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Sanding a wooden deck

Overview

Sanding back your deck before you give it a stain is a great way to improve the smoothness of the finish. As long as you get your preparation right and use the right tools, this simple job will help make your deck look and feel good for years to come. Here's everything you need to know to do the job properly.

Steps

1Prepare the deck surface

Prepare the deck surface for sanding by checking every nail and screw. Make sure they're all countersunk at least a couple of millimetres below the level of the deck. That way, they won't rip your sandpaper when you're sanding. Use your nail punch to countersink any nails that are sticking up and screw down any screws.
DIY - Step 1 - Prepare the deck surface - How to sand a deck

2Use a belt sander to sand large surfaces

The belt sander is an efficient tool to do a large area of deck quickly. Work the sander backwards and forwards along the grain of the boards. If you're removing existing stain or paint, start with a coarse grade of sandpaper like 40-grit, then go over the surface again with a finer grade like 120-grit to create a smoother finish.
DIY - Step 2 - Sand large surfaces - How to sand a deck

3Use a finishing sander to touch up the edges

Work your finishing sander into the edges and corners where the belt sander can't reach. Remember not to push down too hard – let the sander do the work for you. Once again, if you're removing existing stain or paint, start with a coarse grade of sandpaper and then smooth the surface over with a finer grade. Once the sanding's finished, simply sweep down with a broom and you're ready to stain.
DIY - Step 3 - Use a finishing sander - How to sand a deck

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.