanding action, which makes them perfect for removing old paint, stains, and rough patches on a deck’s surface.

Additionally, random orbital sanders are designed with user comfort in mind. They usually have a compact and lightweight design, making them easy to maneuver and control during sanding. This is especially important when sanding a deck, as it can be a time-consuming and physically demanding task.

It’s also worth noting that random orbital sanders are available in both corded and cordless models. Corded models offer unlimited power supply, while cordless models provide greater mobility and freedom of movement. Whichever option you choose, make sure to select a sander with sufficient power and durability to handle the demands of deck sanding.

When using a random orbital sander for deck sanding, it’s important to follow proper safety precautions. Always wear safety goggles, a dust mask, and ear protection to protect yourself from flying debris and excessive noise. It’s also a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area and to periodically clean or replace the sanding pad to ensure optimal performance.

Pros Cons
Efficient material removal May leave circular marks if not used properly
Smooth and even finish Requires periodic sanding pad cleaning or replacement
Comfortable and easy to use Can be expensive, especially high-quality models
Versatile, suitable for various sanding tasks May require a power source or regular battery charging

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a reliable and efficient tool for sanding your deck after pressure washing, a random orbital sander is an excellent choice. Its unique sanding motion, high removal rate, and user-friendly design make it perfect for deck sanding projects. Just make sure to follow safety precautions and invest in a high-quality model for the best results.

Power Sanders vs. Manual Sanding: Which is Best for Your Deck?

When it comes to sanding a deck after pressure washing, you have two main options: power sanders and manual sanding. Both methods have their pros and cons, and the best choice for your deck will depend on factors such as the condition of the wood, your available time and energy, and personal preference.

Power Sanders:

  • Efficiency: Power sanders are typically faster and more efficient than manual sanding. They can quickly remove old stain, paint, or rough patches from the deck surface, saving you time and effort.
  • Versatility: Power sanders come in a variety of types, including belt sanders, orbital sanders, and random orbit sanders. Depending on the model, you can choose between different sandpaper grits to achieve the desired level of smoothness.
  • Ease of use: While power sanders require some initial learning curve, they are generally easier to use than manual sanding. The machine does most of the work, so you don’t have to exert as much physical effort.
  • Consistency: Power sanders can ensure a more consistent and uniform finish, as they sand in a controlled and even manner. This is especially important if you plan to apply a fresh coat of stain or paint to your deck.
  • Dust management: Using a power sander can generate a significant amount of dust, so it’s important to take appropriate precautions such as wearing a mask, using a dust collection system or working in a well-ventilated area.
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Manual Sanding:

  • Control: Manual sanding allows for more precise control, especially in hard-to-reach areas or intricate details of the deck. It’s easier to sand areas around railings, corners, and edges manually.
  • Portability: Manual sanding requires less equipment and can be done anywhere without access to a power source. This makes it a convenient option if your deck is in a remote location or if you prefer working without power tools.
  • Less dust: Unlike power sanders, manual sanding produces less dust. This can be advantageous if you are concerned about dust exposure or if you don’t have access to proper dust collection equipment.
  • Workmanship: Some people prefer the traditional and hands-on approach of manual sanding. It allows for a closer connection with the deck and may result in a sense of satisfaction from the effort put into the project.
  • Time and effort: Manual sanding is generally more time-consuming and physically demanding compared to power sanding. It requires repetitive hand movements and can be tiring over long periods.

In conclusion, the choice between power sanders and manual sanding depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for efficiency, consistency, and speed, a power sander is likely the better option. However, if you prioritize control, portability, and a more traditional approach, manual sanding may be the right choice for your deck. Consider the condition of your deck, your available resources, and your personal comfort levels before making a decision.


What is the purpose of sanding a deck after pressure washing?

Sanding a deck after pressure washing helps to even out any rough areas or splintered wood that may have been caused by the intense pressure of the washer. It also helps to remove any remaining debris or stains that were not fully removed during the washing process.

What tools can be used to sand a deck after pressure washing?

There are a few different tools that can be used to sand a deck after pressure washing. Some popular options include a belt sander for larger areas, a random orbital sander for smaller areas, or a sanding block for hand sanding. It is important to choose the right grit sandpaper for the job to ensure efficient and effective sanding.

How long does it typically take to sand a deck after pressure washing?

The time it takes to sand a deck after pressure washing can vary depending on the size and condition of the deck, as well as the tools being used. Generally, it can take several hours to a full day to sand a deck thoroughly. It is important to take your time and ensure that all areas of the deck are properly sanded for the best results.

Are there any precautions I should take while sanding a deck after pressure washing?

Yes, there are a few precautions to keep in mind while sanding a deck after pressure washing. It is important to wear protective eyewear and a dust mask to prevent any debris from getting in your eyes or lungs. Additionally, be sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid causing any damage to the deck. Lastly, make sure to cover any nearby plants or furniture to protect them from dust and debris.

Can I skip sanding my deck after pressure washing?

While it is possible to skip sanding your deck after pressure washing, it is generally not recommended. Sanding helps to ensure a smooth and even surface for finishing or staining the deck, and can also help to extend the lifespan of the wood. Skipping this step may result in a less professional-looking finish and could potentially lead to premature wear or damage to the deck.