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what type of sander to use?

15711 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Faron79
I'm prepping my deck to re-stain it.
After I have power washed and stripped my deck and let it dry, what type of sander should I use? I was planning on using a random-orbital, but people say that goes against the grains and causes splintering. Others said a drum sander, but then i also heard that can damage wood easily if your not careful...
what type sander do you reccomend to remove any left-over stain and make the deck nice and smooth??? Thanks!:thumbup:
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· Retired Moderator
14,787 Posts
It would take a while to sand a deck with a hand sander but there have been a few folks here on the forum who did just that. They did use a ROS, the best I can remember. The part about the splinters, it looks to me like the splinters would only be sharpened sanding in one direction. I have never had problems pulling splinters up using a ROS. There are different types of ROS on the market. Some are finish sanders, some are more aggressive sanders. Porter-Cable makes a 6 inch sander that I would recommend if you decide to go with a ROS.

You may find a good belt sander would do the trick but beware of the belt hanging on a screw or nail, it will tear the belt up quick. A nail or screw will tear a ROS disk up quick also or a drum sander sandpaper. If I were going to sand my deck I would personally rent a flooring sander but like you said, they will eat the world up and quick if you don't know how to use them.

· Premium Member
8,096 Posts
I don't do a lot of decks, but, when I do, I use the ROS. Just be careful, don't force it down onto the wood, just let the machine do the work. We pressure wash gently, allow decking to dry for several days, and, if needed, we sand. The ROS isn't as slow as you might think. An average sized deck might take an hour or two. The problem with belt sanders or drum sanders is that they are so large and don't get down into the swails & valleys that you encounter on a deck. Plus, you inevitably hit a screw, nail, or splinter that rips the sandpaper. It's much cheaper to replace orbital sanding pads than drum sander sheets. I never oversand......I'd rather undersand so the deck doesn't get beat up by the sander any more than it has to.

· Registered
310 Posts
Watch the attached video!!!!

I looked at a few to find the one closest to what I've done.

My Construction-Heart Redwood deck is now 15yrs. old. I've sanded it twice with a sander shown in the video....a 12" x 18" vibrating-plate sander with backer-pad and separate sanding sheets.

* The 36-grit he mentions in the video will be too harsh!!
* I'd start with 50-60-grit sheets on Cedar. This'll probably be just fine to only use that grit, ending w/60.
* 80-grit can get too polished to let as much stain in.
* IMO...go with the longest length of board b4 turning on the ends. Overlap each pass some, then do random overlaps.
* You'll probably need a palm-sander to get the edges.
* Sand until wood looks even!
* Have the shop-broom handy for sweeping! You'll be generating lots of Fluff at first!
* When done, sweep & shop-vac off the dust you can.
* wipe down the deck with rags wet with paint-thinner. Tie some rags around a broom so it goes faster.

Now your deck will absorb & hold stain evenly....everywhere.

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