- Inspect the deck for any repairs that may be needed. Check for loose boards and nails or screws that may have worked their way out of the wood. Make any necessary repairs to insure that the boards are even and the nails or screws are set just below the surface of the decking.
- Sweep the deck surface to clean any twigs, leaves or pebbles from the surface.
- If you need to get rid of any mildew buildup, scrub the area with a combination of water and household bleach or use a commercial deck cleaning product.
- If your deck is discolored or older and neglected you may need to use a power washer. After washing, let the deck dry completely.
- Prepare to sand the deck surface. Since the process of sanding involves the removal of material it creates airborne dust. Please wear safety glasses, work gloves and an approved dust mask/respirator.
- The easiest way to sand off the existing finish is to rent a random-orbit floor sander that uses sanding discs. These are gentler than a drum or belt sander on the wood.
- You can purchase sanding discs through your rental store or an online supplier of sanding discs for floor sanders. Start with an 80 grit to get down to the fresh wood and roughen the surface. Proceed carefully, taking off only as much wood as needed.
- Go back over the decking with a 120 grit sanding discs as your final sand prior to the application of stain or sealer. Sanding the wood opens it up for better absorption of the finish.
- When done sanding, sweep or vacuum all of the dust away. The more thorough your cleaning job is, the better the finish will absorb.
- Coat the deck right away with your finish of choice, following all manufacturers’ instructions for application and safety. Research by the US Forest Products Laboratory shows that even a few days of exposure to sunlight can affect the wood's ability to accept stain properly.
January 02, 2012
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