Is it better to sand or strip wood deck?
The question of whether to choose deck sanding or deck stripping becomes relevant to you if you’re dealing with a long-neglected deck that is showing signs of wear from the harsh rays of the sun, amongst other things.
Sanding and stripping are both ways to remove a finish from decking and returning to its original bare wood. Both are popularly used techniques to remove the unwanted finish off the decking or other wood surfaces, especially if there have been applied many coats during the years and the woodgrain is not visible anymore and looks like a painted wood.
The reason both kinds of deck finish removal jobs are still popular is due to the conditions each can be used in combination for a better results . Where both have certain advantages and disadvantages, deck restoration in general is a complex project which involve good tools and materials
In general to say the deck restoration using mechanical sanding is a old way but deck stripping and optional a light sand is a new way which been ignored by many DIY lovers as believe this is a dangerous way- maybe yes in the past but not this days when deck restoration industry move into the future with new deck strippers and cleaners.
What is Deck Stripping?
As the name suggests, deck stripping is a method of removing oils or stains from the wood to its original form. They have the added advantage of not only removing finishes, but removing wood grain tannins, mould, mildew, algae and other organic elements.
With this method use chemicals to strip/remove the existing finish from decking or other outdoor wood surfaces. With a chemical stripper, you get the advantage of a two in one product, as a stripper and a deep cleaner.
The job of a deck stripper is to penetrate deep into the wood to remove previous stains and, in the process, opening the pores of the wood. This sets up a great base for when you plan to put a fresh coat of stain on your deck. The stain will be more even and give a long lasting finish by penetrating deeper into wood grain.
When compared to sanding, stripping is a much faster option and is less labor-intensive, thus reducing your labor cost. If you’re worried about the health of your wood or your self, you can even consider using Viccon Deck And Fence – Wood Finish Stripper which is less harsh. In comparison with traditional paint strippers which are more expensive and have more danger fumes
What is Sanding?
Sanding is one of the most commonly used methods to remove finishes off of any wood. Many people opt for sanding during a deck restoration as it is a well-known and successful method of getting back to bare wood.
There are two options to sanding; you can power sand a wooden surface or sandblast it. Power sanding is done using a belt sander or floor drum sander. It is a seemingly quick process and great if you’re sanding furniture; however, for a deck sanding job, you’re going to require more time and effort to do.
Sanding option is not always a option at all because some decks have raised nail or screw heads which stay above boards and need reset before sanding but sometimes if the deck and fixing is old this may end up splinting boards and brake the fixing, other think is to consider the capped boards which is very difficult to sand
Sanding also will make your decking boards thinner which mean are more flexible and may brake quicker
Sanding can potentially damage your wood surface if you aren’t in full control of the tool. On the other hand, sandblasting is a great alternative that is easier and requires little skill but is messier and not every homeowner is able to hire and use a tool like this .
What do You Choose?
As mentioned previously, sanding or stripping can be subject to the situation and condition of your wood. It can also depend on how much time, effort, and money you have at your end to get the job done. Remember to take into account the size of your deck before you choose because a stripper is often a better choice for larger decks, while you can opt for sanding otherwise.
A deck sander can take a good few days to complete the sanding; although it will be a thorough job, a stripper is faster, cheaper but also more effective as remove wood tannins and organic elements deeply from wood, but sanding will remove only top finish layer, even if choose sanding method is highly recommended to wash the deck with required deck cleaners anyway
Doing a quick cost-benefit and your desired outcome analysis will help you decide which one is better for you.