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Should You Wash Deck After Sanding?

As the deck is always the best venue for occasions and other activities, it is very prone to damage. Sanding helps but how do you go about the sand particles brought to the surface? If you're wondering whether or not to wash your deck after sanding, you're on the right page! We did thorough research on the topic, and here is what we found.

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If your deck is old and has cracks, you can pressure wash it right after sanding. But if your deck is relatively new or does not have fiber coming out of the wood, you should not pressure wash the deck after sanding. Experts recommend pressure washing the deck only before sanding.

Removing the dust after sanding is a very crucial step in the maintenance of a wood deck as it will greatly affect the end result. But why is pressure washing not advised and in what other way can you eliminate the dust? Read further to learn how you can remove the dust without a pressure washer.

man cleaning the deck with a power washer, Should You Wash Deck After Sanding?

Why Not Pressure Wash The Deck After Sanding?

A power washer washing a deck

You may think that pressure washing is the best way to remove all the dust caused by the sanding process. Aside from the fact that it cleans thoroughly, it also works pretty fast.

A pressure washer is a great cleaning tool, however, when it comes to wood maintenance, it is best if you pressure wash only before sanding. 

The water that the pressure washer releases raises up the wood grains. It is actually why you should pressure wash before sanding. So that you can sand these wood grains and open the pores so the stain can soak properly. 

If you wash the deck after sanding, you also have to redo the sanding process as wood grains will prevent the stain from soaking in if not sanded properly.

How to Properly Remove Dust After Sanding

Dust particles are not hardly stuck to the wood, so they should be pretty easy to remove. The difficult part here is ensuring that no dust remains as it will greatly impact the finished look of the deck.

This can be a very tedious and meticulous process, but if you don't want your deck to look muddy after staining, then you should give these steps huge importance so as to properly remove the dust:

Sweep The Deck

First, you have to sweep the dust into bulk piles and dispose of it properly. You will need a big sweeping broom to do this. Make sure to cover the entire deck.

Vacuum Clean

Once a large portion has been removed, you may now start vacuum cleaning the remaining dust. For vacuum cleaners with small filters, it's a good idea to remove the dust out it from time to time, but be careful not to redeposit the dust back to the deck. 

Wipe The Wood

Get a clean dry cloth that is dampened in mineral spirits, and wipe down the surfaces. You should see how much dirt you collect on the cloth and assess when you can stop wiping.

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Use A Tack Cloth

Finally, wipe the deck with a tack cloth. A tack cloth is like a damp cloth but loosely woven like gauze and is soaked in beeswax. The dust then sticks to the wax. This is great for cleaning all the residue.

Click here to see this tack cloth on Amazon.

What To Do If It Rains After Sanding?

Rain on Freshly oiled Spotted Gum decking 3 days after oiling

If it rains after sanding, you have to let the deck dry completely first. It may take your maintenance to finish a little longer, but it's better to wait than to end up damaging your deck because you sanded it before drying completely. If the deck has dried, check if there are splinters on the wood. If there are splinters, you have to sand the deck all over again.

This is why you should check on the weather forecast in your area first before starting the maintenance. A three consecutive sunny day forecast is good, although cloudy weather without rain is better when applying the stain so it will not evaporate.

Do I Need A Deck Brightener After Sanding?

Beautiful large cabin home with large wooden deck and chairs with table overlooking golf course.

It is not a good idea to apply a deck brightener after sanding. Deck brighteners need to be rinsed off after and water may cause raised grains on the wood that will later prevent the stain from soaking in deeply.

Deck brighteners are ideally applied after cleaning when the wood is still wet because aside from brightening the wood, its main purpose is to balance the wood's high pH level that is brought about by the deck cleaner. 

When To Restain The Deck

Typically, the deck should be restained every 2 to 3 years considering ordinary wear and tear. But it can be sooner or later depending on its upkeeping.

Poor upkeeping can result in the need to restain the deck sooner. On the other hand,  if you properly follow the steps in maintaining a wood deck, your deck should serve you longer. 

Wood Deck Maintenance

The following are the best practices in maintaining a wood deck. 

  1. Empty the deck and make sure it is free from any clutter. Furniture should be pulled out and debris should be swept off thoroughly.
  2. Go around your deck and check for damage. It is best to repair or replace the damage prior to cleaning as this may redeposit debris back to the deck if done later. 
  3. Scrub the deck with a stiff-bristled brush soaked in a deck cleaner solution. Pressure wash after 10 minutes then let the deck dry for 48 hours.
  4. Sand the deck to open up pores that will absorb the stain. For new decks, sanding is not necessary. For decks built of pressure-treated wood, do not sand. Remove the dust by following the steps mentioned above.
  5. Stain the wood deck using a sponge or a cloth.
  6. Seal the wood to protect it from damage.

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Is It Better To Seal Or Stain A Deck?

The stain is made to enhance the appearance of wood, that is why it comes in different pigments. Some are less colored, highlighting the wood grains and some go in darker to fit your preference. But apart from beautifying the deck, it also serves as protection from UV rays that can, later on, cause the wood to splinter or crack.

The sealer, moreover, is another layer of coating that you can apply to protect the wood from moisture, which can cause algae to build up on the wood. 

Though both offer good protection, it is best to do both staining and sealing to give your deck maximum protection. You should, however, wait for 48 hours after staining before you can apply the sealer to prevent the layers from building up. 

Click here to see this exterior wood stain and sealer on Amazon.

Do You Need To Wash A New Deck Before Staining?

Whether your deck is new or not, you have to clean it before applying a stain. If your deck is new, you have to wait for at least 30 days before preparing it for staining.

After 30 days, you can start cleaning the deck. It is important to remove the mill glaze. Scrub with a deck cleaner and pressure wash lightly. 

Do the water drop test. If the water is absorbed by the wood, it means the deck is ready for staining.

Does Sanding Ruin Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure-treated wood has a protective layer that the manufacturer intentionally coated to protect the wood from wood ingesting mites. Sanding a pressure-treated wood is not recommended as it will remove the protective layer as well as make the wood look terrible. 

If you plan to stain a deck built of pressure-treated wood, just follow the best practices in maintaining a wood deck that we have discussed above, but skip the sanding part.

In Closing

Sanding the wood deck can be easy. What's hard is making sure that all sand particles are totally removed from the surface of the wood. Pressure washing is generally not an advisable way as water will raise the wood grains, resulting in the need to sand all over again. Instead, you should sweep, vacuum clean, wipe with a cloth dampened in mineral spirits and finally, wipe all the residue with a tack cloth.

For more about wood deck maintenance, you might want to check out these posts:

Footprints On Stained Deck – How To Prevent And Fix

What Color Should I Paint My Deck?